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Pope Francis meets with Cardinal Burke amid salary, apartment controversy

Pope Francis meets with Cardinal Raymond Burke on Dec. 29, 2023, at the Vatican. / Credit: Vatican Media

CNA Staff, Dec 29, 2023 / 09:20 am (CNA).

Pope Francis on Friday had an audience with Cardinal Raymond Burke, the Vatican said, several weeks after a flurry of reported controversy involving the pontiff and the 75-year-old U.S.-born prelate.

A release from the Holy See Press Office briefly mentioned that the pope had met with Burke in an audience on Friday morning. No reason was given for the meeting, nor were details of the audience shared by the press office. 

The cardinal on Friday declined to comment on the meeting.

The meeting comes weeks after reports that Pope Francis had stripped Burke of his Vatican housing and salary privileges, with the Holy Father allegedly claiming that Burke was a source of “disunity” in the Church and that he was using the privileges afforded to retired cardinals against the Church.

Pope Francis meets with Cardinal Raymond Burke on Dec. 29, 2023, at the Vatican. Credit: Vatican Media

Francis at the end of November reportedly confirmed that he was planning to take away the prelate’s apartment and salary. The Holy Father at that time allegedly denied that he referred to Burke as his “enemy.”

Papal biographer Austen Ivereigh had written in late November that Pope Francis had told him the news concerning Burke wasn’t meant to be a public announcement but that it had been leaked to the press. 

Burke has been known for his periodic disputes with some of Francis’ decisions and directives. In 2021 the cardinal released a 19-point statement regarding Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis Custodes in which Burke called the Holy See’s restrictions on the Traditional Latin Mass “severe and revolutionary” and questioned the pope’s authority to revoke use of the rite.

Burke was also among the five cardinals who sent a list of dubia to the pope expressing concerns and seeking clarification on points of doctrine and discipline ahead of the October Synod on Synodality at the Vatican. 

The prelates had submitted a previous version of the dubia to Francis in July, but the pope responded in full answers rather than in the customary form of “yes” and “no” replies, which prompted the cardinals to submit a revised request for clarification. The responses “have not resolved the doubts we had raised, but have, if anything, deepened them,” they said at the time. 

Burke later stressed the dubia were not meant as an attack on Francis himself, stating that the queries were concerned “exclusively with the perennial doctrine and discipline of the Church, not a pope’s agenda.”

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