Cardinal Raymond Burke, a strong voice for unborn babies in the Catholic Church, is improving in the hospital after he contracted COVID earlier this month, a spokesperson confirmed Saturday.

The National Catholic Register reports the 73-year-old cardinal is no longer in intensive care and no longer needs a ventilator, according to a statement from Father Paul Check, executive director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

“Praised be Jesus Christ!” Check said Saturday. “The cardinal’s family is pleased to announce that His Eminence has come off the ventilator and will leave the ICU today to return to his hospital room.”

Many Catholics have been praying for the cardinal after news broke that he contracted a coronavirus, was hospitalized and was placed on a ventilator Aug. 14.

Check said Burke spoke with his sister on the phone Saturday and “expressed his deep gratitude for the many prayers offered on his behalf.”

“His family asks that we continue those prayers for his full and speedy recovery, and they are grateful to God for the exceptional medical care the cardinal has received from the dedicated doctors and nurses who continue to assist him,” he added.

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Burke, a leading expert in Canon Law and former head of the Vatican’s highest court, has been a strong advocate for unborn babies’ right to life.

He has criticized President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and other pro-abortion politicians who profess to be Catholic while supporting abortion. Burke has said they should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent and stop advocating for the killing of unborn babies.

In a March interview with Thomas McKenna of Catholic Action for Faith and Family, Burke made the case for pro-abortion politicians like Biden to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church because of their “open and aggressive” apostasy on abortion, religious freedom and other issues.

“A person who obstinately and publicly denies truths of the faith and actually acts against the truths of the faith or of the moral law, may not present himself or herself to receive Holy Communion,” the cardinal said. “And, at the same time, the minister of Holy Communion, usually the priest, is not to give them Holy Communion, should they present themselves.”

Burke said Catholics must understand that “the crime of procured abortion is a grievous violation against the first precept of the moral law, namely the safeguarding and promoting of human life.”

In a Jan. 24 homily, Burke described Biden’s plan to expand abortions as a “program of lies and murder” that comes from Satan.

On matters involving COVID-19, Burke also has drawn public praise and criticism. Among other things, he has urged governments and employers to respect religious freedom and not force people to take the vaccine, according to the AP.

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