Anti-Vax Kookery at Franciscan University
The Church is not just the friend of the sciences, but the Mother of the Sciences.
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:
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?
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:
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:
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.