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TORONTO, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto told all its clergy not to provide exemption letters for COVID-19 injections just days before Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced vaccine passports would be used in the province.

LifeSiteNews’ president has described the archdiocese’s proscription as a “betrayal of the worst kind by cowardly shepherds.” 

The internal memo, seen by LifeSiteNews, was sent by Father Edward J. Curtis, the archdiocesan Chancellor of Spiritual Affairs, dated August 23, and addressed to “All Clergy, All Parishes, All Staff.” 

Curtis revealed that requests for religious or conscience-based exemptions from mandated abortion-tainted COVID injections had been numerous, as “a number of priests have been contacted with a request to provide a letter for parishioners asking for religious exemptions relating to Covid-19 vaccinations.”  

Despite the obviously significant number of exemption requests, Curtis, on behalf of Cardinal Thomas Collins, wrote to tell parishes to oppose such requests as an exercise of “pastoral” ministry.

In responding to these situations in a pastoral manner, I would kindly ask that parishes not provide any letters or related documentation,” stated Curtis. 

Unless there is a medical reason to prevent vaccination, it is considered ethical and morally acceptable to use the available vaccines in the context of a global pandemic,” he continued. 

Referring to statements and actions made both by Toronto’s Cardinal Collins and Pope Francis, Curtis mentioned how both men had “publicly communicated the importance of vaccination as an act of charity and love.” 

He further defended his memo by pointing to the December 2020 note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which, he wrote, “has declared the COVID-19 vaccines to be morally licit and has said they can be used in good conscience.” Such a phrase, while taken from the CDF’s note, is incomplete and without context.

The CDF had added that “[t]he moral duty to avoid such passive material cooperation [with abortion] is not obligatory if there is a grave danger, such as the otherwise uncontainable spread of a serious pathological agent–in this case, the pandemic spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.” 

But others with due competence have come to the opposing conclusion, notably Dr. Michael Yeadon, a former vice-president at Pfizer, who stated that vaccines are not needed at all for this pandemic. Several thousand doctors in Belgium also affirmed that “[i]f 95% of people experience Covid-19 virtually symptom-free, the risk of exposure to an untested vaccine is irresponsible.” And over 57,000 doctors and scientists have affirmed via the Great Barrington Declaration 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.” 

The CDF’s note also stipulates that any vaccination must be “voluntary.” Thus, anyone who determined that he could not in conscience take one of the abortion-tainted injections, would be obliged to refuse the injection, and might have to seek out a religious exemption letter.  

Yet the Toronto archdiocese’s forbidding any such letters leaves those who wish to avoid the COVID injections unsupported by Church hierarchy in Toronto, despite guidance from centers such as the National Catholic Bioethics Center that the “sure judgement” of one’s own conscience regarding the moral liceity of taking any medical intervention “must be obeyed.” 

In response to Curtis’s memo, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s announcement that vaccine passports will be required for “high risk settings,” LifeSiteNews’ president Steve Jalsevac stated: “This letter from the cardinal to his priests is astoundingly uninformed, insensitive, and cruel. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of the more informed Canadian Catholics are desperate for someone to protect them from this diabolical medical tyranny that is closing in on them. Instead, they find constant disappointment and betrayal, with their bishops acting as government health department enforcers, fully accepting all the COVID propaganda and taking the side of the tyrants against them.” 

Jalsevac described the letter as “madness” and an “unjust edict,” stating that “it is betrayal of the worst kind by cowardly shepherds who are allowing the Church’s spiritual mission ordered by Christ Himself to be subjugated to health bureaucrats who have nothing to do with the saving of souls and the giving of sound counsel of a kind that a faithful priest can give.” 

He encouraged Toronto Catholics to urge their priests to resist the letter, which is “based on false or incomplete medical propaganda.” 

Archdiocese of Toronto’s firm adherence to anti-Catholic COVID dictates 

Curtis’s letter is not without precedent or support, as Toronto’s Cardinal Collins has previously expressed firm support for the abortion-tainted injections.  

Speaking at the end of Mass on March 14 to an empty St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto, Collins took the opportunity to promote the experimental vaccines for COVID-19, declaring them to be “one of the signs of hope we’ve been long awaiting for.”  

“We need to vaccinate the population,” Collins stated, adding it was “one of the most important ways in which we will be able to get beyond this nightmare and begin to be able to relate to one another in the way we really need to.”  

Calling it “common sense” to take the injection, the cardinal said it was one of the “most sensible ways in which we can get beyond this pandemic and move on to serve the Lord day by day in ways that we put this behind us.”  

Some months before, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, along with co-signers Cardinal Janis Pujats, Bishop Joseph Strickland, and Archbishops Tomash Peta and Jan Pawel Lenga, had expressed the strong conviction that any use of a vaccine tainted with the “unspeakable crime” of abortion “cannot be acceptable for Catholics” under any circumstances.  

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.’”  

Notwithstanding the moral concerns over the abortion-tainted injections, significant safety concerns remain. Data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that between December 14, 2020 and August 13, 2021 over 600,000 total adverse events were reported to VAERS, including 13,627 deaths. 

Collins has previously issued a strong warning to any priest who dared to distribute Holy Communion on the tongue to worshippers due to concerns about spreading COVID-19.

“I’ve dealt with cases, and I said to a priest, ‘I will shut you down. I will shut you down in a heartbeat!’” he said.

This was in spite of numerous doctors explaining that receiving Communion on the tongue was actually safer than doing so in the hand. A group of Polish doctors wrote a letter last October in which they argued that “from the medical point of view, that the giving of Holy Communion directly in the mouth and in the kneeling position is a decidedly safer and more appropriate method than receiving Holy Communion in the hand and standing.”  

Collins has faced backlash for his adherence to the states restrictions on worship, with an Archdiocesan paper having to answer the question of “Why isn’t the church doing more to push back against these restrictions?” 

LifeSiteNews contacted the Archdiocese of Toronto for comment but has not received a response. 


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Contact information for respectful communications: 

Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archdiocese of Toronto 

1155 Yonge Street 

Toronto, ON, M4T 1W2 

Phone:416-934-0606, ext. 609 

Email: [email protected]