VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis' second-in-command, Cdl. Pietro Parolin, personally intervened to bar Cdl. Raymond Burke from entering Vatican offices over Burke's conscientious objection to the abortion-tainted COVID-19 vaccine.
Sources at the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints told Church Militant that Burke, a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, was recently stopped at the entrance to the building because he did not possess a Green Pass.
The Green Pass, issued by Italy and the Vatican, shows that the holder has been vaccinated against the China virus or recovered from it in the last six months. Burke suffered from COVID-19 in September of 2021, so his pass expired in March 2022.
The Vatican Green Pass requirements exceed the demands of the Italian government. A decree, issued by Parolin, compels all personnel and visitors to get a booster as a condition of entry to Vatican offices from Jan. 31.
While Burke was kept waiting at the door, security contacted the authorities heading the dicastery that oversees the complex process for the canonization of saints.
The prefect of the congregation is Cdl. Marcello Semeraro, one of Francis' most-trusted advisers. In October, the pope conferred a red hat on the former bishop of Albano — a week after appointing him prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, where he replaced the disgraced Cdl. Angelo Becciu.
Semeraro, former secretary of the pope's Council of Cardinals, is on record supporting civil unions for homosexual couples.
In a preface to the book L'amore Possibile: Persone Omosessuali e Morale Cristiana (Love is Possible: Homosexuals and Christian Morality), Semeraro calls for the inclusion of gays and underscores the book's message, asking how "procreative purpose and sexual intercourse within the male-female polarity are applicable to the homosexual condition."
Burke has also been refused entry into other offices of the Holy See — even though the cardinal resides in an apartment within the sovereign territory of Vatican City State.
Though a Green Pass is a must for entry into Vatican offices, over 3,000 people were allowed to congregate in St. Peter's Basilica for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary — with no social distancing and no vaccine passport requirement.
Moreover, while the Vatican enforces strict mask regulations (even requiring the use of FFP2 masks and outdoor masking), Pope Francis is frequently seen violating his own rules, greeting world leaders and crowds of people without using a face covering.
Speaking at an in-flight press conference while returning from Slovakia in September, Francis railed against Cdl. Burke, a traditionalist, demonizing him as a "denier."
"In the College of Cardinals, there are a few deniers. One of them, the poor man, contracted the virus," the pontiff told reporters as he flew home.
"One of them, poor thing, has been hospitalized with the virus. These are the ironies of life," Francis mocked, without referring to Burke by name.
Catholics on social media blasted Francis for his "low blow" and "unprincipled attack," calling it "very unbecoming for a man in his position." Others pointed out it was ironic that Burke "now has a greater immunity to the virus than the pope does."
The Vatican continues its strict COVID-19 regime — even though Italy has relaxed virus restrictions, including the country's health-pass system, allowing people to use outdoor dining areas and local public transport without a pass.
However, in April, the Italian tax agency sent a letter to an estimated 600,000 Italian citizens and expat workers, ordering them to get the jab in ten days or face a fine of 100 euros. The fine will be deducted directly from the bank accounts of those who refuse to pay.
Semeraro was criticized after imposing Green Pass restrictions for worshippers wishing to attend Holy Mass at his priestly golden jubilee celebration in August.
Church Militant has contacted Cdl. Burke and the Holy See Press Office for comment.