Benedict XVI had three COVID-19 vaccine doses ‘out of conviction’

Archbishop Georg Gänswein has said that both he and Benedict XVI have received three COVID-19 vaccine doses “out of conviction.”

The pope emeritus’ private secretary made the remark in a nine-page interview in the December edition of the German publication Vatican-magazin.

The Vatican began administering doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine in January and confirmed in February that the pope emeritus had received the second dose of the vaccine. It began to administer the third dose in October.

Gänswein was asked about Catholic opposition to coronavirus vaccines, some of which were produced using cell lines from aborted fetuses.

His interviewer said that Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the controversial former apostolic nuncio to the United States, had criticized the Vatican for promoting a vaccination campaign.

Gänswein said that he could not understand the criticisms.

Gänswein acknowledged that “every vaccination has advantages and disadvantages.” But he recalled that Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, the president of the Italian bishops’ conference, became seriously ill after contracting COVID-19 and afterward cautioned “against any form of ideological crusade against vaccination.”

“One must not force anyone to vaccinate, that is quite clear. But one should appeal to the conscience,” Gänswein commented.

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