Navigating the Church’s Teaching When Bishops Disagree

Jimmy Akin once quipped that he was going to write a piece on the Church’s OFFICIAL teaching about how to eat a Reese’s because he was constantly getting requests for the Church’s OFFICIAL teaching on a ton of stuff for which the Church has no official teaching.

Some Catholics (and non-Catholics) seem to have the idea that the job of the Magisterium is offer rigid rules and regulations on everything from how to squeeze a toothpaste tube to whether to buy whole kernel or creamed corn.

Conversely, there appears to be a crazy notion that “prudential judgment” means “Screw the Church’s guidance! I do what I want!”, as though Catholic life consists “Unless the Church issues a dogmatic command under pain of excommunication, you are free to spit on anything she says.”

In reality, the Church does not function on the principle “That which is not forbidden is compulsory” and is profoundly disinclined to define most of its teaching (which is why it has such a small body of dogmatic teaching to show for 2000 worth of doctrinal development). Indeed, even with things that are dogmatically defined (such as, for instance, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin) what is often striking is how much remains undefined and left to the faithful to make up their minds about–or leave a mystery. So the definition of the Assumption merely says that it occurred “at the end of her earthly existence”. That language is very carefully chosen because the Eastern tradition tends to hold the view that Mary died while the Western tradition tends to argue she didn’t. You can be a perfectly faithful Catholic and hold either view. You can also have no idea what the nature of Christ’s risen body is, no conception of transubstantiation beyond “This is my body”, no idea how predestination and free will work together, and a host of other views/non-views, practices/non-practices and still be a perfectly faithful Catholic. Whole swaths of the Church have never said a Rosary in their lives, because the Rosary is a popular devotion in the West, while Eastern rites have other ways of venerating Our Lady.

Indeed, the Catholic magisterial tradition, so far from running around calling people heretics for being different, is generally concerned with stopping 2000 years of self-appointed combox bishops from kicking everybody else out of the Church over quarrels far stupider than The Correct Way to Eat a Reeses. Most of the work of the Magisterium consists of telling Catholics with Very Definite Opinions to cut back on the caffeine, lighten up, dial it back, and learn to play well with others. So from Paul telling his Churches “Eat whatever you want and stop being a jerk to people who don’t share your views” to modern bishops telling super-Catholics “Communion in the hand is fine and it is not your job to be Liturgy Gestapo” the Magisterium is usually about the business of expanding, not restricting intellectual liberty.

That’s because the Faith is, in the end, the opposite of ideology. Ideology (another word for heresy) tends to fixate on a relatively small idea carved out of the bundle of ideas the Faith holds in tension and declare it to be the Only Thing That Matters. For the ideologue, everything is economics, or electricity, or evolution, or My Kind of Liturgy. Whatever can’t be crammed into the procrustean bed of the ideology will just have to have its feet cut off to accommodate the one monomaniac idea.

In contrast, the Faith says, “We don’t know much, but we do know that there is one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth… etc.” Beyond the Creed and a couple of other elaborations on it like the Real Presence or the Assumption, the Church leaves it to the wits of human beings to figure out everything from how to write Hamlet to the physics of displacement in ship design to how to create a federal government to how to make a COVID vaccine.

Even most of the teaching she offers about stuff in her wheelhouse–namely, the application of the tradition to the moral life–is largely provisional and prudential. Yes, there are a few Iron Rules: the ends don’t justify the means, you shall not murder, you shall not steal and so forth. But even these require a lot of nuance, as a small amount of imagination or history instantly illustrates. Is war in self-defense murder? Is Jean Valjean guilty of theft? What do you do about a tubal pregnancy? And so forth.

One issue that is presenting itself right now is the “primacy of conscience” being asserted by selfish MAGA narcissists bent on spreading COVID to own the libs while wallowing in self-pity. And different bishops are coming up with different conclusions, not all of the same soundness. That’s because bishops, when trying to navigate such matters, are not Magic Oracles speaking Infallible Truth, but ordinary slobs with varying levels of intelligence trying to practically apply the Church’s teaching while struggling under the same burdens of sin, folly, stupidity, and ideological blindness the rest of us struggle under. Our task is to treat their guidance with the respect we owe anybody within their field of expertise–as we would treat a doctor talking about medicine or a mechanic talking about cars or a plumber talking about plumbing. In other words, we are to weigh their guidance as though they are likely to have some insights into the Catholic tradition that could prove handy, not as though they are prophets delivering instructions straight from God. Exactly what they are not–unless they are repeating word for word a defined dogma of the Church or repeating verbatim the words of Jesus Christ himself in context–is infallible when offering prudential guidance.

