Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas to issue religious exemptions for Covid-19 vaccine


By Madeline Holcombe and Chris Boyette, CNN

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas will not issue letters of exemption for the Covid-19 vaccine for religious reasons, the diocese told pastors on Monday.

After “careful and prayerful consideration” based on reports from pastors in the diocese that they have received a small amount of such requests, Bishop George Leo Thomas said he believed the issuance of vaccine exemptions would contradict the directives of Pope Francis, according to a communication obtained by CNN.

“Over the past few months, our Holy Father Pope Francis has made it clear that the various forms of Covid vaccines are morally acceptable, urging Catholics around the world to get vaccinated, not just for their own safety and well-being. , but also for concern for the weak and vulnerable among us, ”said the bishop.

The announcement comes as much of the nation debates vaccine mandates. Health experts say warrants are essential to protect people enough to curb the spread of the virus, while some officials and segments of the population argue that such warrants infringe on personal freedom.

Some religious groups joined in the debate, as they said Covid-19 restrictions and vaccination warrants violate their religious expression.

Despite the first vaccine controversies in the Catholic Church at the start of the pandemic, Pope Francis said in a public service announcement published on August 18 that “receiving the vaccines authorized by the respective authorities is an act of love. And helping the majority of people to do so is an act of love – love for oneself, love for our families and friends, and love for all people.

Thomas also noted the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops “”asserted moral acceptability vaccines against Covid.

“Parishioners are free to assert their right to declare conscientious objections on medical or moral grounds if they wish,” Thomas said.

Las Vegas is in Clark County, where the Southern Nevada Health District on Wednesday reported that the county had surpassed 300,000 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

Controversy over fetal cell lines

Discussion of the church’s position on vaccines began early in the distribution and focused on the use of fetal cell lines in research and production.

The month before receiving a vaccine in January, Pope Francis said that “the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in vaccine production are derived.”

But in March, some Catholic bishops raised concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and urged members to get another vaccine when available.

the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as at least 6 other dioceses across the country have issued statements expressing “moral concerns” about the shooting due to its use of laboratory-grown cells descended from cells taken in the 1980s from the tissues of aborted fetuses.

Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna have used cell lines from fetal tissue to test their vaccines, but are not used in the manufacture or production of vaccines, while fetal cell lines have been used in ‘development, confirmation and the production ”of Johnson & Johnson, according to Dr. James Lawler. , an infectious disease expert at Nebraska Medicine.

These cells are thousands of generations removed from the original fetal tissue, Lawler said.

Johnson & Johnson used the fetal cell line they used because it is “a well-researched industry standard for the safe and reliable production of viral vector vaccines,” Lawler said.

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