VICTORIA, British Columbia (LifeSiteNews) — The Canadian province of British Columbia has enacted new rules which restrict church attendance size based on the congregation’s COVID vaccine status, right before most Catholics and Christians celebrate Christmas.
Churches that want to enforce a vaccine mandate can do so and operate at 100 percent capacity. Those that do not are restricted to 50 percent capacity.
The new measures were first announced by the province’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on November 30 and came into effect shortly after. They were enacted citing the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus as justification.
Regardless of which option a place of worship chooses, masks are mandatory to be worn at all times, except for being “temporarily removed for ceremonial eating and drinking, and by officiants, readers or for singing a solo where physical distancing is observed.”
The new rules on worship services in effect leave it up to a church pastor to either ban the unvaccinated, or allow them to participate in a service but with reduced capacity, with the full blessing of the government.
Henry said that pastors, priests, or other faith leaders in charge have “flexibility” in establishing one’s jab status, meaning it’s up to a church or other place of worship to decide how to verify whether or not one has had the jabs.
British Columbia, like all Canadian provinces, has a vaccine passport in the form of a QR code.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller of the Archdiocese of Vancouver on December 2 seemed to criticize the new mandates issued at the hands of Henry. He said Catholic churches must try and avoid restricting mass attendence based on one’s vaccine status.
“In our local Church, we must avoid any attempt to establish a segregated or divisive system for Mass attendance,” said Miller in a memo to priests as reported by the BC Catholic. “If your parish has Masses where attendance is higher than 50 per cent of capacity, it is recommended that you provide at least one additional Mass at up to 50 per cent capacity.”
However, in a December 9 memo to his priests, Miller wrote that while the goal is to “give as much access as possible to the Sacraments (especially the Mass) to the greatest number of people possible,” churches can enact “vaccinated-only” masses if they so wish.
Wrote Miller to his priests, they can if they chose to add a “vaccinated-only” mass for “immune-compromised, medically at-risk” or those who are “deeply concerned for their safety.”
“Please consider adding a Mass to your existing schedule that is for vaccinated-only,” wrote Miller.
Miller noted that if a parish goes ahead with a “vaccinated-only” mass, the “provincial passport system is not required.”
“To ensure participants are vaccinated, please post signage stating: ‘Due to Public Health Orders the current service is limited to those who are fully vaccinated,’” wrote Miller.
Miller back in September mandated the COVID jabs for all deacons in his diocese. Those without the jabs are forbidden to exercise their ministry.
Bishop Gary Gordon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria wrote in a December 7 memo to his priests that all churches in his diocese must restrict capacity to 50 percent. There was no mention from Gordon of allowing for “vaccinated-only” masses.
Effective today, Henry enacted additional COVID measures in British Columbia.
All New Year’s Eve parties have been canceled, and new limits on indoor personal gatherings have been mandated.
Only households who are “fully vaccinated” can have 10 visitors.
Also, proof of vaccination is required for “all organized events of all sizes.”
Many Canadian consider such mandates an indefensible assault on individual freedoms given COVID-19’s high survivability among most groups, minimal risk of asymptomatic spread, and research indicating that post-infection natural immunity is equally protective against reinfection.
Also, one of the inventors of the mRNA vaccines Dr. Robert Malone himself said that it is the vaccinated, not the unvaccinated, who are the “super-spreaders” of the disease.
For respectful communication:
Archbishop Michael Miller
4885 Saint John Paul II Way
Vancouver BC V5Z 0G3
Phone: (604) 683-0281
Fax: (604) 683-4288