Cardinal Raymond Burke, the firebrand conservative who has emerged as Pope Francis’ most ardent critic, blamed women this week for the host of problems the Church is currently facing.

In an interview with The New Emangelization -  a website created to address the so-called “man crisis” within the Church - Burke said that “the radical feminist movement” influenced the Church leading it to “constantly address women’s issues and ignore men.”

Burke, who is perhaps best known for his eye-catching clerical attired, added: “the Church has become very feminized… Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women. The activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved.

“Men are often reluctant to become active in the church. The feminised environment and the lack of the church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out,” Burke said.

Burke added that the use of altar girls and the legacy of the women’s rights movement may be the crux of the problem.

Burke was in Rome last week to meet Pope Francis, who has demoted the outspoken cardinal from his role in the influential Apostolic Signatura to his now ceremonial one with the Knights of Malta.

Burke led the charge last October against language crafted to be more inclusive of gay people and more welcoming to the idea of same-sex marriage.

At a conference on the Catholic family in Ireland in November Burke said he would refuse communion to any politician who is supportive of same-sex marriage.

Burke is beloved by fellow conservatives within the Church, but his hardline stance has led observers to claim his speeches do significant damage to its global image.

In the following clip Cardinal Burke explains why its perfectly acceptable to discriminate against “unnatural” homosexuals.

US conservative firebrand Cardinal Raymond Burke believes feminism and altar girls repel men.Getty