I think this has been important for a while. The vaccine issues have made this even bigger, so I posted it over on FrMatthewLC.com:
We need to distinguish between religious and conscience exceptions. They have been confused in the debate about exemptions from vaccine requirements. I think even a brief examination would find this equivocation faulty. This argument is that due to Catholic teaching on the freedom of conscience, any conscience exemption is a religious exemption. Given that freedom of conscience is most developed in relation to freedom of religion, taking that same principle, one could conclude that a person can get a Catholic religious exemption because the Qur’an says so and they are Muslim. (Obviously, that is faulty, but that shows the logic is faulty.)
It is important to distinguish between conscience and religious exemptions. There are a lot of things that Catholics can believe in conscience but are not based on Church teaching, even a stricter interpretation.
I will begin with an example and a bit on the development of the teaching on conscience then note the relationship with vaccine mandates.
You can read the rest over there.