For the paradox of the Church’s infallibility–and the reason it is so rarely invoked–is that it is the gift given by the Holy Spirit precisely because the Church’s members are a bunch of fatheads, including the bishops and the Pope. It is a negative protection given to the Church which presumes the sinfulness and stupidity of every one of the Church’s members. The meaning of infallibility is not “Bishops are smart and flawless and will never err” but “Bishops are such a pack of fools that were it not for the Holy Spirit the Church would have lost track of the gospel five minutes after Pentecost.” Infallibility means this and this alone: when the Church, on those rare occasions she is required to do so, says, “This is definitely what we, as the whole Church, do or do not believe” she will be prevented from screwing that statement of belief up.

That’s it. That’s all. There is absolutely no guarantee that individual bishops will not complete bollix things up in their practical applications of the Tradition. There is not even a guarantee that a pope or council will not say or do something stupid when it comes to some practical application of the Tradition according to their human wits. When a council ordered that clothes be painted on a nude in Michaelangelo’s Last Judgment, that was not an infallible act. It was just some dumb bishops imposing bad aesthetics in mistaken piety.

For the same reason, when a bishop in the pocket of English masters burns Saint Joan at the stake, there is no reason to pretend he did not sin gravely. When Dante puts bad popes in hell, there is no teaching in the whole of Catholic dogma to deny him his right to his opinion if he can produce the evidence for Boniface’s guilt.

Likewise, when a bishop is an ignorant antivax kook like Joseph Strickland, we are under no obligation accept his dumb statements or believe that ordination magically confers a degree in epidemiology or immunology.

That said, most bishops are not dreadfully bad like Strickland, a MAGA zealot who not only believes nutty conspiracy theories, but who has been at open and naked war with the Holy Father for years. Most bishops have actually done a pretty decent job trying to live by sane public health guidelines. But we live in such confused times that an uncertain trumpet still baffles people, and the guidance from bishops about COVID vaccination is not all equal. Here are two samples of such guidance. The first–and I think much the worse of the two samples (though nothing like as deadly and damnable as Bishop Strickland’s anti-vax idiocy and conspiracy theories) is the rather tepid counsel of the Colorado bishops:

We, the Catholic bishops of Colorado, consistent with our previous letters on COVID-19 vaccines, affirm that the use of some COVID-19 vaccines is morally acceptable under certain circumstances. Throughout the pandemic we have cooperated with the various secular authorities and encouraged Catholics to help each other, and the broader society, remain healthy and safe during this challenging time. We understand that some individuals have well-founded convictions that lead them to discern they should not get vaccinated. We are pleased to see that in the case of the most recent Denver vaccine mandate there is accommodation for sincerely held religious beliefs. This is appropriate under the laws protecting freedom of religion.

We always remain vigilant when any bureaucracy seeks to impose uniform and sweeping requirements on a group of people in areas of personal conscience. Throughout history, human rights violations and a loss of respect for each person’s God-given dignity often begin with government mandates that fail to respect the freedom of conscience. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, we are convicted that the government should not impose medical interventions on an individual or group of persons. We urge respect for each person’s convictions and personal choices.

We have been asked several questions by the Faithful about relevant Catholic teaching applicable to this issue. The Catholic Church teaches that a person may refuse a medical intervention, including a vaccination, if his or her conscience leads them to that decision. Here are relevant points for this personal decision:

• Vaccination is not morally obligatory and so must be voluntary.

• There is a moral duty to refuse the use of medical products, including certain vaccines, that are created using human cells lines derived from abortion; however, it is permissible to use such vaccines only under case-specific conditions—if there are no other alternatives available and the intent is to preserve life.

• A person’s assessment of whether the benefits of a medical intervention outweigh the undesirable side-effects are to be respected unless they contradict authoritative Catholic moral teachings.

• A person is morally required to obey his or her conscience.

• For more information on these weighty ethical issues, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a statement that can be read here.

Taken as a whole, these points mean a Catholic may judge it right or wrong to receive certain vaccines for a variety of reasons, and there is no Church law or rule that obligates a Catholic to receive a vaccine — including COVID-19 vaccines.

