UDPATE: Wisconsin Cardinal to begin rehabilitation after getting COVID-19

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Sept. 6, 2018 file photo, Cardinal Raymond Burke applauds during a press conference at the Italian Senate, in Rome. Cardinal Burke, one of the Catholic Church’s most outspoken conservatives and a vaccine skeptic, said he has COVID-19 and his staff said he is breathing through a ventilator. Burke tweeted Aug. 10 that he had caught the virus, was resting comfortably and was receiving excellent medical care. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

MONDAY 8/30/2021 10:46 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A top-ranking Roman Catholic cardinal who eschewed the COVID-19 vaccine said he will soon begin rehabilitation after contracting the coronavirus and spending days on a ventilator.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, 73, one of the church’s most outspoken conservatives and a vaccine skeptic, tweeted Aug. 10 that he had contracted the virus. He was sedated and placed on a ventilator at an undisclosed hospital. His staff tweeted Aug. 21 that he had been taken off the ventilator and transferred out of intensive care to a regular room.

Burke tweeted a letter Saturday in which he thanked God for bringing him “to this point of healing and recovery.” He said he remains in the hospital and can’t respond to individual well-wishers because he’s about to begin “intensive rehabilitation” and will be going through an “extended period of convalescence.”

“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 that same episcopal conviction: suffering, united with the suffering of Jesus Christ, is truly efficacious in His Divine Plan for our salvation when accepted willingly and wholeheartedly.”

He didn’t elaborate on his condition or what rehabilitation will entail.

Burke served as bishop in the Diocese of La Crosse in Wisconsin before becoming archbishop in St. Louis. He left St. Louis in 2008 to oversee the Vatican’s supreme court, becoming the first American to hold that position.

He has built a reputation as an outspoken conservative. He drew attention in 2004 when he said he wouldn’t give Holy Communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry because Kerry supports abortion rights. In 2009 he chastised the University of Notre Dame over plans to give then-President Barack Obama an honorary degree because Obama, too, supports abortion rights.

Pope Francis moved Burke out of the Vatican court in 2014 after Burke said the church was like a ship with no rudder.

Burke has been on the attack against Francis since then. 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 has 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 want to implant microchips in people. He has said the best weapon for fighting the virus is Jesus Christ.

UPDATE: Cardinal Burke off ventilator, still hospitalized with COVID

SATURDAY 8/21/2021 12:50 p.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — A high-ranking Roman Catholic cardinal who was hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 is off a ventilator and is being moved out of intensive care, according to officials at a Wisconsin shrine that he founded.

Cardinal Raymond Burke was to return to a regular hospital room Saturday at an undisclosed location, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse said in a statement.

Burke, 73, one of the Catholic Church’s most outspoken conservatives and a vaccine skeptic, had been sedated and on a ventilator following his tweet Aug. 10 that he had contracted the coronavirus.

“His sister spoke with him on the phone this morning, and His Eminence expressed his deep gratitude for the many prayers offered on his behalf,” the statement from the Rev. Paul N. Check, the executive director of the shrine said Saturday.

“His family asks that we continue those prayers for his full and speedy recovery, and they are grateful to God for the exceptional medical care the Cardinal has received from the dedicated doctors and nurses who continue to assist him,” the statement read.

An earlier statement from the shrine said Burke had received sacraments from priests and several relics had been placed in his room.

Burke holds a doctorate in canon law. He served as bishop in the Diocese of La Crosse before becoming archbishop in St. Louis. He left St. Louis in 2008 to oversee the Vatican’s supreme court, becoming the first American to hold that position.

He has built a reputation as an outspoken conservative. He drew attention in 2004 when he said he wouldn’t give Holy Communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry because Kerry supports abortion rights. In 2009 he chastised the University of Notre Dame over plans to give then-President Barack Obama an honorary degree because Obama, too, supports abortion rights. Francis moved Burke out of the Vatican court in 2014 after Burke said the church was like a ship with no rudder.

Burke has been on the attack against Francis since then. 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 has 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 want to implant microchips in people. He has said the best weapon for fighting the virus is Jesus Christ.

UPDATE: Wisconsin Cardinal in serious condition after contracting COVID-19

WEDNESDAY 8/18/2021 10:27 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A high-ranking Catholic cardinal who has COVID-19 is in serious condition and has been sedated.

Cardinal Raymond Burke tweeted on Aug. 10 that he had caught the coronavirus. Officials at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which Burke founded in La Crosse, Wisconsin, issued a statement Tuesday saying Burke is in serious but stable condition at an undisclosed location.

He has been sedated and is on a ventilator. The shrine asked that no one make any further inquiries about his condition, saying such communications can become a burden.

Burke has built a reputation as a fiercely conservative cleric and one of Pope Francis’ staunchest critics.

ORIGINAL: Wisconsin Cardinal hospitalized with COVID, breathing with ventilator

MONDAY 8/16/2021 11:47 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — One of the Catholic church’s top officials and fiercest critics of Pope Francis has COVID-19 and is breathing through a ventilator.

Cardinal Raymond Burke tweeted on Aug. 10 that he had caught the virus, was resting comfortably and was receiving excellent medical care. His staff tweeted Saturday that he has been hospitalized and is breathing through a ventilator.

The Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Burke caught the virus while visiting Wisconsin and is hospitalized there. Burke was born in Wisconsin and served as bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The diocese had no information Monday on where Burke is hospitalized.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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