Cape Cod priest censored for sermons against COVID-19 vaccine
HYANNIS – The Catholic Bishop of Fall River has censored a priest in Hyannis for his sermons and comments against the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a letter read from the pulpit on December 5 by Reverend Michael Fitzpatrick of St. Francis Xavier Church, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha said he had ordered Fitzpatrick “to refrain from speaking publicly or by written about COVID-19 vaccines, any treatment with the vaccine or any preventive measures to prevent transmission of the virus.
“For several months now, many have drawn my attention to the fact that your pastor, Father Michael Fitzpatrick, has spoken out frequently against the COVID-19 vaccine, questioning its effectiveness and questioning its moral legitimacy. This has caused confusion and distress, and in some of the cases may have discouraged some devotees from getting vaccinated against the virus, ”Fitzpatrick read in da Cunha’s letter.
“Continued progress against the COVID-19 pandemic demands that all of us do our part, and for most of us that means getting vaccinated,” da Cunha’s letter reads.
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Pope Francis calls for widespread vaccination
Da Cunha’s support for the vaccine was followed on Monday by Pope Francis’ call for widespread vaccination in all countries and his denunciation of anti-vaccine sentiment “without merit.”
“Vaccines are not a magic cure,” Francis said. “Yet they surely represent, in addition to other treatments which need to be developed, the most reasonable solution for the prevention of the disease.”
Francis’ statement is consistent with Catholic morals and theology that say the faithful should “promote the greater good and the lesser evil,” said Thomas H. Groome, professor of theology and religious education at Boston College .
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Scientific and empirical evidence shows “that vaccines save people’s lives,” Groome said.
“The absence of it has destroyed immeasurable lives. “
Groome said it was irresponsible “if not downright dangerous for the common good” to try to deter people from getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Questioning the safety of COVID vaccines
According to a New Boston Post article by Matt McDonald, during the pandemic, Fitzpatrick questioned the safety of vaccines in addresses to his congregation, saying they were too quick to be tested safely, and said alternative medical treatments have been discontinued.
Fitzpatrick, who also questioned the legitimacy of the November 2020 election, said COVID-19 vaccines were “compromised by the use of fetal stem cells,” according to the New Boston Post article.
According to an article published in August on the Nebraska MD website, COVID-19 vaccines do not contain aborted stem cells.
“Fetal cell lines – cells grown in the laboratory from aborted fetal cells collected generations ago – have been used in testing during mRNA vaccine research and development and during the production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.” , indicates the article.
“The greatest good now is to benefit from the vaccine,” Groome said on Wednesday.
He said devout and traditional Catholics will listen to and respect the teachings of Pope Francis, who speaks for the church.
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Some conservative Catholics have spoken out against Fitzpatrick’s silence.
Patricia Stebbins, of East Sandwich, in a comment on the New Boston Post website, compared silence to bowing to Caesar instead of God.
“My feeling is that we are all born with a God-given free will that empowers us to speak our minds and make informed, calculated decisions on our own,” she told The Times on Wednesday.
“I fully support Father Fitzpatrick in what he said to his parishioners. I believe there are two sides to every problem.
Fall River Diocese spokesperson John Kearns said the diocese is not disclosing da Cunha’s letter to the public and has no comment on the matter.
Fitzpatrick said he couldn’t comment either, but people could take to the church’s YouTube channel to see his addresses.
Kearns said that since December 2020, the Catholic Church has made it clear that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is “in accordance with the Catholic faith and can be done in good conscience.”