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Bishops in Colorado back conscientious exemption for coronavirus vaccines

The Catholic bishops in Colorado have emphasized the need to respect those with conscientious objections to the COVID-19 vaccines and have provided a template letter for any Catholics with objections to mandatory vaccination. They also welcomed the City of Denver’s vaccination mandate for including a religious exemption.

“In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, we are convicted that the government should not impose medical interventions on an individual or group of persons. We urge respect for each person’s convictions and personal choices,” the Colorado Catholic Conference said in an Aug. 6 letter signed by Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver and his fellow bishops in the state.

The Catholic conference noted its previous affirmation that the use of some COVID-19 vaccines is “morally acceptable under certain circumstances.” It also stressed its cooperation with secular authorities and encouragement for Catholics to help each other and to help society “remain healthy and safe during this challenging time.”

“We understand that some individuals have well-founded convictions that lead them to discern they should not get vaccinated,” said the Catholic conference. “We are pleased to see that in the case of the most recent Denver vaccine mandate there is accommodation for sincerely held religious beliefs. This is appropriate under the laws protecting freedom of religion.”

“We always remain vigilant when any bureaucracy seeks to impose uniform and sweeping requirements on a group of people in areas of personal conscience,” said the bishops, adding, “human rights violations and a loss of respect for each person’s God-given dignity often begin with government mandates that fail to respect the freedom of conscience.”

More than 70% of eligible Coloradans have been vaccinated. In January Archbishop Aquila shared on the internet a photo of his first shot of the Moderna vaccine to his Facebook page to help encourage Catholics “to prayerfully consider receiving one once they are eligible.”

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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