By CHERYL WITTENAUER
Archbishop Raymond Burke's new appointment shows that Pope Benedict XVI has a great amount of respect for U.S. bishops, said the Rev. Thomas Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. "This is more power than Americans have ever had in Rome," Reese said. Burke said he would move to Rome in late August to head the supreme court, which resolves jurisdictional disputes among various Vatican tribunals and hears procedural appeals on marriage annulments. Benedict and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, have complained for years that local tribunals grant an excessive number of annulments. Reese said the court has a very narrow focus on procedural issues and rarely tackles substantive issues.
"Every pro-choice Catholic Democrat politician should be very nervous,"Reese said. "He made his name in the U.S. by denying Communion to pro-choice politicians. "If he gets that view articulated strongly in Rome, he could become the voice for having that position for the universal church."