A group that advocates on behalf of LGBT Catholics is calling on Pope Francis to remove two leaders who blamed the LGBT community for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement released Wednesday, Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, said that “these churchmen have exploited the world's most dangerous modern public health crisis to promote their own biased and prejudiced views of LGBTQ people.”

In a letter released last week, Cardinal Raymond Burke, a U.S. prelate currently living in Rome, blamed the pandemic in part on efforts to promote LGBT equality.

“We need only to think of the pervasive attack upon the integrity of human sexuality, of our identity as man or woman, with the pretense of defining for ourselves, often employing violent means, a sexual identity other than that given to us by God,” Burke said. “With ever greater concern, we witness the devastating effect on individuals and families of the so-called 'gender theory,'”

“There is no question that great evils like pestilence are an effect of original sin and of our actual sins,” he added.

Bishop Ramon Castro of Cuernavaca, Mexico blamed the crisis on the increasing acceptance of transgender children, abortion and assisted suicide.

DeBernardo called on Pope Francis to act.

“These irresponsible messages from highly placed church leaders will only incite desperate people seeking an ‘enemy’ behind the virus to perpetrate acts of violence toward LGBTQ people,” DeBernardo said. “Instead of saving lives, the bishop and cardinal are endangering them.”

“Pope Francis should remove both men from public ministry for dangerous and irresponsible language about LGBTQ people, and also for promoting ignorant disinformation in the midst of a global health crisis,” he said. “The Catholic Church, a worldwide religion already widely discredited, cannot ignore such recklessness.”