I know little about Cardinal Burke. Those who are Pope Francisphiles seem to put him somewhere between Hitler, Charles Manson and the person who invented Reality Television. That alone makes me think he's not one trying to filter the historical faith through the prism of post-modern insanity and wickedness and self-centered materialism.
That certainly appears the case here, where he comes out and says what I've been saying in my own clunky way: that in light of the Coronavirus, the Church universal has made it clear religion is no longer an essential, and anyone can get close to God wherever, they don't need to be at a church. And that, to me, is a bad thing.
Against that clear secular view, Cardinal Burke comes out and reminds us that Christianity isn't just another hobby we do when it's a cool 72 degrees on a summer evening with clear skies and a gentle northerly breeze. It's reality whether good or bad, whether sickness or health, whether rich or poor. And the reality is that the here and now is but a small part of the whole that matters. To lay the groundwork for people to think religion - therefore, God - is of little consequence next to science and doctors who take care of what matters, is to save the body and lose the soul.
Of course he doesn't advocate doing nothing. Neither do I. I absolutely think we should do whatever within reason. I think we're overreacting, but as long as harm isn't done to the poor and the lower income workers so that wealthy celebrities and activists can stay safe, I'm fine. And I'm not saying churches should have gone on as usual. But there was a third option that too few churches tried. Whatever that was would likely depend on the church in question. But rather than agonize and think and roll up the sleeves, they went cheap and secular and said 'shut them down, lock the doors, and get to God on your own.' Just like the bowling alleys and bars.
The large number of Christian leaders and Christians with an online presence who have accepted the idea that religion can be a non-essential and our physical health is what really matters suggests they've forgotten what Cardinal Burke is reminding us of: The Gospel has a vast model of Creation that includes, among many things, that rather small little thing called the universe. Our souls, on the other hand, are much, much bigger. May the world not forget this, and may Christians not be the ones who help them forget it if they do.
"For what does it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" The words of Christ, as recorded in Mark 8.36