Burke announced on Twitter on August 10 that he had contracted the virus, that he was sleeping peacefully, and that he was getting superb medical care.
His team tweeted on Saturday that he had been admitted to the hospital and was on a ventilator, but that physicians were pleased with his improvement.
Burke was hospitalized in Wisconsin after being sick, according to the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Burke served as bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse from 1995 until 2004. He was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, in southern Wisconsin.
In recent weeks, COVID-19 instances have risen in Wisconsin, owing primarily to the delta variation. As of Wednesday, the state’s seven-day case average remained at 1,139, the highest level since February.
Burke’s whereabouts and condition were sent to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which Burke created in the city, by the Diocese of La Crosse on Monday. A message left there was not responded to right away. Burke’s whereabouts are unknown, according to a representative for the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Officials from the Vatican’s press office did not immediately respond to an email.
Burke is a canon lawyer with a Ph.D. He was appointed Archbishop of St. Louis after leaving the Diocese of La Crosse. He was in that post for more than four years until departing in August 2008 to manage the Vatican’s top court. He was the first person from the United States to occupy that post.
Burke has earned a reputation as a conservative who is not afraid to speak his mind. In 2004, he made headlines in the United States when he stated that he would refuse Holy Communion to Democratic presidential contender John Kerry, a Roman Catholic who supports abortion rights.
Burke was transferred from the Vatican court by Pope Francis in 2014 after he compared the church to a ship without a rudder.
Burke has subsequently been one of Francis’ most vocal opponents, first by joining three other conservative cardinals in demanding Francis explain himself when he allowed civilly remarried Catholics to take Holy Communion in 2016.
He’s also joined a chorus of conservative and traditionalist critics of Francis’ crackdown on the old Latin Mass, decrying the “severity” of the pope’s decision and questioning his authority to impose, saying he shares the “profound sorrow” of Catholics who believe Francis has unfairly attacked them. Burke conducted a Tridentine Mass, as the ancient liturgy is known, in a parish in Stamford, Connecticut, the same evening that the pope revealed his new limitations.
In 2017, the pope reinstated him to the court, but only as a member rather than as its senior officer.
Burke has also chastised countries for their handling of the epidemic, referring to the illness as the “Wuhan virus” in a sermon in December, a pejorative name coined by former President Donald Trump to characterize the coronavirus and warned people that governments were manipulating them. He spoke out against obligatory vaccinations in May 2020, claiming that some members of society seek to put microchips into individuals.
In March 2020, he stated that the most effective weapon against “the wickedness of the coronavirus” is a connection with Jesus Christ.