Vaccine religious exemption requests.
As school starts for the 2021-2022 academic year, the parish has been getting a number of calls requesting an exemption from receiving the COVID-19 vaccination for religious reasons.
Regarding these requests, I think it may be helpful to take a look at a brief document recently issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a leading group of the Holy See, called
Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines.
You can read this in its entirety - it is only six paragraphs long - on the Vatican website at
It encapsulates what many bishops have been saying: while some vaccines have used cell lines from aborted fetuses for testing, not all vaccines were derived from these cell lines. Given the remote level of cooperation that being injected with such vaccines, the dangers both to oneself and to others that remaining unvaccinated and vulnerable to COVID-19 entail, and the current unavailability of fully morally-acceptable alternatives, it is morally licit to receive these vaccines.
However, we are to continue to strongly encourage pharmaceutical companies to pursue treatments and vaccinations that do not use these morally problematic elements. For a broader treatment of this discussion, please see the previous Flocknote postings at
Bishop David M. O'Connell has stated that individual pastors are to make the determination whether to provide exemptions when requested. Based on the above, I cannot in good conscience provide letters for religious-based exemptions. Of course, if there is a medical reason to not receive the vaccine, that may be obtained through a doctor or other qualified medical professional; however, I am not qualified to provide an exemption on such grounds.
We continue to pray and work for an end to the pandemic and for access to proper prevention and treatment methods.
Fr. Ed Blanchett
on Friday, September 3 at 3:00PM