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Catholic troops should be allowed to refuse the China Virus vaccines for conscientious reasons, the Archbishop for the Military Services USA announced Thursday.
“No one should be forced to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if it would violate the sanctity of his or her conscience,” wrote Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio.
In the statement, Broglio pointed to concerns surrounding the moral permissibility of the vaccines, citing abortion-related tissues used in development or testing.
“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,” the archbishop wrote.
Broglio previously has supported President Joe Biden’s mandatory vaccination order for U.S. troops, citing the church’s guidance that permits Catholics to receive even vaccines derived from fetal tissue, when no other vaccine option is available, Defense One reported.
“In his new statement, the archbishop said that while he still encourages followers and troops to get vaccinated, some troops have questioned if the church’s permission to get vaccinated outweighed their own conscious objections to it,” the news website stated.
“It does not,” Broglio wrote.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced in late August that vaccines would be mandatory for troops.
Active-duty airmen have until Nov. 2, while reservists have until Dec. 2. The Navy and Marine Corps set a Nov. 28 deadline for active-duty and Dec. 28 for reservists, Military Times reported. The Army deadline is Dec.15 for active-duty members, but Reserve and National Guard forces have until June 30.
“Those who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine must continue to act in charity for their neighbors and for the common good by undertaking means to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through wearing face coverings, social distancing, undergoing routine testing, quarantining, and remaining open to receiving a treatment should one become available that is not derived from, or tested with abortion-derived cell lines.”
The Archdiocese for the Military Services provides services on installations across the globe, claiming responsibility for more than 1.8 million people.