The three Colorado Catholic dioceses remain committed to working with public health and other secular authorities to protect the wellbeing of our communities, at the same time urging that personal freedoms of conscience and expression be fully supported, and the integrity and autonomy of religious institutions be respected. The vaccination question is a deeply personal issue, and we continue to support religious exemptions from any and all vaccine mandates.

If any person comes to an informed judgment that he or she should receive or not receive a vaccine, that person should follow their conscience, and they should not be penalized for doing so. We encourage any individual seeking exemption to consult their employer or school. The Colorado Catholic Conference also has a letter template available to be signed by pastors of the Faithful if a Catholic wants a written record that they are seeking exemption on religious grounds.

Sincerely,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop of Denver

Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo

Most Reverend James R. Golka
Bishop of Colorado Springs

Most Reverend Jorge Rodriguez
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver

Yes, we believe in the primacy of conscience, etc. But compare and contrast this to, say, the approach of these bishops to the matter of abortion. Can you imagine, for one second, these bishops taking this “Hey, just do whatever your conscience says!” approach to Catholics for a Free Choice? Clearly, the audience this statement is directed to is asking, “What is the absolute bare minimum we can do and still be Good Catholics?” The answers provided here are keyed to people who cannot see beyond the event horizon of their own narcissism. Questions concerning the good of others do not enter into the discussion of conscience. The only thing being addressed here is, “Am I legally bound to be vaccinated and, if not, can I avoid it and still be a Good Catholic?” It is speaking to an incredibly cramped moral conscience in terms of the absolute least it can do and get away with it.

Meanwhile, the far more sound approach of the bishop of San Diego synthesizes the same guidance of the Church’s Magisterium and comes to a far more sensible conclusion:

Jack Jenkins on Twitter: "INBOX: Catholic Bishop Robert McElroy of San  Diego sends letter instructing priests that there is no basis in Catholic  Teaching to offer a religious exemption to COVID-19 vaccination.…

Bp. McElroy is doing a far better job of expressing the Church’s actual position, because he is not simply addressing the selfish narcissistic MAGA question, ‘WHAT ABOUT ME? HOW LITTLE CAN I GET AWAY WITH CARING ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE? ME! ME! ME!” but is instead addressing the reality that vaccination is as much about the needs of those who cannot be vaccinated.

That seems to me to be the core difference between the former and latter approaches. The Colorado Bishops seem to primarily have in mind an audience of intensely selfish MAGA adolescents whose sole question is “What is the absolute least I can get away with in terms of love of neighbor and still be technically ‘obedient’?” and the bishops seem to be answering that question and demanding nothing more of them.

Now, to be fair, extremely minimal moral demands of profoundly immature and selfish personalities has a long history in the pastoral tradition of the Church. From Jesus making no demand of the Centurion to free his slave (Matthew 8:5-13) to every parish priest in the world asking penitents in the confessional to take some baby step toward maturity followed by three Hail Marys, the Church famously (and, I think, wisely as a rule) does not impose Seven Herculean Feats on penitents asking “What must I do to be saved?”

But, on the other hand, there is also a pastoral tradition for challenging the flock stretching from Jesus’ confrontation with the Rich Young Man to Ambrose commanding the Emperor to do penance for a massacre to the tough old parish priest calling out the phony penitent and telling him to forget absolution if he doesn’t get serious about not burning through the family savings on whores and brawling.

In short, sometimes you have to address the weakness of the penitent, but other times you have address the fact that the penitent is a selfish jerk who needs a good smack upside the head.

Tackling the issue from the standpoint, not only of sound science, but of fully orbed Catholic morality, McElroy seems to me to take the latter approach and remind the intensely narcissist MAGA antivax crowd that everything in the universe is not All About Them. And he takes the obviously better approach, in my view.

He accurately points out that vaccination is, in fact, a moral obligation to the common good (as the pope has repeatedly said), that if you can get vaxed, you owe it to your neighbor to do so, and that if your ignorant, warped, malformed, narcissistic, individualistic conscience demands you refuse to vax, you may do so, but don’t lie to yourself or anybody else that you are “obeying the Church” as you do it. You aren’t. The teaching of the Church is clear: unless there is some medical reason like an allergy or some other legitimate excuse that prevents it, you should get vaxed. It is obedience to the second greatest commandment: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

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33 Responses

  1. So much to unpack here. Another great article. Jospeh Campbell had a great line: “any church that doesn’t produce heretics is dead.” To me, this means that a church that provides the intellectual, spiritual and community life required for metanoia, coupled with the freedom to achieve or fail, will always produce heretics among the saints. This idea of defining everything as magisterial (right down to the consumption of a Reese’s!—ha:) has the effect of encumbering the faithful to the rules of man rather than empower them to find freedom in Christ.

