LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -

Wisconsin native Cardinal Raymond Burke is losing his influential role in the appointment of bishops in the United States.

The former La Crosse bishop was not reconfirmed to the Congregation for Bishops by Pope Francis. The former St. Louis archbishop had been a member for several years.

Burke served as La Crosse bishop from 1994 to 2003 and went to the Vatican in 2008 after serving in St. Louis. He's popular with conservative Catholics in the U.S. for upholding church rites and traditions favored by Pope Benedict. He drew attention in the U.S. in 2004 when he said he would deny Communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Roman Catholic who supports abortion rights.

Burke retains his position as the head of the Vatican high court, the Apostolic Signatura.

The Diocese of La Crosse released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

"The Diocese of La Crosse today learned of the action by Pope Francis to reconfirm Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops of the Roman Curia and expand its membership. This process of reviewing all heads of Vatican congregations and councils upon the election of a new Pope is typical as according to church law they lose their assignments at the end of a pontificate.

Among the three departing members of the Congregation for Bishops of the Roman Curia were Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signature, eighth bishop of La Crosse and previous member of the congregation for saints’ causes.

Although the efforts of the Congregation of Bishops toward the local diocese of La Crosse, and in particular, Cardinal Burke’s involvement in the work of that office may not have been directly perceived by the faithful of The Diocese of La Crosse, we are grateful for his faithful service to the work he was called to do.

Bishop Callahan noted that Cardinal Burke’s work will continue as the prefect of the Apostolic Signature, the church’s highest court."