Hierarchy and Catholic Institutions Inconsistent and Incoherent on Vaccine Coercion

The following is a Catholic Action League of Massachusetts news update…

Despite opinions expressed by Pope Francis, Cardinal Sean O’Malley and other prelates, faithful Catholics are not required, by Church teaching or Canon Law, to receive abortion tainted vaccines.

Pro-life Catholics have serious, reasonable, well founded and sincerely held moral and religious objections to the reception of vaccines contaminated by the use of fetal stem cells—obtained through procured abortions—in their production or testing.

The Catholic Action League has learned that Stonehill College, administered by the Holy Cross Fathers, and the College of the Holy Cross, administered  by the Society of Jesus, have been willing to grant religious exemptions from vaccine mandates to pro-life Catholic students. Jesuit controlled Boston College however, still refuses to do so.

Boston College has imposed a mandate on all students, faculty and staff to receive a Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of continuing at the university for the 2021-2022 academic year.

While a university spokesman has stated, in a Boston Herald story on July 13th, that BC will grant religious exemptions to this requirement, it will not do so for Catholics. The standard which BC has contrived is that such exemptions will only be allowed for those for whom vaccination is prohibited by the tenets of their faith.

According to this reasoning, since Pope Francis and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, support vaccinations, Catholics have no grounds for religious exemptions, and are therefore ineligible. From what we have heard, applications for religious exemptions from pro-life Catholics have been met with immediate and automatic denials, sometimes within hours.

On Friday, the Archdiocese of New York ordered diocesan priests not to assist pro-life Catholics seeking religious exemptions from vaccine mandates. In Boston, Catholics seeking exemptions are finding some priests, at least, to be unsympathetic and unresponsive.

This practice however, is discordant with the official position of the doctrinal dicastery of the Holy See.

According to an instruction issued by the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on December 21, 2021, Catholics cannot be forced to receive abortion tainted vaccines.

Disappointingly, the Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines says that the reception of abortion tainted vaccines is “morally acceptable,” if “ethically irreproachable” vaccines are unavailable. This is justified as a matter of “remote“, and “passive material cooperation.”

The document does make clear however, that “At the same time, practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: “In coercing the consciences of pro-life students, Boston College is not only committing an injustice, but is contravening the clear instructions of the Holy See.”

“While BC’s rejection of Catholic teaching is notorious and longstanding, even more disturbing is the apparent support for this policy from the Archdiocese of Boston. In a July 12th Boston Herald story, M.C. Sullivan, the Chief Health Care Ethicist for Cardinal O’Malley, defended Boston College, saying that ‘There’s a positive moral obligation to save lives’ by getting vaccinated.”

“Pro-life Catholics ought to ask Cardinal O’Malley whom he supports in this controversy, Boston College or the Vatican. Does Cardinal Sean believe that pro-life students at BC ought to be, effectively, expelled for following their Catholic conscience? Why won’t he speak about this injustice in Boston the way he spoke out, just last April, about an apparent injustice in Minneapolis?”

There is a Contact Us email box on the archdiocesan website. The telephone number for the RCAB is (617) 254-0100.

M.C. Sullivan’s office telephone number is 617-746-5734.