One of the leading pro-life bishops in the Catholic Church in America has come out against mandatory COVID shots.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas issued a statement on August 27 arguing that institutions that require Americans to receive the jab would violate foundational human rights.
“A society that fails to respect the rights of conscience lacks a key element of the common good,” Naumann said.
“I urge all to exercise charity towards others regarding COVID-19 vaccination mandates … [t]o punish people who have a sincere difference of opinion is not Christian.”
Although Naumann admitted that he himself has “become vaccinated” and that he encourages others to as well, he firmly believes people have a right to not receive the jab.
“The Church has reaffirmed in her authoritative teaching documents … that persons have a serious obligation to form their consciences well and to obey a well-formed conscience under the pain of sin,” he said.
“It is important that we reflect on the gravity of the violation involved in coercing a person to do something that he or she believes to be wrong.”
Naumann currently serves as the chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. bishops conference. By publishing his statement, he joins Catholic bishops in Wisconsin, Colorado, South Dakota, and elsewhere in support of persons morally opposed to receiving the shot.
But several liberal Catholic prelates in the United States have taken the complete opposite approach to the experimental vaccine.
Chicago’s Blasé Cupich, who recently banned a priest from praying the St. Michael Prayer out loud after Mass, is forcing all employees and clergy in his archdiocese to receive the shot or face possible “disciplinary action.”
He’s also stated that Catholics have a “moral obligation” to be injected with the jab, which Bishop Athanasius Schneider has described as a possible “prefiguration” of the mark of the beast spoken about in the Book of Revelation.
Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, who serves as the director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, informed EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo in a recent interview that “the Church has been clear that vaccination, as a rule, is not a moral obligation.”
U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops President Jose Gomez of Los Angeles has also instructed clergy in his archdiocese to not issue exemption letters for Catholics who are opposed to receiving the experimental jab.
In his statement, Naumann explained that “the natural law requires all of us to discern carefully right from wrong in conscience as well as to pursue the common good.”
He concluded by saying, “with so many others, I pray for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. I also pray that in combatting this epidemic, we do not create an additional victim, the rights of conscience.”
Stephen Kokx, M.A., is a journalist for LifeSiteNews. He previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago under the late Francis Cardinal George. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching and politics. His essays have appeared in such outlets as Catholic Family News and CatholicVote.org.