If it wasn’t already clear the way the wind was blowing from the Vatican, the dumping of Cardinal Burke from the Congregation of Bishops this week was yet another indication:
Some observers of the Roman Catholic Church said the move by Pope Francis is yet another example of his effort to tone down highly publicized stances on divisive social issues such as gay marriage, contraception and abortion, on which Burke has made strong remarks.
The announcement came Monday from the Vatican as Francis reorganizes the Congregation, which has considerable power because it recommends bishop candidates to the pope when vacancies occur. New bishops shepherd their local flocks, but some of them will be promoted down the road to high-profile church leadership positions.
Asked for comment, the St. Louis Archdiocese issued a statement that said: “Although the tangible impact of the Congregation of Bishops to the local Archdiocese of St. Louis, as it relates to Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Rigali’s membership, is difficult to measure, it is without question that the spiritual fruits of their labor will be felt for many years to come throughout our universal Church.”
National Catholic Reporter journalist John Allen said in an email that the “face-value reading” of the changes was that Francis wants more moderate bishops, fewer who are “heavily invested in culture wars.”
Even outside of Catholic bubbles, Burke became well known in 2004 when he said he would deny Communion — what Catholics believe is the body and blood of Christ — to then-presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry for his stance on abortion.
“One gets the impression, or it’s interpreted this way in the media,” Burke said in the report, “that (Pope Francis) thinks we’re talking too much about abortion, too much about the integrity of marriage as between one man and one woman. But we can never talk enough about that.”
Go here to read the rest from the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Pro-abort Catholic pols should rejoice in this. Burke believed that pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied communion. Whereas Wuerl was clear that he would never deny such politicians communion:
Wuerl said he will make no effort to keep Speaker Pelosi from receiving Communion, saying first “there’s a question about whether this canon  was ever intended to be used’’ to correct Catholics in grave error.
Canon 915 states: “Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
Wuerl’s statements appear to contradict a 2004 statement by the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger titled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,” in which Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, stated: “Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.”
Vatican to pro-life Catholics: you are on your own.