Anti-Vax Kookery at Franciscan University

The Church is not just the friend of the sciences, but the Mother of the Sciences.

So when vaccines were created for COVID, the Pope, himself a scientist, did the sensible thing and urged swift and broad vaccination.

In Catholic academia, Normals are doing the sensible thing and requiring their students to be vaccinated. Pandemic and death make it hard to get good grades.

Also, in the world of Normals, Catholics and Catholic academics are paying attention to sane public health and not repeating MAGA mantras like “It’s only go a 1% death toll!” or “It only kills old and sick people” (thereby making clear that all that MAGA hogwash about being “prolife” is just a mask on the face of their Eugenicist disregard for the weak and vulnerable). These Eugencisists also have faith that co-morbidity does not exist and diseases that kill by co-morbidity don’t exist (except for AIDS because Gay Cooties).

Here’s the reality about that 1% death toll:

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Had we listened to this criminally negligent imbecile and his mob of dummies out protesting masks, social distancing, and vaccines…

…our death toll would have reached +3 million. As it is, we are nearly to 600K, will likely reach a total equal to all the dead of the Civil War (our bloodiest conflict) by Fall and may well top a million dead before it is all done.

So surely, a Catholic university claiming to be more Orthodoxer than all those godless fake Catholic universities is going to model all that “Culture of Life” stuff they are on about and put all other Catholic schools in the shade when it comes to taking the lead in fighting the Pandemic, right?

Of course not! Not when we are talking about the most MAGA Catholic school of them all, Franciscan University of Steubenville:

Franciscan University of Steubenville declined an opportunity to offer a coronavirus vaccine site on campus, two weeks before the university’s president called a surge of virus cases at the university “not sustainable.” 

County health officials cautioned in March and April that cases at the university were on the rise, and offered to “help you decrease positivity rates at the university,” though university officials said they were following appropriate precautions.

But with cases rising and in-person instruction facing the prospect of cancelation, university professors said disagreement over the pandemic is characteristic of a broader rift among practicing Catholics, and that pandemic policies at the Ohio Catholic university are going unenforced.

On April 14, Franciscan University president Fr. David Pivonka said in a video message that “I think the Franciscan community is aware that the number of positive covid cases, among our students, faculty, staff, friars — honestly all the priests —  has spiked in the last week. We’re not out of the woods yet.”

“Covid presents the same threat to Franciscan University as it has since the fall. There is a limit to the number of positive cases quarantined individuals of students, staff, faculty, and friars that we can handle at any given time.”

“We reached that point last November and as you know, we had to end our in-person semester earlier than we had planned. During the past two weeks, we’ve had the number of cases similar to the end of last semester,” Pivonka added.

“The present trend is not sustainable.”

On March 30, two weeks before Pivonka’s video message, Jefferson County Public Health Commissioner Andrew Henry exchanged emails with university vice president David Schmiesing about the best ways to help students on the university campus access coronavirus vaccines. 

Noting that some university students might have difficulty traveling to vaccine sites, Henry offered that “if we had enough interest, we could set up at the university one day,” to offer vaccines.

Henry suggested surveying the university community to gauge interest. If a survey “had a response that justified us operating somewhere at the university for a day, we would highly consider [it],” he said, emphasizing the suggestion.

Schmiesing responded that day to the invitation. 

“At this point we would not opt for an on-campus vaccine day,” Schmiesing wrote.

In the email exchange, Schmiesing did ask Henry to suggest ways that university students who wanted a vaccination could more easily register for one with the county; they discussed possibilities to make such registration simpler for students.

At the time Schmiesing declined the invitation for an on-campus vaccine site, university officials might have thought that the virus had been abated on the campus. A university covid-19 dashboard shows that new case rates at the university were mostly consistent during the months of February and March

It was a week after the vaccine clinic proposal that new case rates on the campus tripled, and within two weeks grown by nearly a factor of five. 

The university has not yet responded to questions from The Pillar about why it declined to provide vaccines on campus, or whether, with cases increasing, it would reconsider the decision.

The university reported 63 active cases when Pivonka warned rates were unsustainable; one week later, that number has grown to 89.

The Pillar spoke to two faculty members with concerns about the university’s approach to the pandemic, and about division on the university’s campus over masking and vaccines. The professors asked not be named, because of tensions on campus over the pandemic.

Both faculty members told The Pillar that while most students wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines, there is a group of both students and faculty members who have been outspoken against both masks and the morality of vaccines. 

And university administrators, one professor said, have proven reticent to enforce masking and social distancing policies.

“We haven’t got much of a protocol of any kind. We’ve got a policy requiring masking and social distancing in practice. There isn’t any serious enforcement mechanism and faculty who attempt to enforce it have been put to a lot of trouble.”

One professor who enforced a mask policy in class was disciplined for doing so, a faculty member told The Pillar. The university has not responded to questions from The Pillar on that assertion.

Division around masking and vaccines at the university comes amid a broader split among practicing Catholics on the morality of vaccines and the efficacy, ethics, and significance of masking policies.

