A Vigorous Group Discussion Among Equally Committed Orthodox Catholics
From my Facebook page, edited a bit for flow and content. See the entire unabridged discussion there.]
Words of Michael Speyrer will be in blue; those of Charlie Fromm-Starkville in green.
The discussion was kicked off with a meme that stated: “If you have to be persuaded, and reminded, and pressured, and lied to, and incentivized, and coerced, and bullied, and socially shamed, and guilt-tripped, and threatened, and punished and criminalized — if all of this is considered necessary to gain your compliance — you can be absolutely certain that what is being promoted is not in your best interest.”
It isn’t an experimental drug. We know exactly how vaccines work.
And more and more about how they sometimes don’t work, too, and how some create all kinds of health problems.
In conversation with CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert, she said, “It doesn’t make sense to me why the folks at that particular network — which I think we all know who we mean — would want to kill their own viewers. Their viewers are older. Their viewers are more susceptible to COVID and I don’t understand what the point is of killing them.” . . .
“If they’re telling you not to do it, you have to ask yourself why they don’t care about you and you’re their base. Again, the people who are saying this — what is in it for them, for their own people to die?” she asked.
Colbert questioned whether a coffin company is a top sponsor of Fox News, earning some laughs. Watch above, via CBS.
As the nation continues to face a growing problem with vaccine hesitancy, Meghan McCain is pointing to messaging toward Republicans and white evangelicals as part of America’s struggle with ending the pandemic. On this morning’s episode of The View, the conservative co-host said she was “horrified” with “the way people are talking to Republicans,” accusing them of categorizing unvaccinated Americans as “dumb morons in the middle of the country who are going to kill everyone.”*
During a conversation about the nation’s increasingly difficult task of reaching herd immunity, McCain insisted that has no problem with vaccines and received the Covid vaccine herself, but the messaging surrounding the issue is “psychotic.”*“When we were first talking about vaccine hesitancy on this show, a lot of it centered around minority populations who were hesitant because of valid things like the Tuskegee experiment,” McCain began. “The narrative and the feeling coming out was compassion and trying to convince people in a way of empathy that we all need to be in this together, we should all get vaccinated together, and I think it was effective.”*Now, she said, she’s noticed a shift. “The messaging toward evangelicals and Republicans is, ‘You dumb hillbillies, stay the hell away from me,’” McCain argued. “I don’t think there’s any way that’s gonna convince anyone of anything if that’s the messaging that’s coming out of the White House.”*Citing opposite mask mandates in Florida and Brookline, Massachusetts, McCain said “a lot of this feels like it’s more about control than science.” She added, “If the vaccine is 94 percent effective … if the vaccine works, why do we have to wear masks outdoors? Why do we have to wear masks inside? And that’s also part of the messaging problem.”*McCain’s take was a drastic shift from Sunny Hostin‘s comments earlier in the show. Hostin, who lost her in-laws to Covid, suggested a stricter system to enforce vaccinations. In order to reach herd immunity, “We need to shun those that refuse to get vaccinated,” Hostin said, suggesting a “No mask, no entry” policy for businesses or flights. “You don’t get those other liberties that come with immunity,” she said. “You don’t get to infringe on the rights of those who have chosen to protect their fellow citizens.”*
Later in the show, Hostin seemingly shut down McCain’s comments about mask guidelines, saying, “The reason people can’t take off their masks is because the variant is spreading amongst all those Republicans and white evangelicals that are refusing to get vaccinated.” She added, “That’s what the problem is in terms of messaging. It’s not on the left, it’s not on Democrats. It’s on Republican to Republican.”
On Friday evening’s edition of CNN’s Don Lemon Tonight, anchor Don Lemon expressed frustration with Americans who continue to refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19, despite the frightening uptick in infections and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant. “How many people have to die,” Lemon asked, saying “if behavior is idiotic and nonsensical, I think that you need to tell people that their behavior is idiotic and nonsensical.”*
Lemon went on to say ask why so many adults are “believing people on the internet instead of science and experts? Why are they believing Donald Trump, who lies more than he tells the truth on any given day of the week?”
“I’m not going to go on about this forever but I just want to say a thing about the vaccine,” Maddow said. “I feel like there is this discourse in the American media, in the normal media, not in the conservative media. … I feel like there has been a lot of, sort of, patronizing, snobby discussion about people who don’t want to get the vaccine. I will just tell you, I know a lot of people in my personal life, people in my marching order, my peers, people who I love and respect and have a lot in common with who feel oogie or a little reluctant to get the vaccine.”
The late great Charles Krauthammer once wrote, “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.” I would like to update this axiom to 2021. Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are killers.*
Over the last 18 months, the free thinkers who dared question nonsensical masking or lockdowns were labeled everything from selfish grandma killers to ignorant Neanderthals.*Keep in mind, these morally superior name-callers were the same liberals who cheered and celebrated when then-President Donald Trump contracted the coronavirus.*One of former President Barack Obama’s ex-staffers, Zara Rahim, wrote in a since-deleted tweet, “It’s been against my moral identity to tweet this for the past four years but I hope he dies.” . . .*But sure, Republicans are the venom-filled villains. . . .*MSNBC host Joy Reid once tweeted that, “the fact that Pfizer was not part of ‘Operation Warp Speed’ and took no Trump government funding makes me feel better about their vaccine. Just speaking for myself, I wouldn’t go near anything that Trump or his politicized FDA had anything to do with.”*Wow. There is so much disinformation and fear-mongering in that one tweet. Don’t be intimidated by condescending liberals with zero credibility. Their ever-changing opinions are too inconsistent for debate so they have resorted to branding their political opponents as murderers and killers.*
Americans have every right to voice their opinions, no matter how unpopular they may be. No one should not be made to feel guilty for questioning mandatory vaccinations, lockdowns, mask-wearing or social media censorship. Standing up against the intolerant majority does not make someone morally bankrupt or evil. Disagreeing with Jen Psaki and defending freedom does not make you a killer. It just makes you a conservative.
