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U.S. Military Services Archbishop Timothy Broglio issued a statement Tuesday saying that while vaccination is “morally permissible” according to the Conference of Catholic Bishops, American Catholic troops should be allowed to refuse vaccination if they prefer and that vaccination should not be mandatory.
Broglio encouraged troops to receive the vaccine, but acknowledged that some people have questioned whether the church’s position encouraging the shot “precludes an individual from forming a sincerely held religious belief that receiving the vaccine would violate his conscience.”
In response, Broglio’s statement is succinct: “It does not.”
As he explains in his statement, “the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were tested using an abortion derived cell line,” so their use is considered “remote material cooperation with evil.” However, the archbishop clarifies that this link “is never sinful.”
“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith examined these moral concerns
and judged that receiving these vaccines “does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion,” and is therefore not sinful,” reads the text.
The archbishop says that the human conscience is “the most secret core and sanctuary of a man,” and therefore “no one should be forced to receive a Covid-19 vaccine if it violates the sanctity of his or her conscience.”
In addition, the text indicates that any punishment imposed “against those who raise earnest, conscience-based objections, would be contrary to federal law and morally reprehensible.”
The Pentagon ordered mandatory vaccination for troops in August. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at the time that “on the active-duty force, 68 % is fully vaccinated, and we estimate just over 76% have at least one dose.”