More Catholic institutions mandating Covid-19 vaccinations

Catholic Covid-19 vaccinations

An increasing number of Catholic institutions are mandating clergy and parishioners to have Covid-19 vaccinations, especially those who serve the community.

Citing the need for the Catholic Church to “lead by example” and act responsibly to protect others during the coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso has said that all Church employees and ministry volunteers must be vaccinated.

“For the sake our brothers and sisters, I am requiring all those who are employed by the Church and all those who perform Church ministries including, but not limited to, catechists and Eucharistic ministers to be vaccinated,” the bishop wrote.

Those who cannot be vaccinated due to “particular health issues” may seek an exemption, he said.

Board members at the National Catholic Bioethics Center have told CNA that Cardinal Blase Cupich has urged that the center retract its guidance against mandated immunization.

The board members who spoke with CNA said that they would oppose the change they say the cardinal is seeking.

One of the board members told CNA, “I think everyone should be vaccinated. Catholics should be the first to give a good example. There are legal precedents in which the state has mandated vaccines in extreme circumstances, but the conscience of religious people should be respected.”

Mary Haddad, RSM, the CEO and president of the Catholic Health Association, agrees that more must be done now to halt the advance of the Delta variant.

“I believe that there is a moral responsibility for all in health care professions to be vaccinated, period,” she said.

“I feel very strongly about that because you are potentially putting others at risk because of your inability to protect yourself and to do what you can in order to mitigate this increasing surge.”

Catholic seminaries in the northeast of the USA are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for their seminarians before the coming semester begins.

Mt Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland is one of the colleges requiring students and seminarians to be vaccinated before coming to campus in August 2021.

At St John’s Seminary in Boston, vice rector Fr. Thomas Macdonald said seminarians are “expected” to be vaccinated.

The job of a priest requires being close to the people, Macdonald noted. He told CNA that a priest needs access to places that house vulnerable people such as nursing homes.

St. John’s is allowing seminarians to opt out of vaccination, but the seminarian must explain his reasoning for doing so.

The Holy Father was unambiguous in a January interview, “I believe that morally everyone must take the vaccine. It is the moral choice because it is about your life but also the lives of others.”


Catholic News Agency

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