Pope Francis has sparked a backlash after reportedly punishing Cardinal Raymond Burke, a conservative American and one of his most outspoken critics, by revoking his right to a subsidized Vatican apartment and salary.
Francis told the heads of Vatican offices in a meeting on November 20 that he intended to evict Burke and deprive him of his salary as a retired cardinal because he was a source of “disunity” in the church, The Associated Press reported, citing an unnamed official who attended the meeting. Another official told the AP that Francis said he was removing Burke’s privileges because he was using them against the church.
Francis’ decision, first reported by the conservative Italian newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, is the second time this month that the pope has taken action against a vocal conservative critic.
Earlier in November, Francis removed the bishop of Tyler, Texas, Joseph Strickland, after Strickland refused to step down following a Vatican investigation into governance of his diocese.
“If this is accurate it is an atrocity that must be opposed,” Strickland wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, in response to an article about the action that Francis had reportedly taken. “If it is false information it needs to be corrected immediately,” Strickland added.
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