There is an ongoing debate on whether Catholics should be allowed to have a religious exemption to the Covid vaccine after Pope Francis announced his support for the vaccination efforts, even going as far as to insinuate that getting the vaccine is a Catholic’s moral duty.
After the Secretary of Defense and other military leaders announced on August 24 the vaccine mandate for US Service Members, Catholics in the military wanted to know if the Pope’s approval of the vaccine overrode their moral objection to the aborted fetal cells used in its creation.
In a statement, the Archbishop for the US Military Services sought to answer questions surrounding Catholic religious exemption.
“Some service members have refused to take the vaccine and have requested a religious accommodation through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” said Archbishop Broglio. “This circumstance raises the question of whether the vaccine’s moral permissibility precludes an individual from forming a sincerely held religious belief that receiving the vaccine would violate his conscience.”
Archbishop Broglio said, “It does not.”
Half the US military: pic.twitter.com/xfeM2v08dI
— Sam Sims (@braidedorifice) October 13, 2021
The Archbishop stated that a person’s right to live their life following their conscience should continue to be protected. “Even if an individual’s decision seems erroneous or inconsistent to others, conscience does not lose its dignity,” said Archbishop Broglio.
He said service members who refuse the vaccine are morally obligated to help decrease the spread in other ways, including “remaining open to receiving a treatment should one become available that is not derived from, or tested with abortion-derived cell lines.”
“The denial of religious accommodations, or punitive or adverse personnel actions taken against those who raise earnest, conscience-based objections, would be contrary to federal law and morally reprehensible,” warned the Archbishop.