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Bishop William McGrattanscreenshot/YouTube/Calgary Diocese

(LifeSiteNews) — The bishop of Calgary, Alberta, has said no priests in his diocese will be permitted to help anyone looking for a religious exemption from COVID jabs mandates.

“While the Diocese respects the freedom of a person’s individual conscience as the Church teaches, the Church and her ministers cannot objectively attest to or endorse a person’s process of discernment in coming to their decision of conscience. Therefore, the Diocese and the parishes will not be issuing any letters of exemption from vaccination,” reads a letter from Calgary Bishop William McGrattan dated September 22.

McGrattan in his letter said that “mandatory vaccination” requirements from public institutions and private businesses have resulted in an influx of requests from people looking for exemptions on religious grounds.

He said that clergy in his diocese have been “strongly encouraged instead to accompany and assist those requesting such letters to know and understand the teachings of the Church on vaccination during this pandemic through statements released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), and the pastoral letter provided by the Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories.”

McGrattan wrote that “in communion with the Holy Father, it is morally permissible to receive a vaccine approved for use in Canada against COVID-19.”

“While there are many possible reasons for one to struggle in their conscience with such a vaccine being mandatory, the Diocese will not take the position or role of endorsing an individual’s conscience and decision,” wrote McGrattan.

McGrattan wrote that while vaccine mandates from authorities must allow for “reasonable accommodation” to those who object, the un-jabbed must “take all precautionary measures possible to avoid places and circumstances where they and others would be most vulnerable.

“This is everyone’s moral responsibility,” wrote McGrattan.

Bishop’s letter draws strong negative reactions

On the Calgary diocese’s Facebook page, many commented that they were not happy with the bishop’s letter.

“How can one refuse exemptions for those who have had adverse reactions to every other vaccine they have received in the last 40 years of their life? Or those who are told by their doctors not to take the vaccine for known health issues,” commented Annemarie Lock.

One commenter named Allison Beaton was more direct in her remarks. “So assumed sick unless proven healthy… good to know we’re totally cool with abortion now as long as it serves the greater good,” commented Beaton.

Some came to the defense of the Bishop’s letter. “Thank you Bishop McGrattan for these wise words,” said June Fuller.

Diocesan staff speak out on bishop’s letter, calling it “unpastoral”

A priest from the Diocese of Calgary who spoke to LifeSiteNews on the condition of anonymity said the bishop’s letter was “not very pastoral” in tone. He said it could send the wrong message to further ostracize those who choose not to get jabbed, including many priests.

The priest also said that many have legitimate moral objections to not getting the COVID jabs, objections which he says have been cast aside as not “worthy.”

While the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s own guidelines state that COVID-19 injections are morally permissible, they also state clearly: “At the same time, practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.

A worker in administration at a parish in Calgary who does not work in the same parish as the priest who spoke out told LifeSiteNews that the bishop’s tone in the letter was “not encouraging news.”

“I hope they realize that going along with the world and not realizing that these shots are experimental in nature and have known side effects is not a good,” said the parish worker. “Combine the safety concerns of the vaccines, if you can even call them that, with the moral issues stemming from their creation, there is no way I will ever take a shot. Many won’t, so they will have a problem on their hands.”

For now, the Calgary diocese has stopped short of mandating COVID jabs for priests and staff, as well as parishioners.

However, both the priest and the parish worker fear it’s only a matter of time before the bishop mandates COVID jabs.

“If the bishop were to lose all of them (un-jabbed priests), he’s in a serious problem,” said the priest.

LifeSiteNews contacted the Calgary diocese, but has not received a response.

Cardinal Thomas Collins of the Archdiocese of Toronto recently said all priests and staff must be fully vaccinated or be subject to a test once per week.

After an uproar, the archbishop of Moncton, New Brunswick, withdrew a mandate which required all parishioners to be fully vaccinated.

Although the Vatican itself has allowed Catholics to take the jabs, many Catholics, including high-ranking clergy, feel compelled to not take the COVID jabs because of how the vaccines were made, and because of their experimental nature.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) has laid out four points referencing authentic Church teaching and showing how Catholics can reject mandatory vaccinations.

  • Vaccination is not morally obligatory in principle and so must be voluntary.
  • There is a general moral duty to refuse the use of medical products, including certain vaccines, that are produced using human cells lines derived from direct abortions. It is permissible to use such vaccines only under certain case-specific conditions, based on a judgment of conscience.
  • A person’s informed judgments about the proportionality of medical interventions are to be respected unless they contradict authoritative Catholic moral teachings.
  • A person is morally required to obey his or her sure conscience, even if it errs.

The COVID-19 injections approved for emergency use in Canada, including the Pfizer jab for ages 12 and up, all have connections to cells derived from aborted babies.

All four have also been associated with possible severe side effects such as blood clots, rashes, miscarriages, and even heart attacks in young healthy men.

The list of FDA-recognized adverse events has grown from severe anaphylactic reactions to include fatal thrombotic events, the inflammatory heart condition myocarditis, and neurologically disabling diseases like Guillain Barré Syndrome. Meanwhile, the CDC reported a COVID-19 infection survival rate of greater than 99.95% for those under age 50.

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccine resource page that can be viewed here, and a resource guide on how to resist Canadian COVID vaccine mandates that can be viewed here.