An ultra-conservative cardinal who avoids using masks and has said that COVID vaccines will lead to ‘microchips’ in people’s bodies is on a ventilator at a Wisconsin hospital after catching coronavirus.
Raymond L. Burke, 73, was visiting his native state from Rome when he got the virus, telling his Twitter followers that he was ‘resting comfortably and receiving excellent medical care’ on August 10.
Things took a turn for the worse over the weekend, and he was admitted to a hospital and hooked up to a ventilator.
‘H.E. faithfully prayed the Rosary for those suffering from the virus. On this Vigil of the Assumption, let us now pray the Rosary for him,’ says a tweet posted to his account Saturday night.
Raymond L. Burke, 73, is on a ventilator at a hospital in Wisconsin after catching COVID-19
He’s expressed skepticism about the vaccine, and he’s known for his ultra-conservative views, which hold that gay couples are living in ‘grave sin’ and are comparable to ‘murderers’
Burke hasn’t said if he’s been vaccinated, but in an address in May, he decried ‘totalitarian’ vaccine mandates and said that the states that impose them are ‘not the ultimate provider of health. God is.’
He fueled conspiracy theories about the vaccine being used to implant chips into people to control them. He also decried the use of abortion-derived cells in the vaccine’s development, according to a transcript published by anti-abortion LifeSiteNews.
Pfizer and Moderna used cell lines from fetal tissue of elective abortions in the 1970s and 1980s to test if the vaccines worked, according to the Washington Post.
‘The thought of the introduction of such a vaccine into one’s body is rightly abhorrent,’ he said.
Burke announced he caught the virus last week, but things have since turned for the worse
‘Also, there is a certain movement to insist that now everyone must be vaccinated against the coronavirus COVID-19 and even that a kind of microchip needs to be placed under the skin of every person, so that at any moment he or she can be controlled by the State regarding health and about other matters which we can only imagine,’ he said.
Twitter users responded to his illness by pointing out his views, with some comparing the vaccine to an act of God.
‘He has given you the gift of medical specialists and medication,’ one person said.
‘He has also given us a vaccine to prevent serious results from COVID. God loves his children.
Burke was a bishop of the diocese of La Crosse in Wisconsin from 1995 to 2004, according to Religion News Service.
He later became the archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri.
In 2008, then-Pope Benedict XVI appointed Burke as prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signature, the Vatican’s highest court, which made Burke the highest-ranking American at the church.
But Burke clashed with the more liberal Pope Francis, who demoted Burke to a ceremonial title in 2014.
Responses to Burke’s condition have focused on the cardinal’s views on vaccines
When Francis came out in support of civil unions for gays last year, Burke criticized the Pope for sowing ‘confusion.’
‘Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful, inasmuch as they are contrary to the teaching of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition,’ Burke wrote.
‘They cause wonderment and error regarding the Church’s teaching among people of good will, who sincerely wish to know what the Catholic Church teaches.’
In 2015, he said that committed gay couples are living in ‘grave sin’ and that it’s not enough if they are kind.
The cardinal has often clashed with the more liberal Pope Francis, who demoted him to a ceremonial role in 2014. Above, Burke attends the March for Life in Rome in 2015.
‘Of course it’s not. It’s like the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people.’
Burke’s pro-life positions have put him in conflict with politicians and celebrities.
In 2004, he refused to give communion to then-Sen. John F. Kerry because the Democrat was an abortion rights advocate.
In 2007, he resigned from the board of SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, a Catholic hospital, because they invited singer Sheryl Crow to play at a benefit concert.
‘Ms. Crow is well-known as an abortion activist,’ Burke said at the time, according to the Catholic News Agency.
‘Her appearance at a fundraising event for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center is an affront to the identity and mission of the medical center, dedicated as it is to the service of life and Christ’s healing mission.’