Controversial Catholic figure Cardinal Raymond L. Burke has been vocal about his skepticism of the COVID-19 vaccines. His stance has been against the Vatican’s view that the vaccines were “morally acceptable”. While visiting Wisconsin, the cardinal contacted the coronavirus. Within days he had to be admitted to the ventilator as his condition worsened. His representatives tweeted the news asking his followers to pray for him.

Burke gained media attention since the early 2000s for his conservative catholic stances. In recent years he has been noted for his comments against Pope Francis. Having served as Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial authority at the Vatican, he retired in 2014.

Leaving his residence in Rome, Burke had traveled to Wisconsin where he was born. During his visit, he contracted the novel coronavirus. On Wednesday, Aug. 11, he announced that he had tested positive for the virus. He asked for prayers and stated that he was “resting comfortably”.

His condition worsened within days. On Sunday, Aug. 15 his press team tweeted that he had to be admitted to a hospital. The tweet further revealed that the cardinal was needing ventilator assistance. The announcement ended with a request to pray the Rosary for the Cardinal’s health.

Burke, who was seldom seen without a Rosary, was often seen without a mask as the National Catholic Reporter pointed out. He was outspoken about his objection to the vaccines. He seemed to propagate those vaccines were used by the government to embed chips into people’s bodies to control them.

He also condemned how abortion-derived cells were used to develop the vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna used cell lines of fetal tissues which came from fetuses electively aborted in the 1970s and 1980s, Washington Post reported. The Vatican had called the vaccines “morally acceptable” as Burke continued to question its moral unjust. Pope Francis received his vaccine earlier this year. Vatican City governor had stated that those employees who remained unvaccinated could be sacked. It remains unclear if Burke had taken the vaccine.

The 73-year-old Cardinal has a history of making political statements. He refused to give communion to former Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry in 2014 for being pro-choice. He also criticized the University of Notre Dame for giving an honorary degree to former President of the United States Barack Obama.

Burke has been critical of Pope Francis’ stance on subjects like homosexuality. In 2014 the Cardinal was demoted to the patron of the charity Knights of Malta by the Pope.

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