CV NEWS FEED // Concerned Catholic parents have launched a petition confronting the Archdiocese of Washington over its unbending vaccination requirements, including for children in the region’s Catholic schools.
The petition, addressed to the Archdiocese of Washington Superintendent of Catholic School, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, and the Archdiocese itself, was launched by an anonymous “concerned parent.”
“We, the undersigned, parents and faithful of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, have undertaken to fulfill our God-given right and duty to educate our children fully in the Catholic faith,” the petition states. “Moreover, we recognize our fundamental right to choose a school for our children, which corresponds to our convictions and best assists us in our task as first educators.”
The petition goes on to ask the archdiocese “to guarantee us these parental rights by ensuring us the ‘concrete conditions for its exercise,’ namely by granting us freedom of conscience in the decision-making on behalf of our children,” including “the freedom to request and to obtain a religious exemption for any vaccinations that, in conscience, we believe are morally and ethically compromised.”
The petitioners state that they have a right to conscientiously object to and opt out of COVID-19 shots that they believe to be morally compromising due to their connection with the use of aborted fetal cells. “In taking this stand against any morally compromised vaccines, we are sincerely seeking to bear public witness to the undeniable pre-eminence of the right to human life,” the petition states:
It is unacceptable and constitutes “coercion of conscience” that any Catholic school should require students to obtain morally objectionable vaccines for admission. Even if, as a matter of general principles, it is not always morally illicit to use abortion-tainted vaccines temporarily, the use of such vaccines must never be advanced as mandatory, or as a universal duty, especially for the admission of children to a Catholic education.
Citing official documents from the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the petitioners point out that it “violates our rights as laity, to be forced to submit to a moral coercion of our conscience, which is a grave violation, on pain of forfeiting a Catholic education for our children in the Archdiocese of Washington.”
The petitioners also point out that, without Catholic parents and Christian institutions taking stands against unethical practices like the use of aborted children in research, “pharmaceutical companies will not change their research programs—they will continue to do what is easiest for them….”
The petition concludes with a series of requests – various ways in which the signatories believe the archdiocese ought to change direction:
Therefore, we strongly enjoin the Archdiocese of Washington to align diocesan policies fully with the official teachings of the Catholic Church and officially promulgated Canon Law which:
– entrust to parents the education and choice of Catholic education for one’s children;
– uphold the dignity of human life from conception until natural death;
– affirm the primacy of obedience to one’s well-formed conscience;
– respect a person’s informed judgments about the proportionality of medical interventions unless they contradict authoritative Catholic moral teachings;[vii]
– maintain the general moral duty to refuse the use of medical products, including certain vaccines, that are produced or tainted by human cells lines derived from direct abortions;[viii]
– determine that vaccination is not morally obligatory in principle, even in consideration of the common good, and so must be voluntary.[ix]
In closing, we expect full acknowledgement of this petition by our Shepherd, and enjoin him to pastor the flock entrusted to him in truth and righteousness.
The Archdiocese of Washington “has historically not allowed religious exemptions of any kind and very rarely has accepted medical exemptions,” one concenred Catholic told CatholicVote. “Personally, I know many families that have been refused the benefit of a solid Catholic education in the archdiocese on account of these unconscionable policies:”
With the heated debate around potential COVID vaccine mandates in the archdiocese, it is becoming increasingly urgent that parents are provided full medical freedom in decision making for their children and the right to a conscientious objection to the use of vaccines that are morally compromised.
Readers who would like to read or add their signatures to the petition can find it here.