In his Oct. 30 CNSNews.com column, Terry Jeffrey makes sure we know that Cardinal Raymond Burke "is the Prefect of the Sacred Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court of the Catholic Church." Jeffrey ,of course, was featuring Burke's right-wing positions on gay marriage and attacks on Pope Francis for attempting to moderate the Catholic Church's stance on the subject. Oddly, Jeffrey feels the need to inform us how utterly softball the questions he tossed at Burke were:
I asked: "Given that it was Jesus Christ Himself who taught us what marriage is, can any priest or bishop overrule or change what Jesus declared about marriage?"
"No, absolutely not," said Cardinal Burke. "The priests and bishops are called to be faithful to the truth. Our office is to teach this truth and to assist the faithful to live it, but we can never — even under some supposed pastoral approach — either alter or deny the truth about marriage."
I asked: "Can the pope himself change the nature of marriage given what Christ said?"
"No, it's not within his power," said Cardinal Burke, "and this is very clear in the teaching of the church, that if a marriage has been validly celebrated and consummated it cannot be separated. It cannot be ended by anything except death itself."
Jeffrey followed up that day with an article containing a transcript of the interview with Burke in which he informs us again that Burke is "Prefect for the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Supreme Court of the Catholic Church."
Just one little problem: Burke doesn't hold that position anymore. Earlier in October, Pope Francis removed Burke from his position as prefect and reassigned him to be patron of the sovereign military order of Malta.
Strangely, even though this event occurred a week before Jeffrey's interview with Burke, at no point did Jeffrey ask him about it. He was too busy serving Burke softballs that let the cardinal attack the idea of gay marriage.
Even more strangely, CNS didn't seem to think the demotion of Jeffrey's favorite cardinal was very newsworthy. The only mention of it we could find in the CNS archive was in an Oct. 22 article by Michael Chapman featuring a Catholic bishop's remarks on gays, and even then it was buried in the 11th paragraph.
You'd think a staunch Catholic like Jeffrey would want to keep his readers on top of important news like that. Apparently not.