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NEW YORK, NY  (LifeSiteNews) —Though the Catholic Church condemns abortion as an “abominable crime,” the Archdiocese of New York has instructed its priests to refuse to sign religious exemption requests submitted by Catholics who object to using the COVID-19 gene-therapy vaccines despite their being tainted with abortion in their production or testing.

This policy comes on the heels of recent announcements of employer mandates requiring all City of New York employees to submit to the experimental COVID-19 gene-therapy injections as a condition of their employment.

“There is no basis for a priest to issue a religious exemption to the vaccine,” wrote Chancellor John P. Cahill, a layman, in a July 30 memo addressed to pastors, administrators, and parochial vicars.

“Pope Francis has made it very clear that it is morally acceptable to take any of the vaccines and said we have the moral responsibility to get vaccinated. Cardinal Dolan has said the same.”  

Cahill went on to assert that, by providing such an exemption, a priest would be “acting in contradiction to the directives of the Pope.”   

In a January television interview, Pope Francis said, “I believe that, ethically, everyone has to get the vaccine. It is an ethical option because it concerns your life but also that of others.”

However, this was not a directive but the pontiff’s personal opinion, qualified with the expression “I believe.”

Eric Sammons, the editor-in-chief of Crisis magazine, stated in a tweet that Pope Francis‘ remark was informal, having “no magisterial standing” and thus could hardly be considered a “directive.”

Cahill also cited a doctrinal note issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) last December which affirmed that one may morally cooperate in the evil of abortion through the reception of the abortion-tainted injections, but only under specific limited circumstances, including the presence of an actual “grave danger.”

Meanwhile, the CDF explicitly affirms that “[t]he moral duty to avoid such passive material cooperation [with the evil of abortion] is not obligatory if there is a grave danger.” The document goes on to state that such a grave danger presently exists in “the pandemic spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.” The authors do not attempt to explain how the Church has the competence to make that determination, however.

Some experts have come to the opposite conclusion: that vaccines are not needed at all for this pandemic, which they say is effectively “over.” Several thousand doctors in Belgium have stated that “[i]f 95% of people experience Covid-19 virtually symptom-free, the risk of exposure to an untested vaccine is irresponsible.” In addition, over 58,000 medical professionals affirm that due to the relatively mild danger of COVID-19 to the vast majority of the population, “those who are at minimal risk” should be permitted “to live their lives normally [and] build up [herd] immunity to the virus” without any need for vaccines.

With the average age of death from COVID-19 being higher than that of the general population, along with very high survivability rates—better than influenza for those under 70 years of age— one priest has asked how there can “even be conceived a justifying cause for using such dangerous or abortion-tainted products.”

Contrary to Cahill’s assertion that “we have a moral responsibility to get vaccinated,” the CDF has affirmed that “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation” and “therefore, it must be voluntary.”

The left-leaning Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) affirms that the hard coercive effect of mandates even violates natural moral principles. 

“Meaningful consent is required for voluntariness to be genuine, and coerced consent doesn’t meet that threshold,” the CCLA privacy director Brenda McPhail wrote last December. 

That same month, Dr. Joseph Meaney of the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC)  stated that “coercive measures requiring persons” to receive these injections are “ethically unacceptable.

A joint statement released this March by the Catholic Medical Association and three other Christian medical groups affirmed, “There is no justifiable moral obligation to accept vaccination. If a vaccine has been developed, tested, or produced with technology that an individual deems morally unacceptable, such as the use of abortion-derived fetal cell lines, vaccine refusal is morally acceptable. 

“An individual’s decision to be vaccinated will also depend upon their personal assessment of the medical risks, a choice that should be respected,” the medical associations said.

Fortunately, the affirmation of a priest for a Catholic’s religious exemption is apparently not necessary under the law. 

“Legally you don’t need a priest to give you permission,” stated Gualberto Garcia Jones, the attorney who serves as LifeSiteNews’ vice president. 

“Religious conscience is a personal right, and the government cannot get, and courts have not gotten, into the business of policing faith-based objections.”

Preempting invasive  inquiries into the religious beliefs of employees for the purpose of scrutinizing the validity of vaccine exemption requests, Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom tweeted, “Employers are not the arbiter of the validity of their employees’ religious beliefs. @AllianceDefends is watching closely and will continue to protect First Amendment freedoms.”

Meanwhile, data released last Friday from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) VAERS system reported 518,770 total adverse events in the United States following injections of experimental COVID-19 gene therapy vaccines. They included 11,940 deaths and 63,102 serious injuries between Dec. 14, 2020, and July 23, 2021. 

These figures are based on voluntary reports submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS);  the well-known 2010 Harvard Pilgrim study found that under 1% of adverse effects from vaccines are actually reported to VAERS.

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here. 


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