Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke has been hospitalized with Covid-19 and placed on a ventilator, according to a tweet over the weekend from his official account.
In an tweet on August 10, Burke, a Covid-19 vaccination critic, announced he had tested positive for coronavirus, and said, “Thanks be to God, I am resting comfortably and receiving excellent medical care.”
It is unclear whether Cardinal Burke, who is in his early 70s, has been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Burke, a cardinal prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, was scheduled to participate in several Masses over the past few weeks at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, which was founded by Burke.
He was set to celebrate Mass as recently as August 5, according to a tweet that has since been deleted from the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The most recent video on the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s YouTube page of Burke celebrating Mass is from July 30.
CNN has reached out to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe for comment and to confirm the last time Burke shared Mass, but has not yet heard back.
In a homily given at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December 2020, Burke referred to Covid-19 as the “mysterious Wuhan virus” and said that “it has been used by certain forces, inimical to families and to the freedom of states, to advance their evil agenda.”
In May 2020, Burke spoke at the Rome Life Forum and said “Vaccination itself cannot be imposed in a totalitarian manner on citizens. When the state takes on such a practice, it violates the integrity of its citizens. While the state can provide reasonable regulations for the safeguarding of health, it is not the ultimate one, it is not the ultimate provider of health, God is. Whatever the state proposes must respect God and His law.”
Burke also repeated baseless claims in his Rome Life Forum remarks, even passing along the continuously disproven viewpoint that Covid-19 vaccines may carry hidden microchips that make vaccinated individuals susceptible to government control.
“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 regarding health and regarding other matters which we can only imagine as a possible object of control by the state,” Burke alleged.
CNN religion commentator Father Edward Beck on Monday characterized these conservative viewpoints as “outliers,” and says they are not common among the people he encounters on a regular basis.
“I think that by the majority of Catholics, Cardinal Burke and some other very right-wing bishops are seen as outliers, especially with this issue. So, while they have some followers who are listening to what they’re saying, I don’t think by any means it’s the majority, or that they’re having a great influence on what they’re saying,” Father Beck said.
“I’m working in three parishes, practically everybody I talked to is getting vaccinated, if they are not getting vaccinated, it’s for health reasons, it’s not because the church is saying anything that they’re getting second thoughts about. So, I really don’t think that the positions of Cardinal Burke and his ilk right now are having a great effect with most Roman Catholics,” Father Beck added.
Burke has been a critic of Pope Francis and was reassigned from the Vatican’s high court to a lower post in 2014. – CNN