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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Catholics have no grounds to claim exemption from COVID vaccine mandates

Catholics have no grounds to claim exemption from COVID vaccine mandates 

In a commentary for NCR, Jason T. Eberl and Tobias Winwright, both professors of health care ethics at St. Louis University, say that there is no sufficient moral reason for Catholics to request an exemption from mandatory vaccination policies for COVID-19. In fact, as Pope Francis has affirmed, there may be a moral obligation to be vaccinated unless one has a medical contraindication, they write.

"Such an obligation is fundamentally grounded in the Gospel's call for each of us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31)," Eberl and Winwright write. "Insofar as loving oneself entails a moral obligation to use proportionate means to safeguard one's own life and health, Christians are called to love others by taking proportionate means to safeguard their lives and health."

Epidemiological data clearly shows that the best way to fulfill this moral duty is through vaccination and, further, that the currently available vaccines are proportionately safe and effective even if they have not yet (but will likely soon be) fully approved by the FDA. 

"COVID-19 vaccination is thus an appropriate means of fulfilling our moral obligation to promote the common good," they say.

You can read more of the commentary here.

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Relief workers: Haiti earthquake complicated by economy, gangs, weather

Relief workers in Haiti said the Aug. 14 earthquake might not be as catastrophic as the 2010 quake that was closer to the capital, but recovery will be complicated because the quake came on the heels of July's presidential assassination, of an economic and ongoing political crisis, the coronavirus pandemic and an active storm season now underway.

Fonie Pierre, a public health professional who heads operations in the region for the U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services, lives in Les Cayes, Haiti's third-largest city and one of the hardest hit by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake. She said she and her daughter fled their home during the earthquake and have joined neighbors in living outdoors for the foreseeable future.

CRS staffers are reporting widespread damage to buildings and homes as area hospitals have been overwhelmed by the disaster, pushing them to capacity and forcing them to turn away people in need. The major road connecting Les Cayes to Jérémie is impassable due to landslides and cracks on the road.

You can read more of the story here.

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