On Wednesday, Pope Francis released a public service video message encouraging people to get vaccinated against the ongoing and worldwide pandemic COVID-19. The popular pontiff stated wisely, “Being vaccinated with vaccines authorized by the competent authorities is an act of love. And contributing to ensure the majority of people are vaccinated is an act of love. Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable.” Indeed, vaccination for COVID is not so much about protecting self as it is protecting others.
For several months now, Pope Francis has been telling people to get vaccinated, especially because there has been a growing movement of skepticism about COVID vaccinations among religious conservatives in Christianity and other religions as well, just as there is secularly. Roman Catholic officials have even declared it acceptable for Catholics, who strongly oppose abortion, to get vaccinated for COVID with vaccinations made from human cells derived from aborted fetuses. Yet there has been dissent in the Church toward both this issue as well as the broader issue about vaccination mandates.
Moreover, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced this week that it will not support religious exemptions for COVID vaccination imposed by secular government mandates. In doing so, they have joined other U.S. dioceses that have already taken this position, including those in New York City, New York, El Paso, Texas, San Diego, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii. See my post on August 5th, “Religious Exemption from COVID Vaccine Mandates Is Morally Wrong.”