A faculty member told The Pillar he has encountered a variety of objections on campus, all of which are also represented in a broader conversation among Catholics: Those who think that masks do not effectively prevent the spread of the virus, those who have objections to the vaccine’s remote material connection to abortion, and those who think the vaccine will be used as a mechanism of government control, or to usher in a one-world government — a view that has been advanced by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former papal representative to the United States.

That division has played out in Steubenville parishes as well as the university, professors told The Pillar, citing discomfort among local parishioners with university students attending Masses at their local parishes but declining to wear masks.

The split has included bishops offering dueling statements on the morality of pandemic vaccines, and a statement from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which affirmed that receiving the coronavirus vaccine is morally acceptable for Catholics, and said Catholics should call for vaccines tested and produced with no material connection to abortion, however remote.

Faculty members said that statement has not been universally received at the university. While the university has hosted a panel discussion on the morality of the vaccine, professors said that some administrators seem reluctant to push back against a growing anti-vaccine movement on the campus, especially one that seems to be endorsed or supported by some professors. 

Make no mistake. The Church is clear about the moral responsibility we have as Catholics to get vaxxed:

May be an image of text that says 'NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER Vatican Health Conference: A Platform to Combat COVID- 19 'Vaccine Hesitancy?' The May 6-8 event features the CEOs of Moderna and Pfizer, as well as Dr. Anthony Fauci and an array of other prominent vaccination advocates.'

And yet, the people who twenty years ago boasted themselves the Only True Catholics and lectured the Libs on the need to Just Listen to the Pope and the Magisterium are now endangering both the souls and bodies of their students because this pack of ignorant wahoos is telling them to fight the Pope and trust only MAGA:

May be an image of 2 people and text that says '8:19 Tweet Patrick Coffin Media @CoffinMedia Counter Vatican Conference Will Expose Marxist Great Reset Agenda ROOM PANDEMIC Counter Vatican Conference Will Ex Marxist Great Reset Agenda Stev ශ'
May be an image of 1 person and text that says '8:49 Tweet Vigano: "The Holy See has deliberately renounced the supernatural mission of the Church, making itself the servant of the New World Order and Masonic globalism in an antichristic counter- magisterium." Viganò on Vatican 'health' conference Fauci: Holy See is making itself the ဖ'

And, of course, there is the folk hero bishop of Tyler, Texas, Joseph Strickland, who has backed Vigano’s Francis-bashing quackery for two years, who slandered vaccine makers and never apologized, and who gave his blessing to a conference of anti-vax kooks last fall.

It is absolutely incredible to me that a Catholic university would refuse to make the vaccine readily available to its students because a significant portion of its administration and faculty believe that acknowledgement and treatment of a deadly disease gives them Liberal Cooties and somehow taints them with the whiff of heresy. And they do this in direct contradiction to the guidance of the Holy Father and virtually every bishop on the planet with the exception of an anti-vax kook in Texas and one or two others.

If you have your kid’s mind being formed in such a MAGA madhouse, I pity that child. He is not learning the faith. He is being programmed by lunatics.


22 Responses

  1. Last year, when all of this started, I had a couple of conversations with Right-to-Life Catholics about the pandemic. The basic response was, “I am indeed a right to life Catholic, but the economy is very important. If those people don’t want to die, they should just stay home. Sorry about your grandma.” Well, they actually didn’t say the last sentence, but the implication was clear. I also heard the “1% only die” nonsense, as if that somehow made it better. Having a degree in public health, as well as three risk factors myself, I tried to explain about comorbidity. It made no impression.

    Whenever I hear of FU, I also think of Fr. David Morrier.

    FU indeed.

  2. 1% is fake news. As of yesterday it was 1.8. It doesn’t take a math genius to round that to the nearest whole number, 2, if that is a preference. Maybe 5.6 million deaths is “sustainable.” Or maybe the quantity would overwhelm our limp health care system to the point that lots of people wouldn’t get hospitalization or even treatment. And maybe the death rate would then be a closer match to Africa’s 3 to 5%. The stop-n-start closures tested hospitals to the limit but their heroes kept the US from descending into the Third World. Or medieval pre-Trent times. And 1%? That has a different meaning for me: white, rich, privileged airport Qhristians.

    1. 1.8 sounds more like a case fatality ratio, not an infection fatality ratio. With estimates frequently in the ballpark of 40% of infections being diagnosed cases, the case fatality rate over-states the actual infection fatality rate.

      Looking back a few months at the historical data from prior peak, before most of the high risk population received vaccinations, the observed case fatality ratio was 1.4. That would suggest an infection fatality rate of about 0.6%, which is consistent with many of the existing published figures.

      It’s still a serious concern, of course – letting the pandemic run its course without intervention would be expected to kill around 1.4 million Americans at that rate (which shows consistency with early estimates, as well). I just wanted to note the actual figures I’ve been seeing.

