The COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately provided a platform for some of the most unhinged in the hierarchical ranks, and [Playing God‘s author Mary Jo] McConahay uses that recent era to introduce a core cast. For San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the government mandates to temporarily close churches were not protective of people, but an act of “willful discrimination” against Catholics. With no medical background, he declared that the vaccines “don’t give any immunity at all.”

Bishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, announced that “fear of getting sick, in and of itself, does not excuse someone from the obligation” of attending Mass in person. Likewise, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, who had been vaccinated, proclaimed that he made no exception to attending Mass in person because “eternal life is the most important consideration.”

Cordileone was joined in language and outrage by Cardinal Raymond Burke, a COVID-19 vaccine opponent who eventually became infected with COVID and spent several days in 2021 on a ventilator at the Mayo Clinic, as well as by Tulsa Bishop David Konderla and the irrepressible Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas. They were among the first to openly support the rantings of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, another opponent of COVID vaccines who openly engaged with QAnon conspiracy theories, the extreme-right Catholic and one-time Trump White House official Steve Bannon, and who in a 2018 letter openly called for Pope Francis to resign.

In collecting the record and placing them and a sampling of their fringy ideas all in one space, the effect becomes a kind of chorus of, as she puts it, the delusional….
Original story from NCROnline.