(WKBN) – The archbishop for the U.S. military says Catholic troops can refuse the COVID-19 vaccine without punitive consequences if it goes against their conscience.
Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, wrote in an Oct. 12 statement on Coronavirus Vaccines and the Sanctity of Conscience that while the Church has stated that it is “morally permissible to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations currently available in the United States,” a person’s conscience on the development and testing of the vaccines can exempt them for receiving the shots.
The issue surrounds the fact that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were tested using an abortion derived cell line. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines. Broglio wrote that a person’s own moral permissibility can come into play if that person truly has an issue of conscience with it.
“Accordingly, no one should be forced to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if it would violate the sanctity of his or her conscience. The denial of religious accommodations, or punitive or adverse personnel actions taken against those who raise earnest, conscience-based objections, would be contrary
to federal law and morally reprehensible,” Archbishop Broglio wrote.
Those refusing the vaccine, however, should submit to regular testing, wear a mask and socially distance and other measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, the archbishop said.