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An Open Letter to our Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops 

Your Eminencies, Excellencies, Graces:  

This past year-and-a-half has been like none other in any of our lives. While our parents and grandparents knew firsthand the terror of war or the deprivation of the Great Depression, we’ve largely been spared, able to carve out our own existence in relative peace and equanimity. Even life-shattering events like 9/11 have been largely forgotten in this, the 20th year since the Twin Towers fell.   

How could that be? The largely silent commemoration of that event just two weeks ago is bone chilling in the grand scheme of things because it is a microcosm of the apathy which has overtaken us. We promised we’d never forget. But we did. 

I grew up in New York at a time when we had a large immigrant Jewish population. Many of us lived alongside the survivors and families of the worst genocide imaginable – the Holocaust. As a young married woman working in Manhattan, I didn’t think it unusual to see straphangers on the subway with numbers tattooed on the inside of their forearm, signifying they’d been prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp. We couldn’t understand how people could look the other way, refusing to save neighbors. We called them cowards.   

As the Ordinaries of your Dioceses, you are being called on to make a definitive statement in this time which could be just as pivotal in history as the Holocaust. People are being held hostage to ideologies which are costing lives. As I’m sure you know, some Bishops have declared their employees must be vaccinated or lose their job, and some have gone so far as to forbid their priests from granting the religious exemption their parishioners otherwise would be legally able to claim under the Free-Exercise Clause of the Constitution of the United States.  

Conversely, I believe there are a small handful of Bishops who have not mandated a one-size-fits-all compliance, but have allowed their Flock the right to follow their conscience. The Bishops of Colorado have gone so far as to provide a template letter they can print and bring to their pastor for his signature.   

The Colorado Bishops make a clear argument for their position, stating, in part: The Catholic Church teaches that a person may be required to refuse a medical intervention, including a vaccination, if his or her conscience comes to this judgment.” They then cite several published papers from established Catholic institutions including the Catechism, which says: “A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself…” (#1790 CCC). 

It can be debated ad infinitum whether a person’s right to refuse a medical intervention such as a vaccine should be allowed based solely on the use – no matter how remote – of material derived from an aborted baby. My greater concern is the shocking realization that we are no longer able to say definitively that we are a Country of Laws, protected by the Constitution. This should scare every American as we are the only country in the world founded upon the principle that our laws protect everyone equally, without exception.   

There is quite literally nothing that justifies segregating people based on their decision to forego an injection which carries the potential for death or lifelong disability. Refusing to treat citizens unequally was one of the biggest decisions to come out of the Nuremberg trials, and it has been held up as the only just solution in honor of the millions of people killed in the Holocaust. The promise that demonizing an entire group of people would never happen again should be a Sacred Trust we could never allow to be abrogated.   

In a recent 45-minute interview with German Attorney Reiner Fuellmich, Vera Sherav, President of the Alliance for Human Research Protection” said, in part:   

As a child survivor of the Nazi Reign of Terror I learned indelible lessons about the nature of evil.  I know the consequences of being stigmatized and demonized as [a] ‘spreader of disease’. …To segregate Jews, exclusionary laws barred the family from normal life. From attending ordinary activities. Our property was impounded. We were forbidden to participate in all educational, cultural and religious gatherings. Travel was forbidden for Jews, so there was no escape. … Under the Nazi regime, moral norms were systematically obliterated. The medical profession and institutions were radically transformed. Academic science, the military, industry and clinical medicine were tightly interwoven, as they are now. The Nazi system destroyed a social conscience in the name of public health. Violations against individuals and classes of human beings were institutionalized. … [The] German medical profession and institutions were perverted. Coercive public health policies violated individual civil and human rights. Criminal methods were used to enforce policies. Nazi propaganda used fear of infectious epidemics to demonize Jews as spreaders of disease. [Emphasis added.]

What she described made me cringe, for we see similar things happening today. What has happened to our laws? Why aren’t they protecting us? Who is protecting us? 

Regardless of where you stand on the vaccine debate, threatening to take away someone’s livelihood, preventing them from being able to ride public transportation or preventing them from going to school because they have chosen not to get the vaccine is a reminder of what Vera Sherav experienced as a child at the hands of the Nazi regime. It is unfathomable that we are unable to find leaders willing to put a stop to this. 