    The Colorado Bishops (Golka doesn’t count because he’s brand new) are all under the MAGA-sway of Aquila who is constantly trying to out-achieve Chaput, his father-figure. My Denver Catholic friends are anti-vaxxers who brag about getting COVID and “it was no big deal at all.”

    This “bare minimum” crowd is the same that will stay after the recessional to pray and give the stink eye to anybody who dare greet their neighbor. They refuse to hold hands (during non-pandemic times) during the our father because of rules. But don’t tread on me with your vaccines!

    Finally, all murder is wrong and abortion is murder. And an aborted fetus whose cell lines have been cloned zillions of time is still profiting from murder. And it is one fetus from decades ago. One. Meanwhile, they vote R under whose policies of cruelty, abortion rises. They can’t be bothered to care about the environment or war or guns or (insert literally anything that could save a life here) that will inevitably destroy more lives than the one decades ago that they can’t let go of. If they were consistent, I’d listen. They are not.

  2. Actually, the Church is pretty clear vaccination is not a moral obligation and must be voluntary. This comes directly from the CDF, signed by Pope Francis. Therefore, it carries more authority than an individual bishop and even the Pope’s informal comments for Italian TV.

    Good idea to get vaccinated? Sure. Expression of concern for your neighbor? Can be. Morally obligatory? The Church says “no.”

      1. “At the same time, practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary. ” – Pope Francis

      2. Chris Jay, the phrasing is “as a general rule”, and then follows it up later, in the absence of other solutions, vaccination is recommended.
        Why are you emphasizing the first part? and why are you ignoring that there is a part in italics—which is clearly the portion the CDF is placing emphasis upon within the sentence…?
        Are you willfully misreading this or what? (and why?)

    1. 5. At the same time, practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary. In any case, from the ethical point of view, the morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one’s own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good. In the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination, especially to protect the weakest and most exposed. Those who, however, for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, must do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent. In particular, they must avoid any risk to the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons, and who are the most vulnerable.

      This one? Hard to see How that translate into ”muh freedom”.

      1. But clear for the reasonable to see it is not a moral obligation and should be voluntary.

      2. @ Chris

        If your point is that it’s not by defintion a sin not to get the vaccine, sure. If you choose to ignore the caveats, not so much.

  3. @chris

    Jesus said that it is a moral obligation to love your neighbor as yourself. If you don’t love yourself enough to get a vaccination, then clearly, you don’t need to love your neighbor that much either. So you are free of any moral obligation to the common good, to your neighbor, to pregnant women who will likely suffer like long complications from covid and pregnancy, or indeed, anyone else.

    Am I my brother’s keeper? Who wants to know?

  4. Because I am not Catholic, I am free to say that I am totally ready to deploy the Pfizer blowdarts.

    Public policy must account for the obvious fact that a lot of people are idiots. Letting people choose freely works for many issues, but when life and death are on the line the government needs to tell people what to do and enforce compliance if necessary.

    – joel

  5. There are many prudential considerations between the moral imperative to love your neighbor as yourself and getting vaccinated, which is why the Church wisely teaches vaccines as a rule are not a moral obligation and must be voluntary even while she encourages everyone to get one.

    1. The unvaccinated are currently conducting an in-person DDoS attack on America’s hospitals: five states currently have <5% ICU availability; Alabama has 0%.
      Yet people in this thread are carefully arguing that getting vaccinated is NOT actually a moral obligation; as if that is the important point to make right now. Lovely.

  6. Hi Cds,
    I can’t actually respond directly to your comment below so here:
    The quote is “as a rule.” By misquoting you are making it easier for yourself to dispense with the rule you disagree with.
    Also, the quote follows up with (my emphasis) “In the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good MAY recommend vaccination, especially to protect the weakest and most exposed.”
    By excluding the “MAY” you are trying to make it sound like it is the only and exclusive recommendation.

    So, I haven’t misread the quote.
    As for my motivation. The question posed above seems to be since bishops have said different things about whether the vaccine is a moral obligation or not, who has the authority to decide the matter?
    The highest authority in the Church has given an answer and the answer is vaccines are very strongly recommended but not a moral obligation and should be voluntary.
    I think it is worth reminding people there are a plethora of prudential decisions between the moral imperative to love thy neighbor and getting the vaccine, that belong to the person deciding them.

