The Catholic Church has, by and large, encouraged members to get vaccinated against COVID. Pope Francis even said it was a moral obligation earlier this year.
But there are still a handful of priests and lay members who are conservative and scientifically ignorant and who think the shots are nothing more than a “personal choice,” failing to understand the impact that could have on our nation’s response to the pandemic. Some, finding the loosest of links to abortion, suggested some vaccines were immoral, apparently fine with the ever-increasing COVID death count.
But Bishop Daniel E. Garcia of the Diocese of Monterey in California isn’t messing around. In a statement, he said none of the 46 parishes in the diocese would offer members religious exemptions to the vaccine. It’s the responsible move, considering there’s no good religious argument against getting a life-saving shot.
… For these reasons, I will not issue, and I have directed our clergy not to issue, any Letters of Religious exemption because it would contradict the clear objective teaching of the Catholic Church and the Holy See on this matter. I want to take this opportunity to once more, encourage those who have not done so, and have no medical impediments to avoid it, to get vaccinated. Let us continue to pray that the Lord accompany us during these times of additional risk, help us to make the most responsible decisions in our conscience, and to pray as well, for greater unity in our Church and in society.
Other bishops should follow suit. Garcia is doing what so many white evangelical pastors have failed to do: make it clear that his faith will not be used as an excuse for the dumbest people in our country to continue wreaking havoc upon their communities by becoming a vessel for COVID to spread.
If that makes some worshipers uncomfortable, too damn bad. Get the shot or stay home. At the very least, admit that your faith-based opposition to the vaccine doesn’t even have the support of your faith’s leaders and is just the label you want to use to defend your selfishness.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Karen for the link)