1776 “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.” [Footnote: Gaudium Spes 16.]*
1778 Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescriptions of the divine law:*“Conscience is a law of the mind; yet [Christians] would not grant that it is nothing more; I mean that it was not a dictate, nor conveyed the notion of responsibility, of duty, of a threat and a promise. . . . [Conscience] is a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by his representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.”*[Footnote for citation: John Henry Cardinal Newman, “Letter to the Duke of Norfolk,” V, in Certain Difficulties felt by Anglicans in Catholic Teaching II (London: Longmans Green, 1885), 248.]*1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.” [Footnote: DH 3 § 2.]*1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. . . .*
1800 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.
As workplaces have begun to require COVID-19 vaccinations for employees, some Catholic institutions insist that conscience exemptions are necessary.
*In addition, priests should be allowed to support Catholics who conscientiously refuse COVID-19 vaccines, says one bioethicist.*“It is Catholic doctrine that people’s well-founded conscientious objections are part of their religion,” said Dr. Joseph Meaney, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, in an interview with CNA on Monday. Meaney spoke in support of religious and conscience exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates*“Part of our Catholic doctrine is that you should have to follow your conscience,” he said. “And if your conscience is telling you not to do this, then you’re not doing it not just from your conscience perspective, but also from your religious Catholic belief.”*Some employers have already begun mandating that employees receive COVID-19 vaccines. New York City this week announced it will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for workers and patrons of some businesses, such as gyms, restaurants, and theaters.*The New York archdiocese, meanwhile, has warned priests against granting religious vaccine exemptions for Catholics.*“There is no basis for a priest to issue a religious exemption to the vaccine,” stated a July 30 memo from the archdiocese’s chancellor, John P. Cahill, to all pastors, administrators, and parochial vicars in the archdiocese. The memo was issued several days before the city announced its vaccine mandate.*While recognizing the “discretion” of individuals to either receive or decline a COVID-19 vaccine, the archdiocese’s memo said that priests “should not be active participants to such actions” by granting religious exemptions.*However, priests could “definitely” have a basis to support Catholics’ religious exemptions to vaccine mandates, Meaney told CNA. The National Catholic Bioethics Center has provided a form letter on its website for Catholics seeking to opt out of vaccine mandates for reasons of conscience.“People objecting to this [ethically-tainted vaccines] are doing so from a very sound Catholic basis, and so I think they should get the support of the Church for doing so,” Meaney said.*All three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States have some connection to controversial cell lines derived from elective abortions decades prior. All three vaccines – produced by Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson – were tested with the cell lines. Only one – produced by Johnson & Johnson – was produced directly using the cell lines.*In the 2008 document Dignitas Personae, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith spoke against the use of cell lines derived from elective abortions in vaccines; the document recognized that parents, for serious reasons, could use these vaccines for their children.*Both the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have said that Catholics may validly receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines with connections to abortion-derived cell lines. The USCCB noted that Catholics should seek, if possible, to receive a vaccine with a lesser connection to the cell lines.*However, these statements have not been a flat endorsement of the vaccines, Meaney said.*“To a certain extent, people have taken the statements that have come out – which are all true, that people can discern in conscience to accept the vaccines – to be kind of an endorsement,” he said. “It’s more like a permission,” he said, “it’s a reluctant permission.”*The July 30 memo of the New York archdiocese cited Pope Francis’ call for everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine, warning that priests granting exemptions to vaccine mandates would be “acting in contradiction to the directives of the Pope.”*In a January television interview, the pope said, “I believe that ethically, everyone has to get the vaccine.”*“Pope Francis has made it very clear that it is morally acceptable to take any of the vaccines and said we have the moral responsibility to get vaccinated. Cardinal Dolan has said the same,” the memo stated.*However, the Vatican has been clear that Catholics can conscientiously object to receiving the vaccines, Meaney said.*The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a December 2020 note, stated that “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation,” and “therefore, it must be voluntary.” Such theological notes are reviewed by the pope, Meaney added.*“The Church is saying, for certain individuals, they can in good conscience take it [the vaccine],” he said. For others who discern that they do not want to receive COVID-19 vaccines because of their connection to abortion-derived cell lines, the Church says they can decline to do so, he added.*“In both circumstances,” he said, the Church defends “their right to do so.”*A conscience exemption should not function like a “’get out of jail free’ card,” Meaney cautioned, noting the responsibility of Catholics to form their consciences and make well-founded judgments. Those not receiving vaccines should do “everything in their power to make sure that they’re keeping others safe,” he added.*And part of the Church’s teaching on conscience, he said, is that an individual cannot be coerced into making decisions. When vaccine mandates are issued at workplaces without clear exemptions, this presents a real problem for Catholics trying to make a prudent decision, he said.“The best ethical decision-making is made with all the facts that are available to a person, but also without undue pressure being put upon them,” he said.
*“The thing that’s always very, very problematic is when people’s consciences are being coerced,” he said, noting the “terrible” situation of an individual forced to either receive a vaccine or lose his or her job.
Photo credit: jaci XIII (5-1-16). “Freedom of Conscience”. Created for Rubys Treasure Challenge 63. Texture with thanks to Rubyblossom. Texture by Pareeerica [Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license]
Summary: Vigorous discussion among three Catholics about unvaccinated people & particularly the objection from conscience based on use of aborted babies in vaccination research & implementation.