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Canadian archbishop: Only fully vaccinated can attend Mass

By Kevin J. Jones for CNA

Coronavirus vaccine, stock image. / M-Foto/Shutterstock

Denver Newsroom, Sep 18, 2021 / 22:48 pm (CNA).

Anyone age 12 or over attending a gathering at Catholic churches, rectories or community centers under the responsibility of the Archdiocese of Moncton must present proof that they are fully vaccinated, the archdiocese announced Friday.

The new policy applies to all religious celebrations, Sunday and weekday Masses, baptisms, wedding and funerals, parish and pastoral meetings, catechesis, and social meetings.

The archdiocese’s announcement comes in the wake of new provincial government rules set to take effect Tuesday requiring proof of vaccination to access certain events, services, and businesses. Fewer than 50 people have died from COVID-19 in the province of New Brunswick since the pandemic began, out of a total population of more than 780,000, according to government statistics. But provincial officials say they are concerned about a recent uptick in cases and hospitalizations.

The New Brunswick rules apply to those 12 and older seeking to attend “indoor organized gatherings,” including weddings, funerals, conferences, workshops and parties, excepting parties at a private dwelling.

Other events requiring such proof include indoor festivals, performing arts and sports events; movie theaters, nightclubs, bowling alleys and casinos; gyms, indoor pools, and indoor recreation facilities; and indoor and outdoor dining and drinking at restaurants. Proof of vaccination also is needed to visit a long-term care facility.

Events, business and services must have proof of vaccination and government-issued identification from all participants and patrons aged 12 and older. Individuals who claim a medical exemption must show proof. Failure to follow the rules can be fined for amounts between $172 and $772 Canadian, about $135 to $605.

There have been 48 Covid-19-related deaths in New Brunswick out of some 3,200 total cases since the epidemic began. However, there are now some 370 active cases, higher than its previous peak of 348 on Jan. 25, CBC News reports. The province recently witnessed its largest single-day report of new COVID cases, when active cases jumped by 63.

About 17 people in the province are currently hospitalized, 10 of whom are in intensive care.

“As we are in the fourth wave of the pandemic, it is imperative that we do what is needed to protect our residents while living with the reality that the virus is still with us,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. The premier had loosened COVID restrictions on July 30.

“These changes are necessary to ensure that our province is able to remain in Green and avoid lockdowns, which we know are detrimental to businesses and people’s mental health. We also need to avoid overwhelming our health-care system. The vaccine is an effective tool that can help us combat this virus, but more people must get vaccinated to provide us all with better protection.

Dorothy Shephard, the provincial minister of health, met with religious leaders after the Sept. 15 announcement of the new rules, Archbishop Valery Vienneau of Moncton said Sept. 17.

“While explaining new guidelines, she indicated that they had only one goal: to increase the rate of people fully vaccinated in the province,” the archbishop said in a statement.

“We ask you to implement these new measures in each of your Christian communities not only to respect the government’s request but above all to help stop the spread of the virus among our population. We would not want one of our places of worship to be the location of a COVID exposure due to our negligence,” Archbishop Vienneau said. “The Minister of Health is counting on our cooperation.”

The archbishop said volunteers are expected to be at the church doors to ask attendees for full proof of vaccination and to collect their names. This list can be used again each Sunday to avoid repeated requests for proof of vaccination from repeat visitors.

“This list may eventually be requested by the government,” the archbishop noted.

The rules apply to everyone present, excepting those under age 12 who cannot be vaccinated.

The only possible other exception to this mandate is for someone with a proof of medical exemption, which is rare. Parish employees who do not seek vaccination must wear a mask at all times and take a COVID test periodically. Any parish office visitor may be asked to wear a mask if not vaccinated.

Health authorities are concerned that the vaccinated can still pass on the virus to vulnerable groups, like children too young to be vaccinated. Some 80% of new positive coronavirus cases in the province are among the unvaccinated. Over 77.5% of New Brunswick residents have been fully vaccinated, while over 86% have had at least one dose. The province’s population numbers over 750,000 people, about half of whom are Catholic.

The government aims for a vaccination rate of about 90% and the health minister aims to allow gatherings only of fully vaccinated people “to keep people safe and to act as an incentive for the unvaccinated,” the archbishop said. A return to previous measures like masking and social distancing is not being promoted for this reason, he reported.

Under the new rules, anyone entering New Brunswick will have to register with health authorities. Those who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate for 14 days or wait for a negative test 10 days into their stay.

A provincial bill to remove religious and philosophical exemptions from the mandatory vaccinations for schoolchildren narrowly failed last year and could be reintroduced.

Vaccine mandates have prompted debates among Catholics about conscientious exemption, the risks and benefits of the available COVID-19 vaccines, and the ethics and legality of vaccine mandates imposed by governments and employers, including some U.S. Catholic dioceses.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation” and therefore “must be voluntary.” In its December 2020 note, it said that the morality of vaccination depends on both the duty to pursue the common good and the duty to protect one’s own health, and that “in the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination.”