The first sentence in the first declaration of the Nuremberg Code is as follows: “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.” The next sentence goes on to explicitly state that the person should be able to freely choose, without any element of force, duress or coercion. (“Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10”, Vol. 2, pp. 181-182. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949.)  True voluntary consent can’t happen when only favorable information is permitted to be heard and all opposition is censured.  Those who try to present conflicting facts are vilified and marginalized, no matter how strong their credentials.   

Vera also said: “Fear and propaganda were the psychological weapons the Nazis used to impose a genocidal regime.  And today some are beginning to understand why the German people didn’t rise up.  Fear kept them from doing the right thing.”  

When Americans first found out about Holocaust, it was easy to condemn those who had looked the other way when good people were carted off in cattle cars. They pretended not to know because it was easier. We are ignoring the obvious today for the same reason; it’s easier to be ignorant.   

Child psychologists say our children and grandchildren may never fully recover from the trauma of being told they could kill their teachers or grandparents if they don’t wear masks. What are we doing to them? How can we dare to leave them with this legacy? Why wouldn’t they despise us for refusing to protect them? 

Threats have reached a crescendo as politicians insist that everyone should have vaccine passports and non-vaccinated people should be forbidden to attend school or ride busses. These measures are reminders of the segregation we rightfully condemned. Only a year ago these directives would have been considered unconscionable, but the relentless pressure has caused the fearful to cave and the rest of us to fear for our safety. We don’t mean safety from the virus, but safety from a tyrannical government hell-bent on forcing us against our will until we comply. To our shock and horror, our own Bishops appear to be willing accomplices in this nightmare. 

How can we stand by when employers are saying they will fire anyone who doesn’t get the vaccine?  That is explicit coercion, and nobody in authority seems to blink an eye.  As Vera Sherav said, “The Nazi system destroyed a social conscience in the name of public health.” What will we say destroyed our conscience? 

I know this is the most discussed topic in all the venues I attend, and I guarantee you that the same holds true in every single Diocese or Archdiocese in this country. People are terrified, for they don’t see their Spiritual Leaders take the Godly leadership role as tyranny rears its ugly head. As Ordinaries, you are largely sheltered from our fear by your Chanceries. Nobody can believe this is happening in America. Yet, on so many levels, you seem impervious to our plight. Why is that? What happened to Pope Francis’ admonition to “smell like the Sheep”? 

How could our religious leaders collectively look the other way and allow anything like this to happen again? All of you innocently stepped back and agreed to implement restrictive procedures last year because everyone was working from the premise that this outbreak was similar to the 1918 Spanish Flu, which killed millions. Instead, it was comparable to the yearly Influenza virus in lethality. A lockdown meant to last two weeks has never really let up and instead has morphed into various restrictions based on local politics. Tens of thousands of businesses were forced to close, thereby destroying the dreams and livelihoods of so many small business owners and their loyal employees. Suicides were up an estimated 300% in 2020. Only God knows what that number will be in 2021. 

We can’t continue to be silent when medical bureaucrats or totalitarian politicians continue to drive a wedge between citizens by deliberately pitting the vaccinated against the unvaccinated based on misleading and incomplete data. Natural immunity from recovery of a virus has always been the Gold Standard, and yet with Covid that’s no longer true? Why must every single person be vaccinated?  The complete lack of a logical response from all the 3-letter organizations should make every one of you nervous. The VAERS report, put out weekly by the CDC, shows horrific side effects and thousands of deaths as a result of the vaccine rollout which began in January.   

We are now hearing terrifying stories of families who, once a family member is hospitalized, are told they cannot change their loved one’s physician or the hospital-directed medical protocols. The patient’s Power of Attorney is ignored, they are held against their wishes, their family is told there is no hope, and they die alone. The hospital then calls it a COVID death. How can this happen in America?   

Why is this information being hidden from the public? What have we done by not insisting on seeing actual medical data? Where is the actual data from the vaccine trials—not just the talking points? Why are our leaders afraid to speak up or ferret out answers using the time-honored Socratic Method so richly taught in our Catholic schools to discern truth from falsehoods?  What happened to plain old common sense?  

