(LifeSiteNews) — “Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you,” said the Lord as recorded in Matthew 11:28. Note that He didn’t say, “Only come if you’ve been vaccinated.” Our Lord went even to the lepers. And yet, healthy people who don’t want the abortion-tainted so-called “vaccine” are being banned from churches, by the government and saddest of all by church leaders themselves.
There are definite lines being drawn in the proverbial sand, and in general — with notable exceptions. Lines of orthodoxy versus liberal and modernist approaches to the faith. I share with you my thoughts on this in the latest episode of The John-Henry Westen Show.
Last week, news spread across the world about a tiny Canadian Catholic diocese in Eastern Canada. Archbishop Valery Vienneau of Moncton, New Brunswick, decreed that anyone over 12 who attends a religious gathering in a church in his archdiocese “must be doubly vaccinated” against COVID-19.
In a letter to Catholics of the Moncton Archdiocese, Vienneau wrote that “beginning Wednesday September 22nd, at any gathering inside our churches, rectories or community centres under our supervision, those present must be doubly vaccinated.”
The archbishop stipulated that such gatherings include “religious celebrations (Sunday and weekly masses, prayer meetings, baptisms, weddings and funerals, Confirmation, First Reconciliation, First Communion), parish and pastoral meetings, catechesis meetings, management meetings, conferences, workshops, fraternal and social meetings, bingos, card games, etc.”
Vienneau qualified that children under 12 are not required to take the jab to participate because they “cannot currently be vaccinated” against the virus.
Of course, Catholics normally have the obligation to attend Mass in person every Sunday and, in Canada, at Christmas and on New Year’s Day, unless they are ill, caring for a sick child, or are physically impeded from traveling to Mass.
Not fulfilling that obligation is considered a serious sin, and participating at Mass is considered central to the spiritual life of the faithful Catholic. Even Catholics who have incurred excommunication and thus cannot receive the sacraments are encouraged to take part in Sunday worship. That means all the pro-abortion politicians and others living in serious sin.
The bishop attempted to excuse his banning of “unvaccinated” Catholics from Mass by recounting a meeting that New Brunswick’s Minister of Health Dorothy Shephard had with religious leaders in the province. However, there is no provincial mandate for proof of vaccination at religious gatherings.
Vienneau did say that parents who come to their child’s “First Reconciliation” (that is, first confession) would be barred unless they take the shot, leaving many to wonder if the faithful would be denied the sacrament of penance unless they took the abortion-tainted jab.
Days later, that vaccine mandate in Moncton diocese was overturned. And it is not clear exactly what caused the walk back but there was surely massive pressure.
On September 24, Archbishop Vienneau updated guidelines published just days earlier. Two days after the ban was implemented, it was partially rescinded. The new measures, agreed on by the four bishops of the province, now state that “no proof of vaccination will be required” for attendance at most church services, including Masses and baptisms, but that access to weddings and funerals will still be restricted to those who have taken an experimental COVID shot.
According to the Moncton diocese, the change came about as a result of “new directives from the Minister of Health” for New Brunswick, Dorothy Shephard.
Those teaching children’s catechesis must also be double-jabbed, according to the statement, as well as any adults who wish to attend the classes. And I’m sorry to say but with such mandates, I would never allow my children to attend catechesis there anyway.
If I had to guess at the real cause, I’d say that the bishop of St. John’s New Brunswick who said from the outset that he would not be banning non-vaccinated Catholics from Mass is what caused the turnaround.
But that was only the latest manifestation of this insanity. And it does seem to line up along the lines of orthodox vs. modernist Catholicism — at least for the most part.
Back in May, the ultra-modernist Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago announced that parishioners can return to Mass unmasked but only if they can provide “proof of vaccination.”
Even before that, in March, modernist Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston made the reception of the COVID jab a necessary prerequisite to laity participating in certain ministries at parishes, such as serving at the altar.
The bishop of the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey, meanwhile, warned that priests who do not accept the abortion-tainted COVID-19 injections could face removal from “active ministry,” though he shied away from actually mandating the injections.
A letter from Bishop Kevin Sweeney, dated September 14 and seen by LifeSiteNews, referred to that day’s feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and appeared to equate the COVID-19 injections with the “life giving power of the Holy Cross.”
LifeSite’s David McLoone provided a roundup of the stances of various U.S. bishops on the question, finding that left-leaning bishops were more likely to go with the vaccine mandates while orthodox-leaning bishops were more likely to be open to medical freedom and freedom of conscience.
He reported that two left-leaning U.S. archbishops have refused to endorse religious exemptions for parishioners who wish to forego the abortion-tainted jabs.
Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle and Archbishop Nelson J. Perez of Philadelphia are the two latest Catholic prelates to actively discourage parishioners from seeking exemptions to accepting the ethically questionable COVID-19 jabs currently being rolled out across the nation.
Etienne released a letter of his own the same day, instructing the clergy under his jurisdiction “not to provide or sign documents claiming a religious exemption.”
Earlier in August, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan instructed clergy to refuse to sign exemption letters for parishioners, based on the Pope’s continued support for the moral permissibility of the jabs.
Dolan was joined by Archbishop José Gomez, the current president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, all three of whom cited the Holy See as having given its approval to the use of the morally dubious shots.
Going one step further, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, has ordered that not only must there be no endorsement from the diocese on vaccine exemption requests, but that, before September 1, all diocesan staff “will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of their employment.”
In an August 17 letter, Stowe insisted that getting the jab “is an urgent matter of public health and safety,” adding his belief that there “is no religious exemption for Catholics to being vaccinated, and Pope Francis has repeatedly called this a moral obligation.”
Stowe made the claim that public health systems are overburdened “by a crisis caused primarily by those who refuse to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated.”
“This is unacceptable, and our diocese now joins those employers who have already made this basic commitment to the common good a requirement.”
South Dakota Bishop Donald E. DeGrood of Sioux Falls and Bishop Peter M. Muhich of Rapid City signed a letter in which they explain that “one may accept COVID-19 vaccines in good conscience if certain conditions are met, but doing so is not a universal moral duty. We echoed the Vatican, which explained in a doctrinal note that ‘practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation.”
“In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, we are convicted that the government should not impose medical interventions on an individual or group of persons,” the bishops wrote. This led them to affirm that “there is no authoritative Church teaching universally obliging Catholics to receive any vaccine. An individual Catholic may invoke Church teaching to refuse a vaccine that used abortion-derived cell lines at any stage of the creation of the vaccine.”
The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) also came out in support of freedom of conscience, with the Center’s president Joseph Meaney stating that “we do not approve of coercive pressure tactics or vaccine mandates, particularly ones without generous medical, conscience, and religious mandates.”
The NCBC has produced a template letter for Catholics who object to vaccine mandates, granting individuals an easy way to explain to employers “the principled religious basis on which a Catholic may determine that he or she ought to refuse certain vaccines.”
So what stands out is that the fight works. The protests of those refusing to abandon their conscience rights will win the day. I want to leave you with the words of the heroic Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who addressed anti-vaccine passport protesters gathered on a square in Turin on Sunday.
He denounced the use of the pandemic by higher powers to bring about the “Great Reset.” The former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States established a connection between the imposition of the “green pass” in Italy and the establishment of the Great Reset he has warned about on many occasions.
Viganò began by expressing his support for the people gathered on Castello square as well as many other squares in Italy and congratulated them for their determination in resisting “the narrative of lies” from the mainstream media.
He then denounced the establishment of a health dictatorship in which both lay people and clerics have taken part.
“It is disconcerting to see how all political forces, including the ones you might have expected to oppose the establishment of this health dictatorship, have become accomplices of an elite of criminal conspirators,” he said, “rulers, magistrates, police forces, doctors and scientists, public and private officials, journalists, but also bishops and priests, and the Vatican leaders themselves.”
“It is also necessary to go deeper,” he said, “that is, to recognize that what we see happening corresponds to an inhuman project by forces who hate not only the health of the body, but also and above all the salvation of the soul.”
He then attributed humanity’s current demise to its past infidelity to God’s commandments and to the many sins of men, including the crime of abortion.
“We must recognize that, if we have come to this point, we owe it in large part to our own infidelity, to letting others decide for God what is right and what is not,” he said, “to allowing, in the name of tolerance, the murder of children in the womb, the killing of the sick and the elderly, the degeneration of Christian morality and the corruption of children and young people.”
“What we see today is the poisoned fruit of decades of dissolution, of rebellion against the law of the Lord, of sins and vices that cry out for vengeance in the sight of God,” he continued. “Divine Providence is showing us what the world can become when it abandons the Lordship of Jesus Christ and places itself under the slavery of Satan.”
The archbishop concluded his message with inspiration from a former pope. “I would like to make my own the words of John Paul II, who said at the beginning of his pontificate in 1978: open wide the doors to Christ! Do not be afraid!”
“But above all — I beg you, I implore you: let us return to live in the grace of God, to frequent the Sacraments, to practice the virtues, to be good Christians, faithful the promises of our Baptism and authentic witnesses of Christ.”
The message ended with the archbishop inviting the people present to recite together the Our Father. I pray that all Catholics will listen to his words of wisdom. May God bless you.
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