Pope Francis reassigns conservative American cardinal

(CNN) -- Pope Francis has reassigned a conservative American cardinal from a key post to one that is mostly symbolic.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leading conservative, has been vocal in his criticism of the direction the Pope is leading the Catholic Church in.

Burke was one of the highest ranking Americans in the church hierarchy in his position on the Vatican's supreme court. But he was reassigned to the position of Patron of the Order of Malta, the Vatican announced on Saturday. The National Catholic Reporter points out that Burke's new post is a job that "has almost no responsibilities."

The Vatican did not give a reason for the demotion.

The change, however, was not unexpected. Last month, Burke himself said he had been ousted from the Vatican's high court.

Burke has been outspoken about his opposition to Pope Francis' move toward more openness and inclusiveness of gays and lesbians.

"The Pope is not free to change the church's teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other doctrine of the faith," Burke told Buzzfeed recently.

When a recent draft report included a call for the church to be more welcoming to gays, Burke said the report "lacks a solid foundation in the sacred Scriptures."

Subsequently, some of the language on the "gifts and qualities" that gay people can bring to the church was removed from the report.

The Pope has appointed moderates in several big dioceses, including in Chicago earlier this fall, and he's removed some archconservatives from their posts.

CNN's Daneil Burke contributed to this report.