Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, archbishop emeritus of St. Louis, is ill with COVID-19 and has been placed on a ventilator, according to a Saturday night tweet from his Twitter account.
“Doctors are encouraged by his progress. (His Eminence) faithfully prayed the Rosary for those suffering from the virus. On this Vigil of the Assumption, let us now pray the Rosary for him,” the tweet said.
An earlier Tweet on Wednesday announced that he had the disease, said he was resting comfortably and receiving excellent medical care. It asked for prayers and put his trust in divine providence.
Burke, 73, was Archbishop of St. Louis from 2003 to 2008. He went to the Vatican to become a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church, aside from the Pope. He is currently Cardinal Priest of Sant’Agata de’ Goti in Rome.
Elizabeth Westhoff, a friend and his former press secretary, said Saturday night that she confirmed the illness with Burke’s secretary. She said while Burke lives in Rome, he became ill while in Wisconsin, where he was raised. He founded the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 2008.
“He certainly is a good and faithful son of the church,” Westhoff said. “He has been a wonderful spiritual father to me and to many, many other people around the world who look to him for orthodox teachings when it comes to issues concerning the church."
Westhoff said she is praying for his full and fast recovery. “Knowing him, I’m sure that he is offering this up, as we say in the church, for those who are suffering from COVID right now along with him,” she said.
According to the National Catholic Reporter, Burke “has expressed skepticism about the need for distancing measures to contain the coronavirus and has opposed mandatory vaccination schemes.”
In a homily given last December, Burke called COVID the “Wuhan virus,” and said, “It has been used by certain forces inimical to families and to the freedom of nations, to advance their evil agenda.”
According to LifeSiteNews.Com, Burke in a May 2020 address to the Rome Life Forum said vaccinations should not be forced "in a totalitarian manner" on people.
Burke, the website said, also said "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 any moment he or she can be controlled by the State regarding health and about other matters which we can only imagine."