Saturday the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ appointment of Cardinal Raymond Burke as a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – the Holy See’s highest court – which he previously headed for six years.
Burke, 69, is currently patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta, which he was appointed to in 2014 by Pope Francis. An expert in canon law, he served as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from 2008 to 2014.
Other members added to the tribunal were Cardinal Agostino Vallini, 77, and Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli, also 77. Vallini was prefect of the Apostolic Signatura before Burke, from 2004 to 2008. He then served as Vicar General of Rome until his retirement in May of this year.
The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is one of three courts within the Holy See. The others are the Apostolic Penitentiary and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.
The Signatura, as it’s called, functions sort of like a Supreme Court and the Apostolic Penitentiary is the court in charge of some cases involving excommunication, and dealing with matters addressed within confession.
The Rota is akin to a court of appeals or court of “last instance,” and is also where marriage annulment cases are judged.
As the chaplain of the Knights of Malta, Burke has clashed with the Holy See over the removal of the Grand Chancellor of the Knights. He is also one of four cardinals who signed the controversial dubia, a letter asking Pope Francis to clarify parts of his apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.”
In an interview Sept. 24 Burke said that he’s been wrongly depicted as the “enemy” of Pope Francis.
Even though he believes that the current division in the Church demands an answer to requests for clarity, he noted that as faithful Catholics, those who have expressed doubt or concern over the confusion surrounding “Amoris Laetitia” love the Pope “with complete obedience to the office of Peter.”
Full story at Catholic News Agency.