Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include previous statements by Archbishop Timothy Broglio on the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as an August report which claimed Broglio supported the vaccine mandates.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) –Archbishop of the U.S. military services Timothy Broglio has issued a statement against forcing American service members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, saying that “no one should be forced to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if it would violate the sanctity of his or her conscience.”
In August Catholic News Agency reported that the move to mandate the COVID jabs was supported Broglio, saying that that the military had stressed that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, along with Pope Francis, “had recognized the morality of the vaccine.” In March Broglio released a statement in which he described being vaccinated as “an act of charity to our sisters and brothers.”
But in a statement issued Tuesday, October 12, Broglio said that individuals have a right to refuse vaccination based on religious grounds.
“This circumstance raises the question of whether the vaccine’s moral permissibility precludes an individual from forming a sincerely held religious belief that receiving the vaccine would violate his conscience,” he said, before concluding that “It does not.”
“Accordingly, no one should be forced to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if it would violate the sanctity of his or her conscience,” he said.
Broglio’s statement represents a break with the U.S. military’s handling of religious exemptions so far, as these have been frequently denied in the past.
Broglio began his recent statement by reiterating the stance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on the moral permissibility of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The USCCB Committees on Doctrine and on Pro-Life Activities have stated that it is morally permissible to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations currently available in the United States.”
He insisted that this is consistent with what the Holy See as well as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) have stated on the matter and referred to the Note on the morality of using some anti-covid-19 vaccines, issued by the CDF last December.
Broglio did not mention that many other important figures in the Catholic Church have criticized this approach and have strongly criticized the abortion-tainted COVID vaccines, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, Archbishop Carlo Viganó, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and a number of influential priests, such as Fr. de Cacqueray.
Broglio also referred to recent events which have led to the publication of this new statement, like the vaccine mandate which was imposed on the U.S. military back in August.
“On 24 August 2021, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum directing the mandatory vaccination of all services members against COVID-19,” said Broglio, adding that since the imposition of this mandate, many service members have requested religious exemptions under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993 ensured that the services will allow religious accommodations which have no adverse impact on military readiness, lethality, unit cohesion, and good order and discipline, so that people of faith can choose to join the military, according to Army Medical Services Corp. veteran Pam Long.
Rather than taking the approach of challenging the morality of the vaccines because of their connection to abortion, the archbishop for the military services based most of his argument for religious exemptions on Vatican II and post-Vatican II teaching regarding religious liberty and conscience.
Please SIGN this critical petition which urges the Catholic Church to demand that Big Pharma develop, produce and distribute ethical (non-abortion tainted) COVID vaccines for Catholics...and, anyone else who feels morally obliged to refuse abortion-tainted vaccines!
Over the past 10 months, the Catholic Church's teaching office (the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - CDF) has quietly directed the Catholic faithful to protest against the use of aborted babies in the production or testing of available COVID vaccines in the West -- all of which use aborted fetal cell lines in either their development or testing phase.
Sadly, this direction has been so quiet that almost no-one knows about it.
At the same time, however, the Pope (see below), along with many other senior prelates, has been loudly promoting the uptake of these same unethically-produced vaccines amongst the Catholic faithful with only a whisper of protest.
It's clear that there is a major disconnect in the Church between word and action on this major moral issue.
But, instead of being a follower, the Church should be a leader in this area -- demanding the development of ethical vaccines (and, other ethically-developed products) for Catholics.**
In fact, there are already Catholic scientists, like Dr. Alan Moy, who are working with adult stem cells to help achieve ethical alternatives, but they have received "very little interest" from the Church, to-date.
And, to be fair, some individual bishops, like Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver, Canada, have vocally supported non-abortion tainted vaccines, with Archbishop Miller going so far as to donate towards ethical research.
But, it's time to try again and ask Church leaders in the Vatican and its US counterpart, the USCCB (the Catholic bishops' conference in the United States), to be fully consistent in word and deed on the issue of aborted fetal cell lines used to produce vaccines.
Jews have kosher foods and Muslims have halal foods. And, people from both traditions demand such foods - and, their demands are respected. As an example, please click and scroll down here to see all of the halal certificates which McDonald's needs to operate in Saudi Arabia.
