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Letter from Our Pastor
I’m about to enter into controversial territory, so read at your own discretion!
I wish to give you an update regarding the safety precautions and restrictions that have been put in place to try to keep everyone safe from the Covid-19 virus. First, you should know that the parish is compelled to follow the guidelines and rules as set down by local authorities, as well as the Bishop. Currently, guidelines are promulgated on a local level. The Mayor of Danbury has mandated mask wearing, whether a person is vaccinated or unvaccinated, in indoor public spaces until further notice. That most surely applies to us, a public gathering space. While I have heard the argument that the mandate should not apply because we are ‘private property,’ I do not buy that argument. We have open doors to the public for any service; we are a public space!
Why is the mask mandate local, emanating from the Office of the Mayor? Why not some statewide mandate from the Governor? Because different areas of the state have different viral loads. Places where the viral load is heavier, especially with the Delta Variant, are more likely to mandate masks. Danbury has done so, as has Stamford and Norwalk, amongst others.
I have received some negative feedback for my decision to comply with the City mandate. While I understand that there may be differences of opinion, still, I intend to comply with current regulations and will do so until new regulations are released. I will keep you informed as to any changes that occur.
Next, I have received very comprehensive guidelines from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops regarding the morality issues inherent to the current crisis. I want to emphasize that all Catholics must properly inform their consciences to the best of their ability, and must act in accordance with what their conscience compels them to do. Thus, it is improper to mandate, that is, order a person with a moral scruple against the vaccine to be compelled to receive it. It is true that in some instances a mandate has been put in place in some parts of the country, but again, the individual must follow his or her conscience in deciding what to do. Some have been told that should they not agree to vaccination, they will lose their jobs. While I would not want to be put in their place, still, they remain morally compelled to follow their own properly-informed conscience.
Regarding the morality of taking the vaccine with regards to the fetal cell issue, again, I consulted the Bishop’s directives and the directives of the USCCB. According to the directive, there are two ‘kinds’ of vaccines: those which do not employ fetal cell lines for their production and manufacture, though they may have been tested on fetal cells for efficacy, and those that employ fetal cell lines directly in their manufacture. As I understand it, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are of the former classification, while Astra-Zeneca and J&J are of the latter.
What does the USCCB (the bishops) say about the morality of getting these vaccines? Let me quote:
“Given that the COVID-19 virus can involve serious health risks, it can be morally acceptable to receive a vaccine that uses abortion-derived cell lines if there are no other available vaccines comparable in safety and efficacy with no connection to abortion. If it is possible to choose among a number of equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. If a vaccine with no connection to abortion-derived cell lines is not readily available, vaccines that used such cell lines only for testing would be preferable to those that use such cell lines for ongoing production. Such choices may not be possible, however, especially in the early stages of vaccine distribution. In that case, one may receive any of the clinically recommended vaccines in good conscience with the assurance that reception of such vaccines does not involve immoral cooperation in abortion.”
So, the bottom line is, as affirmed by the bishops of the world and even the Pope, is that the greater charity involves taking the vaccine, as we must have more than our own welfare to consider, but also the welfare of the Common Good. We must protest any attacks on human life, and pray that the pharmaceutical companies find a way to keep fetal cells completely out of their production and testing line.
These are the kinds of moral dilemmas we face in our modern world. Challenges that never had to be faced before Roe v. Wade. Quite frankly, I hated having to make the choice, but for the sake of the Common Good, I chose to receive the Pfizer vaccine, both doses, and will get the third when available.
Once again, please do not construe my words with a directive to get the vaccine. I cannot and will not do that. The decision is entirely up to your conscience. Please follow your conscience, and act accordingly. I would ask, however, for those who choose not to vaccinate, that you do everything in your power to protect yourself and others. Charity towards our neighbors demands it.
And let us all pray for a swift and final end to this terrible pandemic!
Masks are required...
You may read the statement from the CT DPH HERE.
Annual Catholic Appeal
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Our thanks to everyone who has made their donation to the Annual Catholic Appeal for 2021!!!
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