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Cardinal Blaise Cupich

CHICAGO (LifeSiteNews) — October 4 marks the deadline set by Cardinal Blasé Cupich for all employees and clergy of the Archdiocese of Chicago to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or face “disciplinary action.”

The deadline was announced in an August memo, ordering all employees and clergy of the archdiocese to be fully vaccinated within six weeks following the full approval of “at least one of the three vaccines” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Six weeks ago today, the Pfizer vaccine received its full FDA approval on August 23.

Cardinal Cupich, already notorious for his deviation from Church teaching on a variety of issues, is also a well-known supporter of the abortion-tainted, experimental vaccines. In a letter dated August 17, Cupich forbade his priests to issue any religious exemptions to parishioners and asked them to “politely decline” such requests, claiming that “there is no basis in Catholic moral teaching for rejecting vaccine mandates on religious grounds.”

The 72-year-old Cardinal even went as far as describing an individual’s decision not to get vaccinated as “a rejection of the Church’s authentic moral teaching regarding Covid vaccines,” and insisted that parishioners who decide against vaccination “cannot use the teaching of the church to justify such decisions.”

Yet the teaching of the Church is precisely what some have used to condemn the various COVID-19 vaccines which are all connected to abortion one way or another; a fact which has led Cardinal Raymond Burke to declare that it is “never morally justified to develop a vaccine through the use of the cell lines of aborted fetuses.”

After banning his priests from issuing religious exemption letters to their parishioners, Cupich issued a vaccine mandate policy on August 18 and gave his employees and clergy five weeks to get the jab, following FDA approval. The five weeks deadline was extended to six weeks in a subsequent memo.

The policy stipulates that “employees and clergy will be required to submit documentation of vaccination via an [Archdiocese of Chicago] tracking portal or website.” It also explicitly rules out religious exemptions, stating that “consistent with the current guidance of the Church, there will be no allowable religious exemption from compliance with the vaccination policy.”

Medical exemptions apply only after review by “a panel including 2 Medical Doctors, a pastor, a member of the General Counsel’s office and an [Archdiocese of Chicago] HR representative.” No appeal is possible after review of the case by the panel.

The policy also states that unvaccinated employees with a medical exemption status “will be required to be tested weekly and submit results of those tests on a central portal,” to be “masked at all times in Archdiocese facilities,” and “may be restricted from use of certain amenities such as eating in lunchrooms etc.”

Though at the time of the announcement, more than 90% of archdiocesan employees and clergy were already vaccinated, cardinal Cupich left no room for “dissidents,” as the policy stresses, “Non-compliance with the provisions of this policy may result in disciplinary action for those individuals.”

This, however, appears to be at odds with the December 2020 note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which, while offering some support for using abortion-tainted vaccines, also states that: “Practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.”

Cupich justified his decision in an email he sent the following day, August 19, to priests and employees of the archdiocese, in which he stated, “We have made this decision convinced that this is the best way to stop the spread of this deadly illness.”

The cardinal also said he was simply “following the lead of Pope Francis” who on August 18 released a video urging everyone to get vaccinated. Echoing the words of the Pope, Cupich described getting vaccinated as “an act of charity.”

In his August 19 email, the cardinal also reiterated his stance on religious exemptions: “Religious exemptions to vaccination cannot be supported by Catholic teaching and I have instructed our pastors not to grant them.”

A subsequent email dated August 20 set out two different policies for time off when employees test positive for COVID-19. While vaccinated employees will receive 10 additional paid sick days to cover quarantine requirements, unvaccinated employees will have to use their own sick days or personal time off.

It is unclear at this stage whether priests who have not complied with this policy and have remained unvaccinated to this day without a medical exemption will see their faculties removed by Cupich or face other types of disciplinary measures.

LifeSiteNews has repeatedly contacted the cardinal’s secretary, the diocesan press office, and the vaccine policy office but was unable to make successful contact with anyone authorized to respond to LifeSite’s questions about the policy.