COVID-19 PARISH UPDATES
Last Revised August 10, 2021
Masks are not required on the campus of St. Thomas More.
For those that wish to use a mask, disposable masks are available at the center
entrance to church.
Hand sanitizer is available at all entrances to the Church and Newman Center.
Those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are asked to refrain from coming to Mass and other parish activities at this time.
Catholic Falcon events that take place on the BGSU campus (that is, not at St. Thomas More) will follow all University policies regarding COVID-19.
PASTOR'S STATEMENT ON COVID-19 VACCINE
I would like to take this opportunity to hand on and explain some moral teachings
regarding the COVID-19 vaccines. Many people have expressed concern about two
moral questions in particular, and the Magisterium of the Church has addressed these very concerns.
First, some are rightly concerned about the morality of receiving the current vaccines due to the use, either in the actual production (in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) or in the testing phases (in the case of Pfizer and Moderna), of cell lines derived from tissues of one or more aborted babies.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has been the Holy Father’s arm for defending the truth in matters of faith and morals from all heresy or corruption since 1542 AD, has given an official answer to this question. They state that in this case, “all vaccinations recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive” (emphasis in the original). This statement was prepared by the Congregation and ordered to be published by the Supreme Pontiff. This kind of question is precisely why the Lord entrusted the Keys to Peter and His Successors. For those who, while accepting the Magisterial Teaching of the Church on this matter, still wish to understand better the reasoning behind this teaching, The National Catholic Bioethics Center provides a number of resources which go into detail about the morality of these vaccines. I encourage you to read more at the ncbcenter.org.
Secondly, some are rightly concerned as to whether or not there is a moral Imperative that would require the faithful to receive a vaccine. This is especially timely amidst much national conversation regarding vaccine passports and other mandates.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in that same statement, noted that “practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.” A Catholic in good conscience may choose not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for any number of reasons. Moreover, a person is bound to follow their well-formed conscience and must not be compelled by authority or coercion to act against their conscience. “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...” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1782). Vaccine mandates, especially those initiated by civil authorities, would violate the imperative to follow a well formed conscience.
To summarize, the Holy See has stated quite clearly that a Catholic in good
conscience is permitted to receive any of the currently available COVID-19
vaccines but is not required to do so.
I hope this assists you in forming your conscience well regarding your own medical
decisions, as well as helping you to respect the decisions made by others in this matter where one enjoys moral freedom to accept or reject a vaccine.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
P.S. Despite the fact that connection to the sin of abortion is so remote that it does not affect the morality of the current vaccines, it is a grave travesty that abortion has anything at all to do with healthcare. The US Bishops have urged everyone concerned for the sanctity of life to vocalize their objection to any use whatsoever of cells which have been derived from abortion and to advocate for the development of vaccines with no connection to abortion, however remote it may be. Sample letters to send to the pharmaceutical companies involved can be found at https://tinyurl.com/vaxletter