  7. @CJ

    If only other people weren’t getting sick and dying due to the plethora of prudential decisions.

    If only the hospitals weren’t filling up, in some places beyond capacity, because of a plethora of prudential decisions that do not involve loving your neighbor.

    If only those overfilled hospitals were able to take care of other people who have surgery scheduled, or other life-saving procedures, or expose themselves to covid, because of a plethora of prudential decisions.

    If only healthcare workers were not burning out, or placing themselves and their families in danger, because some people refuse to do anything because they think they have a “Prudential decision” to make.

    If only my friend, who is a grandmother, didn’t have to worry for a week about whether she had possibly infected her grandchildren, including a newborn, because the vaccinated woman sitting next to her at my birthday dinner, tested covid positive, because of the prudential decision of a social worker at her residence who decided her right to infect other people with her own stupidity overruled everything else.

    If only the other nine people also had to get the Covid tests, had a huge cost, because of the plethora of prudential decisions made by that social worker.

    This all very much embodies “LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR“. But I guess it’s OK to love former guy, love conspiracy theories, love scientific and spiritual ignorance, more than love your neighbor.

  8. So I guess we can conclude by your rhetorical ridicule you think it’s justifiable on the thinnest of pretenses to take away a person’s right and responsibility to make their own decisions about getting vaccinated, even though to do so would contradict catholic moral teaching.

    Well, that’s why we have the magisterium. You can speak for yourself but not for Christ and the Church.

    And frankly, I’m surprised at how little it takes to get you to tread on another person’s human right to choose. Manslaughter I could understand but…money…burnout…anxiety…really?

    1. Selfish, deadly, narcissistic idiots can do as they please. So can the rest of us, by passing laws, financial penalties, and regulation that raise their taxes, increase their insurance premiums, bar them from restaurants, theatres, sporting events, and all all other public venues where they threaten to spread plague, and by compelling them to be tested on a weekly basis or lose their jobs. You guys want to be selfish imbeciles? You bear the burden of your idiot choices instead making the rest of us bear them.

      1. @ mark

        I’m glad that you said it instead of me. You know how much I hate getting accused of rhetorical ridicule.

        They can choose what they want, but there can and should be consequences for those choices. For myself, I’m tired of not seeing my friends except in certain circumstances, And having to worry about it when I do. I’m tired of not being able to see my family in Europe. I have three great nieces and nephews that I would love to see, but cannot. I’m tired of not being able to travel, because in a few more years, I won’t be able to do the kind of traveling that I’ve been doing for the last 25.

      2. Since you just wrote a book on Catholic Social teaching, I’m sure you can point out from Scripture and Tradition where the Church advocates treating anyone like lepers in the Old Testament.

      3. Making deadly, selfish, narcissistic idiots bear the costs they themselves choose to incur as they make war on public health and try to hurt the rest of us is not “treating people like lepers”. It is treating them like adults. Sorry kid. You want to be a selfish jerk, you foot the bill. You’re not the victim. The rest of us are and we don’t have to put up with bearing the costs of selfish jerks.

  9. @ chris

    “ And frankly, I’m surprised at how little it takes to get you to tread on another person’s human right to choose.”

    Funny how choice means so many different things to people. A pregnant woman who cannot afford and cannot take care of another child? She has no right to choose. A gay person who wants to live his or her life authentically as they are made in the fullness of life? That gay person has no right to choose. Parents who want their families protected from a potentially deadly, potentially life altering, but otherwise very preventable disease? They have no right to choose. Healthcare workers who are burning out, endangering their families, endangering themselves, getting overwhelmed by the sheer stupidity and selfishness involved in the antivax idiocy? Well, they can choose. They can choose to leave their professions, their source of income, the source of security for the family.

    Here is the thing about choices: every choice that we make has a consequence. In this case, someone making a bunch of choices about getting a simple vaccination has impact on everyone else, including their lives, their families, their children. When that choice about getting a simple vaccination is based on lies, misinformation, stupidity, ignorance, a 30 second Google search, owning the Libs, republican politics, libertarian politics, alleged biblical imperatives in a book that knows nothing of public health practice, nefarious plans by Bill Gates to microchip everyone, Dennis Prager telling people not to trust their doctors but to trust HIM.

