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VATICAN CITY, February 22, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican has ordered all journalists accompanying Pope Francis on his upcoming trip to Iraq to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to be allowed to join the Pope, despite outstanding moral and health concerns regarding the injections.

The visit, which will take place from March 5 to 8, will be the first international Apostolic Journey undertaken by Francis since his visit to Thailand and Japan in November 2019.

In a missive sent out from the Holy See Press Office to journalists looking to join the Pope on his trip to Iraq, mandatory vaccination was stipulated as a prerequisite for travel. Section 3 of the document contained the “Prescriptions and health advice,” repeating the stipulation that journalists must wear “personal protective equipment (surgical or FFP2/FFP3 type face mask) in every occasion in which there may be contact with at least one other person and a safe distance of at least one metre is not guaranteed.” (The full section is reproduced below.)

Going further than this, the Vatican decreed that in order for journalists to present themselves for the journey, “it is necessary to have undergone the vaccination against COVID-19 within the appropriate time.”

Should a journalist be unable to receive the vaccine in his home country, he is ordered to contact the Vatican and request a vaccination. Both doses of the vaccines would then be administered before the trip commences. Vaccine certificates are required as proof of the injection.

Furthermore, the vaccine mandate seems to extend not just to journalists who accompany the Pope on his flight, but to all those who “participate in the Apostolic Journey,” regardless of at what stage or how closely they join him.

All journalists have been told to comply with the relevant national mandates for COVID testing regarding air travel, regardless of having received both doses of the vaccine. “At present, despite vaccination, health regulations make it compulsory to undergo a PCR test before every international departure.” Should a member of the press test positive for COVID-19 at any stage, they would not be able to participate in any future part of the remaining trip.

If a press member was to test positive in Iraq, he would be subject to the period of “sanitary surveillance” in Iraq, covering his own costs for the quarantine and health precautions taken.

The decree, issued January 20, is ground-breaking in its kind, and signals the great faith and importance which Pope Francis appears to place in the abortion-tainted vaccines.

Nor does it stand alone, for in recent days further evidence emerged, revealing the extent to which the Vatican is enforcing vaccines.

The Vatican City State issued a decree in early February, calling the reception of the experimental vaccine a duty in maintaining the public health, and essentially threatened Vatican employees with the loss of their job, if they refused the vaccine. As LifeSite’s Jeanne Smits reported: “[T]he text also implies that workers who refuse the vaccine without ‘proven reasons of health’ and who are in a position to pose a risk to other ‘citizens, residents, workers and the work community’ may not receive another task and payment. In other words, they would lose their job and income.”

After the news caused strong backlash, the governor of the Vatican City State, Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, was forced to issue a response to his own directive.

He said that those who simply refused the experimental vaccine would be allowed “to find alternative solutions for the performance of work by the person concerned.” Smits described the “torturous” note as “damage control,” commenting that despite his note, the original decree “did not provide for anything of the sort. It only said that alternative tasks would be found for workers who ‘for proven reasons of health’ could not receive the jab.”

Francis himself has compared taking such COVID vaccines to a moral duty, stating: “I believe that, ethically, everyone should take the vaccine.” Along with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Francis was one of the first to receive the vaccine, when injections began in the Vatican in January.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has also issued a note, echoing liberal bishops around the world, stating that under limited circumstances, one may cooperate with the evil of abortion by taking the abortion-tainted COVID vaccines.

While the Pope, the Vatican, and Bertello are clearly very much in favor of using the experimental and abortion-tainted vaccines, moral questions remain.

Biologist Pamela Acker has previously detailed how the babies involved in the development and production of such vaccines, were still alive at the time their tissue was extracted. “The babies are still alive when the researchers start extracting the tissue; to the point where their heart is still beating, and they’re generally not given any anesthetic, because that would disrupt the cells that the researchers are trying to extract.”

Additionally, in a paper released on December 12, 2020, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, along with co-signers Cardinal Janis Pujats, Bishop Joseph Strickland, and Archbishops Tomash Peta and Jan Pawel Lenga, expressed their strong conviction that any use of a vaccine tainted with the “unspeakable crime” of abortion, under any circumstances, “cannot be acceptable for Catholics.”

The prelates pointed to the contradiction between Catholic doctrine, which teaches that abortion is “a grave moral evil that cries out to heaven for vengeance,” and the commonly found view that abortion-connected vaccines are permitted in “exceptional cases of ‘urgent need.’”

“To argue that such vaccines can be morally licit if there is no alternative is in itself contradictory and cannot be acceptable for Catholics,” the letter read.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, has previously spoken out against vaccines using aborted babies, saying “it must be clear that it is never morally justified to develop a vaccine through the use of the cell lines of aborted fetuses. The thought of the introduction of such a vaccine into one’s body is rightly abhorrent.”

In addition to the moral concerns about such vaccines, there are troubling questions regarding the physical safety of the injections, as numerous reports from around the globe are documenting unexpected deaths, shortly after people receive COVID-19 vaccines. Not only that, but a warning issued about Pfizer’s vaccine stipulated that pregnancy should be avoided for two months after the injection, and breastfeeding and pregnant women should not take it. The paper also revealed that there was no knowledge about what impact the injection could have upon fertility.

Full section of the Vatican decree to journalists accompanying the Pope on his trip to Iraq:

3.2 Due to the current pandemic situation, it will be necessary to wear personal protective equipment (surgical or FFP2/FFP3 type face mask) in every occasion in which there may be contact with at least one other person and a safe distance of at least one metre is not guaranteed.

3.3 Since some unforeseen situations beyond the control of the trip organization may make it difficult to respect the necessary measures of personal protection from COVID-19, especially with regard to social distancing, in order to participate in the Apostolic Journey of the Holy Father Francis in Iraq it is necessary to have undergone the vaccination against COVID- 19 within the appropriate time.

3.4 If the vaccination has already been provided for in time in their country of residence, journalists admitted to the Papal Flight must send a copy of the relevant vaccination certificate, certifying its effectiveness as of 1 March 2021, to [email protected].

3.5 If the vaccination is not provided for, or has not be administered in time, in their country of residence, journalists admitted to the Papal Flight must include a request to receive the vaccination in their letter of application to the Papal Flight.

3.6 For journalists admitted to the Papal Flight who request it, the vaccine will be administered according to a vaccination schedule which will be communicated at a later date. For organizational purposes only, the first vaccination will be administered in early February and the booster in the last week of the same month.

3.7 With regard to health prescriptions upon return to Italy or your country of residence (quarantine periods, communications to the relevant health authorities, etc.), please refer to the regulations in force at the time of return.

3.8 At present, despite vaccination, health regulations make it compulsory to undergo a PCR test before every international departure. In the unlikely event that the journalists admitted to the Papal Flight, although vaccinated, receive a positive result in the prescribed PCR tests before departure from Rome, they will not be able to participate in the trip and will have to bear the costs of the penalties for the hotel in Iraq and the air ticket. In the event of a positive result to the prescribed PCR tests prior to departure from Iraq, the journalists will not be admitted to the return flight and will have to face the periods of sanitary surveillance in the country, in accordance with the provisions made by the competent authorities, covering costs necessary for the stay and the sanitary expenses.