LA CROSSE, Wis. – Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said his recovery from COVID-19 is continuing through physical therapy and he is now able to celebrate daily Mass.
In an Oct. 15 letter posted on his Facebook page, the 73-year-old cardinal expressed his “sincere gratitude to all who prayed for my recovery” and said “words are not enough to express” the joy that he felt he could celebrate Mass again.
The cardinal also asked for prayers to continue, noting that his “recovery continues to remain an intensive process” and that “divine Providence will determine the timing of my return to my usual pastoral activities.”
He said his letter was not primarily aimed at informing his friends and supporters about his condition, but at encouraging people to say the Rosary every day.
He pointed out that the month of October is dedicated to this devotion and that in her messages during the apparitions at Fatima in Portugal, Mary urged people to pray the rosary daily, praying specifically for peace.
This prayer for peace, he said, is for “peace in your soul, peace in the world, peace in the church.”
In a previous letter he wrote Sept. 25, Cardinal Burke said he continues to recover at a home near family members in Wisconsin since being discharged from hospital Sept. 3. A native of Richland Center, Wisconsin, in the Diocese of La Crosse, he did not reveal where he was hospitalized.
“Although I am making steady progress, it is slow,” her earlier letter read. “The doctors and therapists who run the rehabilitation program assure that it is necessarily so and that I am fine.”
He said he was “trying to gain patience” by regaining “some fundamental physical skills necessary for my daily life and overcoming general fatigue and breathing difficulties”.
The cardinal did not announce if he had received the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Vatican had begun offering all Vatican residents, retirees and employees the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in mid-January 2021. The cardinal was eligible for the vaccine as a member of the College of Cardinals and a member of the Apostolic Signatura. , which he led as prefect from 2008 until his resignation in 2014.
Cardinal Burke expressed concerns about COVID-19 vaccines, including that it is “never morally justified to develop a vaccine using the cell lines of aborted fetuses.” The idea of such a vaccine being introduced into his body is rightly abhorrent.”
He also said that “vaccination itself cannot be imposed, in a totalitarian way, on citizens”.
In December, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, citing Church teaching, said that when alternative vaccines are not available, it is morally acceptable to receive vaccines developed or tested using cell lines from aborted fetuses, in this case including COVID -19 vaccines.
Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines did not use abortion-derived cell lines to develop or produce their vaccines, but they did in laboratory testing.
Cardinal Burke served as Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse from 1995 to 2004, Archbishop of St. Louis from 2004 to 2008, and Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Signatura from 2008 to 2014.
While the cardinal often resides in Italy, he travels extensively and was in the United States when he shared the news that he had contracted the virus.