CV NEWS FEED // Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, KY, has ordered priests under his authority to publicly announce if they are not vaccinated. Further, Bishop Stowe has forbidden unvaccinated priests to minister to the sick and the homebound.
A deacon at the Cathedral of Christ the King reported Bishop Stowe’s order at the end of Mass Sunday. “The bishop has asked that Fr. David and I … and Fr. John, I’m speaking for Fr. John, make an announcement that we are not vaccinated,” the deacon said from the pulpit just before the final blessing:
so people could decide if they want to attend Masses where we’re celebrating. And also, the priests, and this has been done throughout the diocese, those priests that are not vaccinated are to follow the COVID protocol in the Liturgy, and they are not allowed to visit the sick or elderly that are homebound. Fr. John and Fr. David, again, have not been vaccinated.
Bishop Stowe appears to have been present during the announcement, and was the celebrant of this particular Mass.
After theology doctoral student John Monaco shared a video of the incident on social media, Catholic reactions varied. Some fully supported the bishop’s decision, many of them expressing anger at the priests for not having submitted to the vaccine. “The priests should be ashamed for putting their flock at risk,” tweeted one.
Others expressed shock that Bishop Stowe would “humiliate” or “publicly shame” the priests over their vaccine status.
“I’m embarrassed at this discrimination,” tweeted Catholic commentator Leticia Velasquez.
“This is evil. It looks like a humiliation ritual enforced by the bishop,” tweeted Twitter user “Mrs. H.” “God bless the deacon and priest.”
“The irrational and spiritually sickening scapegoating that is going on in our society right now will end VERY BADLY,” tweeted Catholic historian Joshua Charles.
A more moderate comment came from Twitter user “Larabel1.” “This is my parish and these are my priests and that is my bishop,” she wrote. “Please pray for my priests, who are good men and have been publicly shamed, and for my bishop, who could have handled this better.”
Readers can watch a video clip of the deacon’s announcement below.