Anti-Gay, Anti-Vaccine Cardinal Hit Hard by COVID

Tuesday August 17, 2021
Originally published on August 17, 2021

"Please pray for me as I begin my recovery." tweeted Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from a Wisconsin hospital bed, where he is currently on a ventilator after being admitted to a hospital with COVID.

The ultra-conservative cardinal has been a vocal critic of social distancing and the vaccine, reports the Washington Post. He tested positive for COVID last Tuesday while visiting Wisconsin from Rome, where he resides. By the weekend he was in a hospital on a ventilator.

"Doctors are encouraged by his progress," Burke's press team tweeted Saturday night. "[His Eminence] faithfully prayed the Rosary for those suffering from the virus. ... Let us now pray the Rosary for him."

The Vatican did not immediately respond to a request from the Washington Post for comment late Sunday.

Burke has been an outspoken critic of vaccine mandates, claiming the practice "violates the integrity of its citizens."

"While the State can provide reasonable regulations for the safeguarding of health, it is not the ultimate provider of health. God is," he said during a May 2020 address.

He also, the Washington Post adds, has "repeated false information about the vaccine, claiming that some believe there should be a 'microchip ... 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.' "

Whether Burke has received the vaccine is not known.

Burke was a favorite with the previous pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, who shared his conservative views. He received an appointment to head the Vatican court in 2008, and was made a cardinal in 2010. After Pope Francis was elected Pope in 2013, Burke fell out of favor, clashing over social issues, including LGBTQ ones. In a 2014 interview with BuzzFeed News, Burke criticized Francis, claiming he had "done a lot of harm." He noted Francis's comments on homosexuality: "The pope is not free to change the church's teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts."

The Washington Post writes that in 2015, "Burke said in an interview with LifeSiteNews, an antiabortion website, that gay people and divorcées are as bad as 'the person who murders someone.'

" 'If you are living publicly in a state of mortal sin there isn't any good act that you can perform that justifies that situation: the person remains in grave sin,' he continued."

When Ireland legalized same sex marriage in 2015, reported the religious journal The Tablet, he told a Catholic group in London: "I mean, this is a defiance of God. It's just incredible. Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviours, they never dared to say this was marriage."

In 2014, Gay Star News wrote that Burke said "parents should not allow their children to have contact with gay people who engage in 'wrong, evil' and 'intrinsically disordered' relationships."