MADISON, WES (AP) – A high-ranking Catholic cardinal who was put on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19 said he has moved into a home but is still struggling to recover from the illness.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, 73, one of the Church’s most outspoken conservatives and a vaccine skeptic, posted a message on his website on Saturday saying he left hospital on September 3 and moved into a home near his family. He did not say where.
Burke said he’s undergoing rehab at home, and he’s still tired and having trouble breathing. He didn’t detail what his rehab regimen included, but said he was making steady but slow progress. He said that a secretary from Rome moved in with him to help him rehabilitate him and keep up with his work.
“I cannot predict when I will be able to return to my normal activities,” Burke wrote. “Apparently, it will take several more weeks.”
He said that God saved him for “some work” that he wanted him to do with the help of the church and asked people to pray for him, the world, and the church, all of which “are fraught with so much confusion and error in great and even mortal harm to many souls.” He did not go into details.
Burke tweeted on August 10 that he had fallen ill. His staff tweeted six days later that he had been sedated and was breathing through a ventilator. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a shrine to Burke he founded in La Crosse, Wisconsin, released a statement on August 21 saying Burke was off a ventilator. Burke tweeted on August 30 that he had been moved from intensive care to a room in an undisclosed hospital.
Pope Francis said earlier this month that he did not understand why people refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine, acknowledging that “even in the College of Cardinals, there are some exiles.” One of the cardinals called him a “poor man” who had been hospitalized with illness, in an apparent reference to Burke, and added, “Well, the irony of life.”
Pope Burke dismissed the Vatican Supreme Court after Burke in 2014 likened the church to a rudderless ship. Two years later, Burke joined three other conservative cardinals in asking Francis to explain why he had decided to allow remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist.
Burke also warned people that governments are using fear of the pandemic to manipulate people. And he spoke out against mandatory vaccinations in 2020, saying that some in the community want to implant microchips in humans.
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