MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) – A prominent Roman Catholic cardinal who avoided COVID-19 vaccine said he would begin rehabilitation soon after contract the coronavirus and spend days on a ventilator.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, 73, one of the church’s most vocal conservatives and a vaccine skeptic, tweeted on Aug. 10 that he had contracted the virus. He was sedated and placed on a ventilator in an undisclosed hospital. His staff tweeted on August 21 that he had been removed the ventilator and transferred from intensive care to a regular room.
Burke tweeted a letter on Saturday in which he thanked God for bringing him “to this point of healing and recovery.” He said he was staying in the hospital and could not respond to individual supporters because he was about to begin “intensive rehabilitation” and would be going through a “prolonged recovery period”.
“In your charity, I know you will understand this circumstance and accept that I must preserve my energy so that I can recover my health and strength,” Burke wrote. “Since Divine Providence has governed that I remain hospitalized for the present, I now reaffirm this same episcopal conviction: suffering, united with the suffering of Jesus Christ, is truly effective in His divine plan for our salvation when it is accepted. willingly and wholeheartedly.
He did not specify his condition or what the rehabilitation will entail.
Burke was bishop in the Diocese of La Crosse in Wisconsin before becoming Archbishop of St. Louis. He left St. Louis in 2008 to oversee the Supreme Court of the Vatican, becoming the first American to hold that position.
He has built a reputation as an outspoken conservative. He gained attention in 2004 when he said he would not give Holy Communion to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry because Kerry supports the right to abortion. In 2009, he berated the University of Notre Dame for its intention to give an honorary degree to then-President Barack Obama because Obama, too, supports the right to abortion.
Pope Francis brought Burke out of the Vatican courtroom in 2014 after Burke said the church was like a rudderless ship.
Burke has been on the attack against Francis ever since. He joined three other conservative cardinals in formally asking the Pope in 2016 to explain why he decided to let remarried Catholics receive Holy Communion.
Burke also warned people that governments were using fear of the pandemic to manipulate people. He spoke out against mandatory vaccinations in May 2020 and said some in society wanted to implant people with microchips. He said the best weapon to fight the virus is Jesus Christ.
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