Anti-LGBTQ Roman Catholic Cardinal Raymond Burke says Catholics should continue to attend Mass in person despite the COVID-19 crisis — and one of the reasons is transgender activism.
Many churches and other places of worship around the world have been conducting services online since the virus spread, some doing so in response to government “shelter in place” orders. But Burke, in a letter posted on his website Saturday, said Catholics should “be able to pray and worship in their churches and chapels” as long as they “observe social distance” and “follow the other precautions.”
Worship is particularly needed now because of “how distant our popular culture is from God,” he wrote, noting abortion and euthanasia, then attacking the LGBTQ equality movement, particularly activism for recognition of transgender identity.
“We need only to think of the pervasive attack upon the integrity of human sexuality, of our identity as man or woman, with the pretense of defining for ourselves, often employing violent means, a sexual identity other than that given to us by God,” he said. “With ever greater concern, we witness the devastating effect on individuals and families of the so-called ‘gender theory.’” Burke went on to say, “There is no question that great evils like pestilence are an effect of original sin and of our actual sins.”
“We need to insist that the regulations of the State, also for the good of the State, recognize the distinct importance of places of worship, especially in time of national and international crisis,” he added. “In the past, in fact, governments have understood, above all, the importance of the faith, prayer and worship of the people to overcome a pestilence.
“Even as we have found a way to provide for food and medicine and other necessities of life during a time of contagion, without irresponsibly risking the spread of the contagion, so, in a similar way, we can find a way to provide for the necessities of our spiritual life.”
Burke, a U.S. citizen, currently lives in Italy, which has had more deaths from COVID-19 than any other nation. He is a former bishop of La Crosse, Wis., and former archbishop of St. Louis. He went on to be head of the Vatican’s highest court but was removed from that position by Pope Francis in 2014. Francis put him back on the court in 2017 but only as an adviser.
Burke has been a frequent critic of Francis and of the church’s response to sexual abuse by its clergy members. Burke and another cardinal, Walter Brandmüller, wrote a letter last year blaming abuse on “the plague of the homosexual agenda,” which “has been spread within the Church, promoted by organized networks and protected by a climate of complicity and a conspiracy of silence.” The pope responded by calling critics like them “friends of the devil.”