We are literally being forced to live a nightmare of non-stop propaganda that creates cycle after cycle of panic in our communities. As each nightmare dies down or is shot down, there’s a new one ready to become headline news within hours. It is as though there’s a script somewhere and everyone must walk in lockstep with the hidden authorities behind the curtain. Fear paralyzes good people, and reality becomes clear mainly in hindsight.    

We are all at a crossroads in our lives. Each one of us is being forced to make decisions we never thought would cross our doorstep. History has not judged kindly those who stood by idly when they could have done something. Those who are remembered are the ones who stood up and protected those who could not protect themselves. There’s a reason why we remember names like Corrie Ten Boom and Rosa Parks. Or Maximilian Kolbe and Mother Teresa. They did the hard thing when it literally meant risking their lives.   

Where are those who will courageously stand up and protect the innocent today? Who will lead us? Every single one of us will have to stand before God and give an accounting for the people we helped – as well as those we could have helped, but didn’t. 

Please, Bishops, do what you can to stop the government overreach which threatens to take away our freedoms.  Please fight to uphold the laws which protect EVERY American’s right to freely and fully examine their conscience and make their own decision regarding their medical care.  It’s not only written into our Constitution, but medical coercion is clearly against the international Nuremberg Code.  A Code where humanity collectively promised: Never Again!   

As the primary Spiritual Leaders in our country, Catholic Bishops need to be sure they are not complicit by their silence, looking the other way and thereby giving our government permission to obliterate the middle class.   

Claire Barrett, an author with HistoryNet.com wrote: “There is complicity in silence. Martin Niemöller, a prominent Lutheran pastor in Germany famously wrote, ‘First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.’”  I learned that quote in high school, and I’d like to bet quite a few of you learned it at the same time in your lives.   

A video that has been making the rounds lately hits this same note.  I understand it’s a true story.  It’s only about 11 minutes long, and I hope you take the time to watch it. It’s called: Sing a Little Louder.” 

Collectively, our Bishops in America have the ability to turn this ship around simply by giving full-throated support to the directives already laid out in the USCCB’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.  As the Colorado Bishops said, “… a Catholic might refuse a vaccine based on the Church’s teachings concerning therapeutic proportionality. Therapeutic proportionality is an assessment of whether the benefits of a medical intervention outweigh the undesirable side-effects and burdens in light of the integral good of the person, including spiritual, psychological, and bodily good.”  (USCCB, Ethical and religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, 6th ed., nn. 32-33; nn. 56-57; Part Three; Introduction, para. 2; Part Five, Introduction, para. 3)  Knowing the side effects is crucial in order to exercise free will, and yet that is being obfuscated. Why? 

There is no excuse for the tyranny which would make a person choose to take a vaccine against their will in order to feed their family. Even worse, it is a sick society indeed which would allow some authority figures to step in and decide whether a sick person lives or dies based solely on a preferred protocol.   

Why would our Spiritual Leaders look the other way and permit the government to continue their ever-tightening stranglehold on our country, ignoring the inalienable rights enshrined in our Constitution?  It makes no sense. An extremely apropos statement made by Benjamin Franklin comes to mind: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

There has been much handwringing by you Bishops over the fact that so many Catholics have left the Church and have lost their belief in the True Presence. It is crossroads like this which have been the cause. You refused to lead boldly and protect your Sheep during the clergy-abuse crisis, preferring instead to protect your assets. We are at a similar crossroads now, and you quibble over semantics, refusing to show leadership. You have yet to understand that you cannot expect us to stand up and defend you when you have repeatedly refused to stand up and protect us from the wolves which tear apart our families by any means they can dream up. Year over year the atrocities pile up – not just with vaccines but on every single cultural front. And yet you are silent. 

God is fair and just, but He is not blind. Not one of us will be allowed to say we didn’t know, and as His chosen representatives here on earth, you will be held to an even higher standard than we will. Thousands of us are trying mightily to do our part so that we can tell our grandchildren that we didn’t cower in the face of threats.    

Please, Bishops, we are at a critical juncture in world history. Stand up for the rights of all people, and not just Catholics. We must collectively pull our country back from the precipice of government overreach for a virus which has better than a 98% survival rate. Otherwise, we will be ashamed of the legacy we leave to our grandchildren and forever regret our choice when we stand before God on our personal day of Judgment.   

In devout surrender to God’s Holy Will, 

A Sheep in your Fold