Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the most extreme anti-LGBT+ figures in the Catholic Church, has been hospitalised after contracting COVID-19.
73-year-old Burke is sedated on a ventilator in a stable but serious condition, according to officials at a Wisconsin shrine he founded, who have asked people to “pray the Rosary for him”.
The ultraconservative bishop is an outspoken vaccine skeptic who believes the best weapon for fighting the virus is Jesus Christ. Several holy relics have been placed in his hospital room, religious officials say.
Burke criticised early COVID measures and encouraged Catholics to attend Mass in person, partly to combat “the pervasive attack upon the integrity of human sexuality”.
“We need only to think of the pervasive attack upon the integrity of human sexuality, of our identity as man or woman, with the pretence of defining for ourselves, often employing violent means, a sexual identity other than that given to us by God,” he wrote on his website early in the pandemic.
“With ever greater concern, we witness the devastating effect on individuals and families of the so-called ‘gender theory’… There is no question that great evils like pestilence are an effect of original sin and of our actual sins.”
Cardinal Raymond Burke blamed church sex abuse scandal on LGBT+ community
The bishop built a reputation as an outspoken conservative and has made frequent homophobic comments throughout his career, including the claim that “homosexual culture” is to blame for child rape in the Catholic Church.
Responding in 2018 to a grand jury’s finding that thousands of Pennsylvania children had been sexually abused by more than 300 Catholic priests, Burke turned to the LGBT+ community, saying homosexuality is a “tendency that is disordered” and needed to be “purified at the root”.
He has also called homosexuality “evil” and proudly endorsed homophobia, saying that it is “simply announcing the truth, helping people to discriminate right from wrong in terms of their own activities”.
In 2014 he was stripped of his influential role as head of the Apostolic Signatura after calling for parents to keep their children away from gay relatives, and said he would refuse communion to any politician who voted in favour of same-sex marriage.
PinkNews wishes him a swift recovery.
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