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VIENNA, Austria, November 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic bishops of Austria believe that being injected with a vaccine against Covid-19 is a form of Christian responsibility. 

In a statement released at the end of their autumn plenary assembly on Friday, the Austrian Bishops’ Conference said “Christian responsibility” should manifest itself during the coronavirus pandemic as “personal responsibility, consideration, and solidarity.”
“The willingness to be vaccinated is an expression of this attitude,” the bishops wrote. 

“We are still in the midst of a pandemic with enormous personal, social and economic implications,” they continued. “There must be no lockdown of hearts and help.”

The bishops indicated that they believe recent news points “encouraging indications that there could be an effective and safe vaccination against the infection in the foreseeable future.” 

On Monday, November 9, shortly after the U.S. elections, BioNTech and parent company Pfizer announced that they had developed a viable “vaccine candidate” against Covid-19.

Echoing a May statement by Pope Francis, the Austrian bishops said coronavirus vaccines should be made available worldwide at reasonable prices. They condemned any national hoarding of vaccines or economic interests interfering with its accessibility by the poor.

However, they also stated that there are those who should get first crack at the vaccine, that is, people whose professions bring them in constant contact with infected people or who are otherwise particularly vulnerable. 

In the bishops' statement, they also published their wishes, which they described as a “responsible contribution” regarding restrictions on Catholic worship in Austria. Going above and beyond the government’s own requirements, the Austrian bishops required Catholics to stand 1.5 metres (4 feet, 9 inches) apart at all church services, whether indoors or outdoors, and to wear masks. In addition, all baptisms, first communions, confirmations, and weddings will be postponed. 

“With these restrictions, the bishops want to make a responsible contribution to overcoming the crisis,” they said in their statement. 
“At the same time, this ensures that the essential basic practices of faith continue to be possible,” the bishops continued.  

Catholic believe that baptism is one of the most important activities of the Church and that all unmarried Catholics who have no impediment to marriage have a canonical right to marry. However, in their statement, the bishops concentrated on other forms of “pastoral care.”

“The bishops gratefully perceive that the great majority of the faithful try in these difficult times to combine the necessary measures with great spiritual confidence and active love,” they wrote. 

“There is great commitment in pastoral care for the sick and the elderly, in pastoral care by telephone, at Caritas and auxiliary institutions, and also in schools.”

The bishops added that religious freedom is very important and particularly protected by the Austrian constitution.

“Interferences with this basic right, such as suspending public services, are so serious that they have to be very well founded in order not to be unconstitutional,” they wrote. 

“That is why the churches and religious societies have been working very closely with the state authorities since the beginning of the pandemic when it comes to measures to restrict religious freedom in the face of the pandemic.”

But Viennese Catholic Alexander Tschugguel, known primarily for removing images identified with the Andean goddess Pachamama from a Roman church and throwing them in the Tiber, sees things differently. He told LifeSiteNews that shortly after making their statement, the Austrian bishops banned all public Masses. 

“The head of our Bishops’ Conference, the Primas Germaniae (Primate of German-speaking countries), Archbishop Franz Lackner, said on Friday that there would be a church lockdown only (as a last resort),” Tschugguel said via email.

“Only 24 hours later, he said that there won't be any public masses up until St. Nicholas’ Day. This is a 360 degree turn within 24 hours. What a disgrace!”

Tschugguel told LifeSiteNews that he is “opposed” to what his nation’s Catholic bishops have said. He feels that the bishops misunderstand their primary responsibility as Christians.  

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PETITION UPDATE (12/14/2020) -

The vaccine roll out is beginning in the United States, and first responders have been tagged as those likely to be among the first to receive a vaccine.

President Trump needs to ensure that this is entirely voluntary.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition, today!

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Early reports suggest that the U.S. military could be first on the list of those ordered to take a COVID vaccine.

But, no one should be forced to be vaccinated against his or her will, especially members of the U.S. military!

Military men and women, and their families, already sacrifice enough for the safety of our country. Forcing them to take an untested and unproven vaccine, against their will, would violate the spirit of their contract with America.

This petition says 'No' to treating our servicemen and women like guinea pigs with an unproven and insufficiently-tested vaccine.

Please SIGN this petition to President Trump asking him to declare, as Commander-in-Chief, that members of the armed forces will not be forced to take any COVID vaccine.

So far, big pharmaceutical companies have reported casualties and halted trials for a COVID vaccine on numerous occasions:

  • An AstraZeneca COVID trial participant died over the summer.
  • On October 12, Eli Lilly stopped a COVID antibody trial because of safety concerns.
  • Johnson and Johnson paused their vaccine trials on October 11 because one participant had an "unexplained" illness.  
  • And, other AstraZeneca trials in the UK were put on hold both in July and September after participants developed a "serious neurological condition that might have been caused by the vaccine."

No one, especially in the U.S. military, should be used as a guinea pig for proving the "effectiveness" of any COVID vaccine.

Apart from these real health concerns, many military men and women object to vaccines made from aborted fetal cell lines and to other unethical testing, and these ethical considerations should also be honored.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which calls on President Trump, as Commander-in-Chief, to issue a declaration protecting the right of servicemen and women to exercise conscientious objection in relation to a mandate for them to take a COVID vaccine.

Just like it was essential for President Trump to nominate a new Supreme Court justice before the election, it is now essential that the President declare any vaccine to be voluntary for the military before January, just in case there is a transition to a new administration.

Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this urgent petition to President Trump, today!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Why rushing a COVID vaccine will likely fail to provide a safe and effective immunity' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/why-rushing-a-covid-vaccine-will-likely-fail-to-provide-a-safe-and-effective-immunity

'Coronavirus vaccine trial volunteer dies in Brazil' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/covid-vaccine-trial-volunteer-dies-in-brazil

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“It is a matter of Christian responsibility to take care of other people's salvation,” he said. “Therefore, it is absolutely against this responsibility to forbid public Holy Masses.”

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