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An Ecumenical Ministry in St. Patrick's Catholic Parish

Thursday, March 11, 2021

COVID-19 relief reveals a near-obsession with abortion

Editorial: Bishops' opposition to vaccine, COVID-19 relief reveals a near-obsession with abortion

The recent press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops calling into question the new coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is "confusing at best," NCR writes in our editorial.

The statement said that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was both morally acceptable and morally concerning and suggested that Catholics receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines if given a choice.

Many Catholic ethicists, moral theologians, commentators and even bishops have since disputed the reasoning in the "anti-vax" statement — and similar ones from the New Orleans Archdiocese and the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota.

But the underlying concern of this statement was, not surprisingly, abortion.

"Abortion was also the boogeyman behind the Inauguration Day statement, in which U.S. bishops' conference president, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, doubled down on the assertion that abortion is the 'preeminent priority' of the bishops — language adopted by the bishops for voter materials before the 2020 presidential election," we write. "A reminder: Preeminent does not mean 'only' or 'determinative.' "

You can read more of the editorial here.

More background:

Tell us: Have you returned to in-person Mass?

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization said COVID-19 could be characterized as a pandemic. One year later, millions of lives have been lost to the virus, and people worldwide are taking stock of the last year and what the future holds.

We want to hear from you how the pandemic has affected your decisions to worship in person. A year on, how are you feeling about returning to in-person church services? 

After considering several possibilities, on Sunday, May 24, 2020, Hosffman Ospino's parish resumed Sunday Masses in person. However, the parish held Mass in the parking lot, one Mass in English and one in Spanish.

"Our priests set up a makeshift altar on a tow truck and from there led the community in eucharistic worship," writes Ospino, a professor of theology at Boston College. "Hundreds of people attended. Everyone kept the appropriate physical distance. People were instructed to bring their chairs, if they so desired. Many did, others chose to remain standing. The idea may have sounded farfetched to some at first, perhaps desperate to others. For most, it was a way to partake of the Eucharist without placing any lives at risk."

Meanwhile, Julie Hanlon Rubio has been attending outdoor small group gatherings in a nearby park to read and reflect on Scripture, and pray.

"We shared the park with groups of college students, families, dog walkers and people who often sleep in or near the park," writes Rubio, a professor at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University. "Sometimes there were baked goods to share after we were done praying. We marked birthdays, celebrated political victories, grieved illnesses and deaths, and supported each other through 'the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties' of pandemic times. We called it 'park church.' "

Read more of Ospino's commentary here. Read the rest of Rubio's commentary here.

More background:

More headlines

  • If you missed our livestream event on Pope Francis' recent trip to Iraq with Vatican correspondent Joshua McElwee, NCR executive editor Heidi Schlumpf and Asad Dandia, a graduate student of Islamic Studies at Columbia University, you can watch it here.
  • At Global Sisters Report, the Redemptoristines' monastery in Dublin keeps receiving messages after their video for the "Jerusalema" dance challenge went viral. They did it as a prayer for the suffering world and front-line workers.

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