Ultra-conservative cardinal not reconfirmed for Vatican office

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Cardinal Raymond Burke. - PHOTO: Courtesy

Pope Francis announced changes in the influential Vatican office that evaluates and nominates candidates for bishop around the world.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was appointed on Dec. 16 to the Congregation for Bishops. The pope also reconfirmed Cardinal William Levada, the former archbishop of San Francisco and former head of the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog office.

Some members of the congregation were not reconfirmed.

Cardinal Raymond Burke will no longer serve in the office. The former St. Louis archbishop had been a member for several years. Burke retains his position as the head of the Vatican high court, the Apostolic Signatura.

Burke drew attention in the United States in 2004 when he said he would deny Communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Roman Catholic who supports abortion rights.