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  1. Take care of your own house of falling cards, your eminence, start with the “cardinal” Mccarrick’s in your inner circle, then perhaps you can tell us who can/can’t attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  2. The Canadians continue to disappoint with their brutal suppression of thew free practice of religion. Usually this garbage originates in the government but in this case the church weighs in with yet another action indicating that the needs of the body are superior to the needs of the soul. 50 people dead in a population of 780,000?? How many of those were over 95 and already had one foot in the grave by virtue of previously existing conditions? Its clear the Archbishop is pandering ( or maybe just has rocks in his head) and in my opinion should be removed from office for hindering numbers of the faithful from attending church.People who are afraid to appear in public should just stay home. There is no guarantee of 100% safety. Even the vaccinated have had break-through cases. I have been vaccinated, but there have been enough people who have had serious reactions to question why either the government or the church is trying to force this issue. This Archbishop should be pulled from office. Blackmail is especially disgusting when perpetrated by a high churchman.

  3. Where does this end? Those who live in this archbishop’s archdiocese should be looking for a canon lawyer to help them exercise their right to the sacraments under canon law. There has to be a way to put an end to these abuses of leadership.

  4. But I’m pretty sure the Archbishop is good with women on birth control pills, IUDs, condoms in men’s wallets and the like.
    The Church will not recover from this any time soon.

  5. Catholics are obligated to attend mass, yet are forbidden to do so for a refusal to take what is without question a morally problematic product. Madness. Unbelievers, and those unapologetically steeped in mortal sin can enter churches but not those refusing the so-called vax, even if on grounds of conscience? If the devil isn’t behind this, how would it be any different if he was? People of faith, stand tall and trust in the Lord your God who is your anchor and shield.

  6. Wow. Just Wow. The construction crew continues to build a house of cards in which bishops may dwell. The number of bishops on that crew grows larger day by day.

    The counterfeit church continues apace.

  7. As I have predicted for years, the highest authorities in the Church will join with the globalist mega-states in persecuting Christians around the world. With the Pope having sold out the Chinese Catholics to the CCP, it is clear that the same malign spirit who reigns over this world now outwardly governs the Church.

  8. This is truly dissapointing to those unvaccinated whose freedoms have already been taken away. Now we can’t attend Mass and those that can will have to show papers at the door. When did Canada become a Communist country?

  9. “This list may eventually be requested by the government,” the archbishop noted. What other lists will the archbishop eventually hand over to the government? Those who are against gay marriage? Those who know that abortion is murder? Those who think that human beings are born either male or female? This hireling archbishop is setting a very disturbing precedent. The hirelings in charge of most dioceses these days would never have won a martyr’s crown … if they can’t even endure criticism. What a shameful, spineless crowd!

  10. He means salvation
    Only fully vaccinated can be saved is the new Catholic dogma.Hyperbole?
    Not when a successor or the apostles raises it to the level of necessity for reception of the sacraments

  11. 1. Natural Immunity from having had Covid 19 is stronger than vaccine. The refusal of media and political leaders in North America to acknowledge this is the single greatest smoking gun.
    2. We are still in a test phase of the vaccine. It is negatively effecting fertility in women of child-bearing age; heart conditions in young men.
    3. Vaccine is not living up to its proposed good as the booster is needed. You can’t outrun a virus as it constantly mutates.
    4. Deaths as a % of population in Moncton are miniscule; how many over age 75? How many with preexisting conditions?
    5. Canada is not necessarily communist, but rather a soft dictatorship. In the name of fear and safety authorities manipulate the virus to control the people. Same is happening in many parts of USA. Govt already controls content of education in Catholic Schools in Canada.
    6. Faithful are going to be denied sacraments because of not being vaccinated.
    7. What happens when a priest visits a sick or dying person in his/her home for the sake of Anointing of the sick? Will the priest be silenced? Faculties removed? Stripped of his ability to present himself as a priest in public?
    8. Vaccine is the tool to make Church a puppet of the state (Communist China). Only those who comply with state can worship in public.
    9. plainly evident in Canada, California, NY and NV among other locations that the virus is being used to silence Christianity, notably the Catholic Church.

  12. “ 1. Natural Immunity from having had Covid 19 is stronger than vaccine.”

    A relative who is in her 90’s got her two injections as soon as they were available. She just had COVID (mercifully a very mild case). Now they are planning to give her the booster shot, too, and all I cane do is think, “Why?”

  13. I will never agree with ANY governmental interference related to the Church life except for temporary hygiene precautions. “Green (!) pass” is a personal freedom immoral limitation (and unconstitutional in many places!)!

  14. Government looking for 90% vaccinated. I think they mean 100%. They admit draconian measures are being used to incentivize the stubborn. They should admit it was always the vaccine plan ; to ask first, then demand. They will not tolerate any exceptions; the fear and loathing of the unvaccinated is only growing. The Bishop appears more worried about worldly approval and physical things, saving souls not so much.

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