So, certainly the Catholic Church could and should loudly demand that pharmaceutical companies develop and produce ethical vaccines for Catholics.
Indeed, the Church could and should ask the faithful to loudly demand ethical vaccines from Big Pharma (by providing phone numbers and email addresses, for example). And, or, the Church could and should commit to sponsoring the development of pro-life pharmaceuticals.
It should be noted here that the Catholic Church teaches that there is NO moral obligation, whatsoever, to accept a vaccine.
But, regrettably, for those who wish to take an ethically-produced COVID vaccine, even the Church's direction is hard to understand, precisely because it is contradictory.
On the one hand, the CDF says that acceptance of an abortion-tainted vaccine constitutes passive/remote material cooperation in the evil of abortion.
On the other hand the CDF also says that the acceptance of abortion-tainted vaccine is morally permissible when no ethically developed and tested vaccine is available.
At the same, however, the CDF paradoxically says that those who accept an unethical vaccine have the moral obligation to protest against it.
But then...there's the recent video of Pope Francis and other senior bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals promoting the COVID vaccines, without protesting against their gravely immoral development and testing, nor calling on Big Pharma to produce an ethical alternative.
So, where the current slate of COVID vaccines is concerned, the Church is apparently saying that you can cooperate with evil if some good may result...if you have no ethical alternative...but, you have to protest the evil...while participating in it.
And, well, the very people who are telling us to protest the unethical vaccines are, themselves, actually promoting them as, "an act of love."
This kind of contradiction - saying one thing and doing another - is unacceptable because it assumes as normal the situation where only unethical vaccines are available for Catholics.
We are asking the Church to stop this seeming servility towards Big Pharma, and start a loud and active campaign promoting the development and production of ethical vaccines.
Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition urging Pope Francis and other Vatican authorities, as well as USCCB authorities, to loudly demand that Big Pharma develop and produce ethical vaccines for Catholics, untainted by abortion.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'‘Wholly unethical’: US ‘personhood’ org condemns COVID vaccines derived from aborted babies' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/wholly-unethical-us-personhood-org-condemns-covid-vaccines-derived-from-aborted-babies/
'In ‘rupture’ with Church’s ‘absolute opposition’ to abortion, Vatican hosting pro-aborts at pro-COVID jab conference' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/in-rupture-with-churchs-absolute-opposition-to-abortion-vatican-hosting-pro-aborts-at-pro-covid-jab-conference/
'‘I will never comply with evil’: Pro-lifer Abby Johnson on abortion-tainted vaccines' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/i-will-never-comply-with-evil-pro-lifer-abby-johnson-on-abortion-tainted-vaccines/
'Canadian archbishop donates to ethical coronavirus vaccine research' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/canadian-archbishop-donates-to-ethical-coronavirus-vaccine-research/
**Actually, to be fully consistent with the Church's teaching on this issue, the Catholic Church should demand that Catholics be offered an "ethical" choice for every major product, from food to cosmetics, from to clothing to medicine, and beyond.
The statement argued that religious exemptions should be granted on the basis that “individuals possess the ‘civil right not to be hindered in leading their lives in accordance with their consciences,’ even if an individual’s decision seems erroneous,” citing Dignitatis Humanae of Vatican II.
“In all his activity a man is bound to follow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of life. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience, especially in matters religious.”
The document bears striking similarities with the First Amendment, which was also used by Broglio in his endorsement of religious exemptions.
“This belief permeates Catholic moral theology as well as First Amendment jurisprudence,” he said. “As stated by the United States Supreme Court, ‘Religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection.’”
The archbishop concluded that “the denial of religious accommodations, or punitive or adverse personnel actions taken against those who raise earnest, conscience-based objections, would be contrary to federal law and morally reprehensible,” while insisting that “those who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine [should] continue to act in charity for their neighbors and for the common good by undertaking means to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through wearing face coverings, social distancing, undergoing routine testing, quarantining, and remaining open to receiving a treatment should one become available that is not derived from, or tested with abortion-derived cell lines.”
LifeSiteNews has reached out to the archdiocese for the U.S military services, but has not yet received any comment from Broglio regarding his apparent change of position.