    And on and on and on and on. At what point do sanity, love for your neighbor, care about the economy and peoples livelihoods, and science take precedence?

    630,000 dead people in this country alone should inform some of those choices. The shut down of the world economy should inform some of those choices. Hundreds of thousands of people dying in Brazil, India, and Mexico and ‘Murca should have some impact on those choices.

    Right to life, my a$$.

  10. “At what point do sanity, love for your neighbor, care about the economy and peoples livelihoods, and science take precedence?”

    You have very concisely demonstrated the need for the Church’s moral teaching, that protects an individual’s right and responsibility to answer your question.

  11. You’re not the first person to call the teachings of Jesus “death, decay, destruction, and idiocy,” and you won’t be the last. But you seem rather empty of joy. I will pray for you.

  12. @Chris Jay – you wrote: “ Since you just wrote a book on Catholic Social teaching, I’m sure you can point out from Scripture and Tradition where the Church advocates treating anyone like lepers in the Old Testament.” I didn’t write s book about Catholic Social Teaching – but a little, and I mean very little, “research” using the Google Machine: from NCBI – Catholic social teaching: Precepts for healthcare reform:
    In pursuit of the common good, we should seek to create the institutions, policies, and safety net to protect families and individuals. It follows that each individual has a responsibility toward the common good and to promote such conditions, enabling the flourishing of both himself and his neighbor. Not hard to extrapolate that promote conditions that enable the flourishing of himself and his neighbor means get vaccinated. Solidarity In this context means “ Loving our neighbor has global dimensions and requires us to eradicate racism and address the extreme poverty and disease plaguing so much of the world. ” from Seton Hall Micah Institute for Business and Economics – Principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Again to eradicate disease in this case means get the shot.

    1. I appreciate the reference. The point is, Mark thinks it’s fine to put people in ghettos and take away their living when they don’t do the right thing. That’s not what Christianity is about. It’s about doing the right thing yourself and by your example of happiness, joy, and peace showing the way to others.

  13. Well, the scheiss-spiele continues. Hey, Chris! Here’s a man after your own heart!

    “ Be very careful about this vaccine. If I were you, I would not touch it with a 10-foot pole. And I never will because it leads to complications. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say what needs to be said.

    ”I need you to pray for me as I take this bold and courageous step. I was ordained to be bold and courageous and to speak the truth.”

    “My brothers and sisters, you are under absolutely no obligation to take a vaccine that is made, produced, manufactured, tested even in the most remote ways with aborted, fetal cells. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

    “Our ultimate answer and word is the word of Jesus Christ, who emphasizes that the flesh is important. The flesh of aborted cells are important and they are not to be put into our body in any way, shape, or form.

    “Do not let anyone confuse that for you. We must look to the laws of God first and foremost. If they’re going to kick me out of a restaurant come September 13th, so be it. I can cook at home.

    “And if they’re not going to allow me to go and buy groceries at the store because I’m unvaccinated, then so be it. I can grow my own vegetables and fruit.

    “But I cannot grow my own human soul, and I cannot justify to God why I am possibly contributing or allowing an evil to take place.” – Brooklyn priest Michael Panicali, addressing his congregation on Sunday.

    The bolding is mine. It just emphasizes what I have written about before: RELIGIOUS MEGALOMANIA. The sneaking suspicion that you speak for god, you are god’s BFFF, that you are so like god that he agrees with you. 630,000 dead people isn’t enough of a sacrifice to the BFFF. Because a couple of fetal cells weigh more in his godlike estimation than 630,000 dead Americans.

    We have two plagues going on here. Andno one ever told him that it takes a while to grow vegetable and fruit.

    1. I think you’re missing the point. The same magisterium that upholds individual rights against being trampled upon by people like you because it’s making Nana anxious, has also declared the material participation in the vaccine is too remote to constitute and evil act and it is therefore morally permissible. The priest is wrong, so I guess we found something we can agree on.

  14. @ chris

    You can ask anybody here. Trust me on this: You REALLY don’t want to get me started on people like YOU trampling individual rights.

    But thanks for framing the question that way. This isn’t about rights, this is about responsibility: to the rights of your fellow citizens, to their lives, to your society. Your dismissal of Nana’s right to be alive, as being “nervous” Is entirely the point. 630,000 people are dead in this country. 1000 a day or dying in Florida because someone keeps screaming “my freedom”.

    This is a child’s understanding of freedom.

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