Ex-STL Archbishop Raymond Burke Confirms Ouster from Top Courts Post, Criticizes Pope

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Via YouTube
Cardinal Raymond Burke says he's being transferred out of his powerful post in the Vatican courts.
Cardinal Raymond Burke doesn't know exactly when he'll be ordered to step down from the Catholic church's highest court, but he's disappointed to be leaving his post for a smaller, less influential role.

That's according to an interview former St. Louis archbishop Burke gave to Buzzfeed, a rare instance of Burke sharing with the secular media, as the two-week, worldwide meeting of church leaders, the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, came to a close in Rome.

Burke says he's been informed he'll be transferred to his new role as patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, but he's yet to receive his official orders.

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As Vatican Shifts Toward LGBT Acceptance, Ex-Archbishop Burke Denounces Gay Relationships

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via YouTube
Cardinal Raymond Burke says being gay is "intrinsically disordered."
In case you didn't hear the big news out of the Vatican this week, the Catholic Church showed a dramatic softening in its approach to gay and lesbian people during a weekslong meeting about family.

The new approach, called a "seismic shift" and a "dramatic new tone" by experts, indicates that church leadership is warming up to tolerance of LGBTQ people -- even if it's not yet making any actual changes that would allow gays more rights within the church.

Update: The church has backtracked on its "changing" view of gays in the congregation. We'll see what the final report says at the end of the synod.

But while something from the Vatican's two-week synod on family issues seemed to open bishops' minds toward acceptance for gays and lesbians, former St. Louis archbishop Raymond Burke managed to make it through the meeting while stubbornly holding strong to his anti-LGBT stance.

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Ballwin Rejects "In God We Trust" Sign After Atheist Mother's Passionate Plea [VIDEO]

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YouTube
"This is what an atheist looks like," Nikki Moungo tells the Ballwin City Council.
Ballwin officials voted Monday to reject a plan to to put up an "In God We Trust" sign on city property.

The Holy Infant Knights of Columbus had pledged $750 to putting the motto on a sign in this St. Louis suburb. All the plan needed was the approval of the city's board of aldermen.

The aldermen voted 6 to 2 against displaying the motto "In God We Trust" in four-inch letters behind the dais, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Ballwin originally seemed to support the proposed sign until Nikki Moungo, a Ballwin resident and self-proclaimed atheist, spoke out at an aldermanic meeting, asking the board not to alienate non-religious residents.


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Pope Francis to Demote Raymond Burke, Controversial St. Louis Archbishop: Report

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Wikimedia Commons
Reverend Raymond Burke should probably start packing his bags for Malta.
The divisive rise to power of former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke may soon end -- not with a criminal conviction, as some have hoped, but with a demotion from Pope Francis.

A report from Vatican observer Sandro Magister appears to have broken open a rumor that's been bouncing among Catholic insiders form awhile -- namely, that Burke is about to go from Vatican power player to ceremonial figurehead. Magister describes Burke's imminent demotion from his current spot on the church's highest court to honorary head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta as an "eminent decapitation."

"He's removed from all power," says Frank Flinn, a retired adjunct professor of religious studies at Washington University, describing the difference between the two positions. Flinn argues that this move isn't the result of a simple clash of personalities between Burke and Pope Francis.

"It's much more than just a style thing that's going on here," Flynn says. "It's the direction of the church."

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VIDEO: Atheist Mother Begs Ballwin Not to Put Up "In God We Trust" Sign

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YouTube
"This is what an atheist looks like," Nikki Moungo tells the Ballwin City Council.
Nikki Moungo, a self-proclaimed atheist and a mother, made an impassioned plea to the Ballwin City Council asking it not to put up a planned "In God We Trust" sign on city property.

Instead, Moungo told the council she'd like a sign with the motto "E pluribus unum" (Latin for "Out of many, one"), and she brought a $1,000 check to the meeting to fund it.

"If you want to put up 'E pluribus unum,' you've got my money. If you want to put up 'In God We Trust,' then it will be a fight I'm ready to take on," Moungo told the council at Monday's meeting. "This is my kids' lives. This is their town. And they deserve to be included as much as Christian children do."


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Catholic High School Cor Jesu Fires Gay Teachers, Former Students to Protest

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The all-girls Catholic high school Cor Jesu Academy: No boys or gays allowed.
For Olivia Reichert and Christina Gambaro, this was supposed to be a summer to remember. But not like this.

Earlier this summer the couple traveled to New York to get married, and upon returning to St. Louis signed a mortgage on a house together. By the end of July they were anticipating the start of the school year at Cor Jesu Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school near Affton where the newlyweds were employed as teachers.

But after the school got ahold of the couple's mortgage application, Reichert, a P.E. teacher and coach, and Gambaro, a social studies teacher, announced on a private Facebook group that the administration had terminated them both, citing a violation of school's morality clause.

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Archdiocese Asks St. Louis to Stop Ice Bucket Challenge Donations to ALS Association

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theglobalpanorama on Flickr
The ice bucket challenge raises money for an organization the Archdiocese of St. Louis says it can't support.
Are you one of the countless philanthropists taking on the ice-bucket challenge and donating to the ALS Association? The Catholic Church says you're doing it wrong.

The St. Louis Archdiocese has released a statement urging Catholics to donate to a research organization that doesn't support embryonic stem cell research.

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St. Louis Archdiocese Releases New Sex Abuse Allegations Against St. Louis Priest

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via
Archbishop Robert Carlson, who says the allegations of sexual abuse against Alexander Lippert are "credible."
Father Alexander Lippert, a Catholic priest who served in eleven St. Louis-area parishes over 33 years, sexually abused a minor in the 1970s, according to the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Archbishop Robert Carlson says a report accusing Lippert of abusing a minor is credible, the archdiocese announced last week. Since Lippert died in April 2000 and can't respond to the allegations, the archdiocese has officially ruled the report of sexual abuse as "credible though unsubstantiated."


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Judge Denies Archbishop Carlson's Motion to Dismiss Abuse Victim's Lawsuit

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SLMPD
Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang.
A Lincoln County judge has refused to dismiss the civil lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Archbishop Robert Carlson by the family of an underage girl who alleges priest Xiu Hui "Joseph" Jiang sexually abused her.

Lawyers for the archdiocese wanted the judge to dismiss charges that the church failed to supervise Jiang and intentionally inflicted emotional distress by arguing that the church isn't responsible for the abuse if it isn't on church property. The judge denied their motion.

See also: Lawsuit: Priest Asked Teen to Dress Like a Woman, Not a Child, Before Sexual Abuse

"We are pleased with the court's ruling that the case against the archdiocese can proceed despite the defendants' argument that it should be dismissed because most of abuse happened off church property," says the family's lawyer, Ken Chackes. "We argued that the archdiocese still had control over Jiang even when he was molesting the victim at her family's home in Lincoln County."

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St. Louis Archdiocese Dismisses Victim's Abuse Claims as Lies, "Personal Issues" (VIDEO)

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Katie Pesha: "We simply do not believe her allegations are true."
Immediately after the Archdiocese of St. Louis settled a civil lawsuit Monday from a woman who accuses a priest of molesting her as a child, church officials went after the alleged victim, discrediting her claims and dismissing her as mentally ill.

The archdiocese admits that the accused ex-priest, Joseph Ross, sexually assaulted at least one boy before being defrocked in 2002. But in Monday's statement, executive director of communications Katie Pesha says the woman, known in the lawsuit only as Jane Doe 92, lied about her abuse and has "very personal issues" regarding her mental health.

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