MANATÍ, Puerto Rico (LifeSiteNews) – An unvaccinated Catholic man was turned away from Mass on Christmas Eve in Puerto Rico due to his vaccine status, prompting an investigation by his local diocese.
The man, a parishioner in the town of Manatí in the Diocese of Arecibo, gave his testimony in a video streamed by Nueva Vida 97.7 FM, a Puerto Rican media station.
“I have been denied entry here in my chapel, the chapel in Barrio Cantito in Manatí,” the man said. “The priest told me that I could not enter because I do not have vaccination. The Antichrist is already manifesting, we can clearly see … people do not understand why these things have been allowed.”
“Not letting people enter into the House of the Lord! The same priest told me, ‘You can’t come in.’ It is very sad, but I am at peace, because I know that the Lord is with me. I will not be in my community,” he continued. “I will have to attend another community.”
“They are celebrating Mass and I can’t go in because I don’t have the jab.”
Fieles a la Verdad, a Puerto Rican Catholic organization, condemned the incident in an interview with LifeSiteNews, saying that any priest who denies the Holy Mass and Sacraments to parishioners for trivial reasons “is clearly not fulfilling his vocation, hence failing his flock and the Church.” It lamented the fact that “many priests are now prioritizing physical over spiritual health, social justice over human dignity.”
“Even if the real motive of the priest was the protection of the parishioners, it is untenable.” The survival rate for coronavirus has been estimated at no lower than 99.7 percent for all age groups under 60 years old. COVID is difficult to catch from an asymptomatic person. A vaccinated person can also transmit COVID. Therefore, “it is both discriminatory and ineffective to exclude the unvaccinated from Mass,” Fieles a la Verdad stated.
All COVID vaccines available in the United States heavily relied on cell lines derived from aborted babies in development, testing, or both, sparking outrage among many people whose religious convictions prohibit them from complicity in abortion.
“Just as the Nazis used the skin of their Jewish victims to manufacture lampshades, modern medicine uses the cell lines and organs of aborted babies for the research, development, and manufacture of both vaccines and medicines,” Fieles a la Verdad continued. “A priest who insists that his parishioners use vaccines which are tainted in this way is involving them in cooperation with evil, however remote, and is failing to educate them concerning this important ethical issue.”
The Diocese of Arecibo told LifeSiteNews in a statement that it does not have a policy allowing pastors to turn away unvaccinated people from Mass. A spokeswoman confirmed that the Diocese is investigating the incident.
Arecibo Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres has supported conscience objections to the abortion-tainted, experimental COVID vaccines and spoken out against vaccine mandates, writing in an August letter that “it is possible for a faithful Catholic” to reject coronavirus vaccination.
“We remember that the value and defense of life, as well as the seriousness of the sin of abortion, are part of our religious beliefs as Catholics,” he wrote. “We are also obliged to remember that, following the moral doctrine of the Church, in the face of difficult, sudden and morally disputed cases, shepherds of souls should not impose univocal solutions, but rather, following Saint Alphonsus, we should leave each to act according to his right conscience.”
The Bishop also authorized priests to sign religious exemption letters for vaccination requirements.
Bishop Fernández’s approach reflects that of several other Church leaders, including the bishops of Colorado and South Dakota. “The novelty of the SARS-CoV-2 and of the technologies for eliciting an immune response to prevent or mitigate COVID-19 leave several medical questions unanswered,” the National Catholic Bioethics Center has likewise noted. “Only time and careful study of the virus and benefits and adverse effects of the vaccines will provide the answers many persons need to give free and informed consent.”
The six other bishops of Puerto Rico, however, have adopted notably draconian COVID restrictions, announcing last summer that all priests would need to get vaccinated to remain in public ministry and that parishioners would be segregated at Mass based on their vaccine status. They additionally dissuaded receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.
Puerto Rico has for months imposed some of the strictest public health measures in the U.S. Last summer, the Puerto Rican Department of Health ordered all students, teachers, and school staff to provide proof of vaccination ahead of the fall semester. Subsequent orders by left-wing Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, a Democrat, required government employees and workers at businesses with over 50 employees to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. He also mandated COVID vaccination for children as young as five years old to attend in-person classes, as well as the booster for all education and health employees. In addition, Pierluisi restricted religious exemptions.
Puerto Rico bishop supports conscience objections to COVID vaccines, allows priests to sign exemptions
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