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Breaking: Pope Ousts Top Vatican Judge Known For Incendiary Anti-Gay Comments

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In one of the more explosive shakeups in the recent history of the Catholic Church, the second-most powerful man in the Vatican has been ousted.

American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a darling of conservative Catholics who is virulently anti-gay, has confirmed to BuzzFeed what rumors from Rome have said for weeks. He will be demoted by Pope Francis from the head of the Roman Catholic Church’s version of the Supreme Court to a figurehead role as the Patron of the Knights of Malta, a chivalrous order known for its work among the sick.

This is not the first demotion for Burke, who was dropped by Francis almost a year ago from an important Vatican bureau that selects bishops around the world. Burke was replaced on The Congregation for Bishops by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., who, while also conservative, does not use the inflammatory rhetoric that has made Burke a favorite of the far-right in the Catholic Church.

Burke recently told an interviewer that legally-married gay and lesbian family members should be shunned from family celebrations during the upcoming holidays, asking “what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?”

LOOK: Conservative Leaders Push Catholic Church To Backtrack On Gays

Burke’s strong criticism of a preliminary document that included more inclusive welcoming of LGBT community members in the life of the Church and his challenge to Francis, who is seen to have had a hand in the drafting of the document, were apparently the last straw for the Pope.

Francis recently replaced outspoken Chicago Cardinal Francis George with the more conciliatory Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Washington, a major promotion for the 65-year-old native of Omaha, Nebraska. Admittedly, George was two-and-a-half years beyond the age of 75, when bishops and cardinals submit their resignations to the pope. However, some cardinals have been kept on the job until age 80 when they lose their right to vote in the conclave that selects a new pope after the death or resignation of the reigning pontiff.

These moves are thought by Vatican watchers to be signs that Francis wants to tone down the attacks on communities that are marginalized by the Catholic Church, including LGBT parishioners and divorced and pro-choice Catholics. Burke is a major proponent of the Latin Mass and is known for his fondness of clerical garb that went out of style following the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which attempted to modernize the Church in worship and its relationship to Jews and to other Christian faiths. Burke opposes those reforms and his move to Rome from St. Louis, where he served as archbishop, was seen as a sign of favor by the ultra-conservative Pope Benedict XVI.

Burke’s influence on the Congregation for Bishops was seen in the naming of several controversial choices in major positions in the American Catholic Church, including Salvatore Cordileone, the Church’s leader in the successful Prop 8 movement that reversed marriage equality in California, from Oakland to San Francisco, an obvious thumb in the eye of the large LGBT community there.

In Chicago, Cupich will take over from George in November. While, for example, Cupich opposes marriage equality, in Spokane he is one of the rare U.S. Church leaders to speak out against attempts “to incite hostility towards homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity.” Cupich wrote in a pastoral letter that was read in all Catholic parishes in the diocese, “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.”

The first major appointment of an American Archbishop tipped Francis’ hand as to how he wanted a change of tone among the hierarchy in the U.S. He named the affable Bishop Bernard Hebda, who had served as head of the diocese of Gaylord, Michigan for only four years, to be co-adjutor bishop with right of succession to the authoritarian and controversial Newark Archbishop John Myers, in 2016 when Myers turns 75.

How long Francis will have to change the leadership of the U.S. Catholic Church remains to be seen, as the vast majority of current ecclesial office-holders were appointed by conservatives John Paul II and Benedict XVI over a 35-year period. In his initial choices, Francis is veering slightly left in tenor. However, it is doubtful that any change in doctrine will be put in place during the remaining years of his pontificate.

 

Image via Wikimedia

 

Related At The New Civil Rights Movement:

Vatican Changes Actual Translation Of Draft That ‘Welcomed’ Gays

More Popular Than Jesus? Pope Francis Just Made The Cover Of Rolling Stone.

American Bishops Thwart Pope Francis’ Attempt To Survey Catholic Public Opinion

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OPINION

‘Snooze Fest’: Internet Mocks Trump’s ‘Extremely Boring’ and ‘Low Energy’ CPAC Speech

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White Nationalist One-Term Twice-Impeached Former US President Speaks to Right Wing Group From Nazi-Inspired Stage

For the first time since he incited an insurrection last month the disgraced former American president, Donald Trump, on Sunday delivered what many are calling a “low-energy” and “extremely boring” speech to attendees of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Orlando, Florida late Sunday afternoon.

The ex-president, who started his speech 100 minutes late, looked and sounded far older than he did on January 6, attacking President Joe Biden and insisting that his five weeks performance should be enough for “Democrats to lose the White House” in 2024.

“Actually, as you know, they just lost the White House,” Trump told supporters, adding: “I may even decide to beat them for a third time, who knows?”

The crowd, a mostly over-50 group of white Americans, roared, even though Trump has won only one election, and never the popular vote.

Trump’s speech was very similar to his past stump speeches, filled with racism, white nationalism, and lies about his opponents and the 2020 election that he lost – which he continues to refuse to admit. The “fake news” media, transgender people, and NIH Director Dr. Anthony Fauci were also the target of his attacks.

He also tried to re-instill the perceived victimization of conservatives that fueled his presidency, claiming for example that Americans will no longer be able to hire attorneys because undocumented immigrants are taking them all away from U.S. citizens, which is a lie.

Other lies included that wind energy is bad for the environment,

Some responses:

 

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'POLICY WASTELAND'

Trump Has Left Behind a Republican Party Almost as ‘Toxic’ as He Is: GOP Adviser

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According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump may no longer be president but the Republican Party he left behind has been damaged to the point where it has almost become as “toxic” as he is to voters, according to one former top aide to a Republican senator.

As the report notes, high-profile members of the Republican party are still pushing Trump’s “Big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him and have made that their focus going forward in lieu of proposing new policies that would allow them to win back the White House and both chambers on Congress.

Writing for Politico, David Siders explained, “Nearly four months after the election and one month into Joe Biden’s presidency, the politics of grievance has become the near-singular organizing principle of the post-Trump GOP. And whether at CPAC or in statehouses across the country, policy prescriptions for restoring so-called voter integrity have emerged as the primary focus of the party’s energy.”

That focus on stopping people from voting could blow up in their faces, but worse still, it means they have no other message for voters other than the fact that they are lingering on Trump’s loss.

Benjamin Ginsberg, a conservative election lawyer asked, “Tell me what the innovative Republican policies have been of late?” before adding it is “probably a sign that the Republican Party is mired in a bit of a policy wasteland and doesn’t know which way to turn to get out.”

According to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who served in President George W. Bush’s administration, there is no evidence of widespread election fraud and Republicans harping on it is, “a big distraction. And I worry that it will continue to be a big distraction as long as a certain individual makes statements that it was stolen.”

Former Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) adviser Kevin Madden was a bit more blunt in his assessment.

“It is a party that has been fashioned in the mold of Trump — Trump’s message, Trump’s tactics — and it is perfectly comfortable being a party that is defined by what it’s against,” he explained before adding, “… you become almost toxic as a party brand to larger, growing parts of the electorate. … The limitation of a message and a platform that’s just about disagreeing with the opposition is that it doesn’t speak to the broader concerns or anxieties of a big part of the electorate.”

You can read more here.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Matt Schlapp Lashes Out at Critics of CPAC’s Nazi Symbol Stage Design

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The head of the Conservative Political Action Committee on Saturday attacked critics noting CPAC’s stage looks like a Nazi symbol.

Matt Schlapp made his denial after “Nazi” trended nationwide on Twitter as users discussed the stage looking like an Odal rune symbol.

Schlapp, however, did not apologize. Instead he said, “stage design conspiracies are outrageous and slanderous.”

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