Following the advice of canon lawyers that since its foundation in 595 by Pope Gregory the Great, the Church of England has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Catholic Church, Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has written on behalf of Pope Francis to Justin Welby demanding his immediate resignation, and replacing him with Cardinal Raymond Burke. The initiative has been code-named ‘Operation Galtieri’.
Despite his obvious resemblance to Thomas Wolsey (1473–1530), the choice of Burke (not a favourite of the Pope) has puzzled Vatican commentators. Clues (as so often) have come from Antonio Spadaro.
‘Ray is always keen to take a hard line on everything,’ says Spadaro. ‘We thought he could go and apply his principles to the gay marriage crisis in the General Synod, and see where it gets him. The LGBT crowd will have the lace off his alb sooner than you can say dubia.’
Though Welby’s resignation letter is confidently expected in Rome, Burke, it seems, has not yet bought his ticket. Sources close to the Cardinal have suggested that he is waiting to see if Pope Francis changes his mind. ‘He can do that, you know. I would never use the word capricious; but it can be very alarming.’
It is probably for the same reason, suggests Sandro Magister, that the Cardinal Secretary of State has not yet notified Queen Elizabeth II of the change of tenure.