Right-wing cardinal placed on ventilator after spreading microchip conspiracies about vaccines

A right-wing Catholic cardinal who expressed skepticism of the coronavirus vaccines has been placed on a ventilator after his infection with the potentially deadly virus.

Cardinal Raymond Burke was hospitalized in Wisconsin, where he was a bishop from 1994 to 2005, and receiving breathing assistance from a ventilator, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"Doctors are encouraged by his progress," someone close to the cardinal tweeted from his Twitter account. "(His Eminence) faithfully prayed the Rosary for those suffering from the virus. On this Vigil of the Assumption, let us now pray the Rosary for him."

The 73-year-old Burke lives in Rome but became ill while visiting Wisconsin, where he was raised and founded a church in 2008, according to Elizabeth Westhoff, a friend and his former press secretary.

"He certainly is a good and faithful son of the church," Westhoff said. "He has been a wonderful spiritual father to me and to many, many other people around the world who look to him for orthodox teachings when it comes to issues concerning the church." Westhoff said she is praying for his full and fast recovery. "Knowing him, I'm sure that he is offering this up, as we say in the church, for those who are suffering from COVID right now along with him."

The cardinal has expressed skepticism for social distancing and opposed mandatory vaccinations against COVID-19, which he called the "Wuhan virus" in a homily, and in May 2021 spread false claims that vaccines contained microchips that would allow governments to track recipients.

"It has been used by certain forces inimical to families and to the freedom of nations, to advance their evil agenda," Burke said in the December homily.