The Roman Catholic Church’s position on the COVID-19 vaccine surprised me – TommieMedia

(Lane Kennedy/TommieMedia)

There is a certain moral consideration in people’s day-to-day decision-making. It’s as easy as deciding to buy a fast fashion brand, or as difficult as indicting a criminal while serving as a jury member.

The moral dilemma regarding the recent COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most recent considerations to take into account. The question of whether or not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is perhaps the biggest divide in our country today and has caused major outcry in schools, work environments, travel and daily life.

Personally, it was a shock to find that the Catholic Church supported the COVID-19 vaccine. My previous biases against the Catholic Church regarding burning issues such as gay marriage and abortion rights led me to believe that the Church would be on the opposite Republican side of another burning issue. I agree with the position of the Catholic Church on the COVID-19 vaccine, but on other issues I disagree with their positions.

It’s no secret that those who oppose the vaccine tend to lean politically to the right, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report in September that found 58% of Republicans had been vaccinated, compared to 90% of Democrats. . The morals and ideals of the Catholic Church and the Republican Party seem to align on many issues; however, the COVID-19 vaccine appears to be a different story.

Catholics seem very willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, more so than some other religious affiliations in the United States. It may be because of the vaccine’s endorsement by Pope Francis, who has suggested that health care, including the COVID-19 vaccine, is a moral obligation. Pope Francis has urged church members to get vaccinated as “an act of love for oneself, love for our families, our friends and all people.”

This stance toward vaccines is not new to the church. Looking at past vaccines, the Catholic Church’s undeniable support for vaccines was evident during the 1918 flu pandemic, also known as the Spanish Flu, which killed 50 million people.

One group that has a fairly high rate of vaccine acceptance is white Catholics in the United States, with 68% already vaccinated or planning to be vaccinated, according to a survey released by the Public Religion Research Institution in April 2021. C That was more than the 43% of white evangelical Protestants or the 60% of citizens with no religious affiliation who are vaccinated.

The Catholic Health Association is using the phrase #LoveThyNeighbor as part of a campaign to encourage vaccination within the Catholic community, as well as others willing to listen.

The Catholic community’s endorsement of the vaccine is evident even in St. Thomas, as our school requires students on campus to be vaccinated this school year. St. Thomas employees must also be vaccinated, although participation in events, sports games and other activities now does not require proof of vaccination.

The Catholic Church’s frequent alignment with the political right in America has caused me to be surprised by its support for the COVID-19 vaccine. Digging deeper into the party affiliation of the Catholic Church, I found that American Catholics are sharply split across parties in a 2019 poll, which still surprised me a bit.

The circumstances surrounding the vaccine are simple. Like the varicella, polio and influenza vaccine, it is an act of love for ourselves, our families and our community. Everyone should look to the Catholic Church as a positive example in reaching an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Macy Berendsen can be reached at [email protected]

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