Catholic U.S. Troops Given Green Light To Refuse Vaccines By Archbishop

( Members of the military who are Roman Catholic can refuse getting the COVID-19 vaccine, exerting their right to exemption of the military’s vaccine mandate on religious grounds.

While that exemption has been in place since the mandate was issued, it was given extra support on Tuesday when the archbishop for military services, Timothy Broglio, issued a statement that said:

“No one should be forced to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if it would violate the sanctity of his or her conscience.”

Over the summer, Lloyd Austin, the secretary of defense, issued a vaccine mandate that applies to all members of the military. Since then, some members of the service have requested an exemption through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

While Broglio said being vaccinated was “not sinful,” according to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he also added that the church values teachings on the “sanctity of conscience.”

As a result, he wrote in his statement:

“This circumstance raises the question of whether the vaccine’s moral permissibility precludes an individual from forming a sincerely held religious believe that receiving the vaccine would violate his conscience. It does not.

Citing church teachings, he continued:

“Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There, he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.”

Despite these words, Broglio has said in the past that he supports the vaccine mandate for members of the military issued under President Joe Biden. He has cited guidance from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as Pope Francis who say the COVID-19 vaccines are morally acceptable.

On Tuesday, Broglio also said the vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer were preferred over the one developed by Johnson & Johnson, since the latter’s drug has a link to human cells that came from abortions.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use what’s called mRNA.

In the statement, he explained:

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was developed, tested, and is produced, with abortion-derived cell lines. That vaccine is, therefore, more problematic.

“If it were the only vaccine available, it would be morally permissible, but the faithful Catholic is to make known his or her preference for a more morally acceptable treatment.”

Broglio is supporting military members’ right to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine. However, he said that if they do so, they must also “continue to act in charity for their neighbors and the common good.”

He explained that this means they should social distance and wear masks at all times when around other people and also be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis. In other words, he feels they need to be extra safe and cautious to protect other people.

Broglio also said that troops should continue to remain open to getting a vaccine if any treatment becomes available that’s “not derived from, or tested with abortion-derived cell lines.”