      1. It’s an even more serious concern when infections can’t be treated because other people have clogged up the hallways. The uninsured, people of color dying at even higher rates would cause its own level of civil unrest. 0.6 assumes everybody can get treatment, which we know isn’t likely to be true. It also assumes that the 60% didn’t have any misdiagnosed fatalities. Letting the pandemic run wild wouldn’t kill more than 30 million Americans. That was probably our ceiling with treating it like any other flu. I suspect the non-intervention route would kill between 2 and 30M on the first round, and who knows how many more in 2021.

      2. This gets into one of the aspects I haven’t looked into closely, but from what I have seen, it appears hospital care has had an unfortunately limited effect on fatality rates. Still significant, but not as significant as you’re suggesting.

        For those whose disease progresses to the level where hospital care is recommended, some percentage would survive regardless (but probably suffer more, which also matters), some percentage would die regardless, and some percentage would survive specifically because of hospital care. It’s this last group we are addressing.

        The variation in case fatality rates appears to have been modest in areas where hospitals were overwhelmed compared to other areas. We’re probably looking at maybe a 50-100% increase in infection fatality rate with no care vs. US standard of care.

        So adjusting to your point puts the estimate in the ballpark of 2.1-2.8 million fatalities in the US, not 30 million.

        Again, effectiveness of hospital care is one of the figures I have not looked into closely, but since my estimate here is a similar ballpark as what epidemiologists have estimated (even going back to the Imperial College of London’s early forecast of up to 2 million US deaths if we did nothing, which was cited as one of the main reasons president Trump finally took federal action), I think there is reasonable corroboration.

        Researchers have been trying to keep an eye out for undiagnosed deaths by checking excess fatality data (how many people die this month compared to the average of previous years). The excess fatality data have been tracking the COVID-19 documented deaths pretty well in the US. Unsurprisingly, in less developed nations, there is a bigger difference due to lack of resources to test and track the data.

  3. And because we remember the thought process of their hive mind –they think of the *shot* , not the disease, as a new scourge upon the people. A pact with the devil! Somewhere in the back of their minds they tenderly roll around the idea that we, who had ourselves vaccinated will all come to a viciously bad end. They are holding their breath in anticipation for that scintillating moment in time when we will begin to languish and start dropping like flies. –a new AIDS that has been visited upon us for our sins.! Then THEY, the shining little flock of Jesus, smaller and purer in numbers will have triumphed over all of the evil doers and their antichrist Pope…The fulfillment of God’s prophecy!

  4. When are they going to take away Vigano’s titles and princely status? He’s a public scandal. Demote him to prison chaplain.

    Being relegated to the boondocks helped Pope Francis to become a pope of the people.

    1. @ taco

      Demote him to prison chaplain? Why would you do that to prisoners?😬😬😬

      Matthew 25:39 comes to mind. No mention of further afflictions with a Viganó.

    2. I would say that a “public scandal” is a mild way to put it. I would say a “public threat” instead, or a “public enemy”, or both plus more…

  5. We’ve got them over here in Orthodoxy, too. Just yesterday I finally ventured back to church after getting vaccinated, and afterwards somebody started yelling at the parish council that masks are making church into a “carnival.” Um, church may be about religion rather than science, but the laws of science still apply in the church building….

  6. Thinking about this fear mongering about a “new world order” or a “one world government”: I would bet that if this was guaranteed to be an “American” one world government, the people expressing such fears would be very, very, very enthusiastically in favour of it!

  7. I guess not everyone is free to comment here…facts or differing comments not permitted? Where’s my comment?

    1. Yes. That’s correct. This is my blog. You are here on my sufferance, which I graciously and magnanimously extend to whoever I please and wisely and justly deny to whoever I please. If you are an anti-vax kook, you have no right to comment. Got it? Don’t whinge about free speech on my blog. Get your own blog if you want to say nutty things or spout lies. Clear?

    2. @ marian

      You have to be reasonably respectful and polite, marian, and not over the top unhinged. Even if you are unhinged, Mark is still far more tolerant than i would be for an occasional commenter.

      Today, for example. The guy called Mr. Biden a rapist, therebye taking as gospel, so to speak, the unsworn testimony of a woman who changes her story just about as often as she changes her underwear. Mr. Biden is the most decent president we’ve had since Mr. Obama. Unlike Dolt45, who proudly proclaimed that sexual assault was ducky.

      I’m and atheist and a gay man. Mark and i often disagree. I’ve been here for four years.

      1. Obama continued Bush’s train wreck of a foreign policy, the results of which are hardly decent. Biden has been restrained so far, which is impressive. If he re-negotiates the nuclear deal then that would be quite the achievement.

    3. Our Byzantine Catholic parish has a new priest who attended FU Steubenville. I won’t say his name, but the first time we met, he told me that he was the “third most popular Catholic apologist in America” (due to a podcast he was doing). He got mad at me last year for saying, on Facebook, that people should use their God-given reason and common sense to decide when it was safe to go back to church in person (rather than just relying on him or the Bishop for a dispensation). Last week, he tested positive for COVID. I’m not meaning to “COVID-shame,” but he didn’t seem to be trying too hard to keep it from happening, and the last time I saw him in person, he was holding a baby and sitting very close to a lot of other people at an outdoor Bible study.

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