Catholics and conscience in the midst of fear and coercion

The story of how and why Karin Smith—a registered nurse who has worked at multiple hospitals, two nursing homes, and a Catholic elementary school—lost her job and was shamed for refusing the COVID vaccines.

(Image: Luke Jones/Unsplash.com)

In late March 2020, Eric “Smith” 1 was getting his sixth-grade theology class ramped up on Zoom. The plan for the day was to build sufficient student understanding of the ten commandments first, then set up discussion of the virtues and deadly sins. While it sounds like pretty heady material for 11-year-olds, such is the stuff of quality preK-8 Catholic education. Our Lady of Mercy School’s mission is to develop “saints and scholars” and though that academic year was his first at this East Greenwich, Rhode Island school, Mr. Smith was all in. With experience as a Catholic educator dating back to 2007, he knew what he was doing. Armed with a Socratic approach and heavy emphasis on asking questions, Mr. Smith aimed to get his students thinking aloud. And he regularly succeeded in prompting discussion, argument and counterargument. I know because I listened to him teach for the better part of three months that spring.

During that now infamous semester, I was on research sabbatical from my college teaching position. When Rhode Island shut down on March 13 and OLM transitioned to online learning, my wife and I scurried to make space for our two older daughters in our home office. Our oldest was in Mr. Smith’s class. Halfway through her first year of middle school, she had declared her love for the liberal arts and theology was a favorite. She credited Mr. Smith with motivating a desire to better understand her faith. He was very funny but also tough. He challenged her to think. And ever since those few months of distance learning, I will admit that he has challenged me to think, too.

While Mr. Smith was helping students adjust to their new learning environment, his wife was attending to patients at Our Lady of Fatima, a hospital once operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese in North Providence. Like her husband, Karin was a life-long Rhode Islander. Over the course of her 25 years as a registered nurse, she had worked at multiple hospitals, two nursing homes and a Catholic elementary school. When the pandemic arrived, Karin’s experience gave her assurance. She shares that she wasn’t particularly worried about contracting COVID from a patient. It would have been like “a ship captain fearing the sea,” she says. And that means something coming from this mother of four, including two adult children currently serving in the Navy as Masters-at-arms.

But very early on, Karin observed that hospital administrators seemed somewhat less prepared. Rather than leading with calm and prudence, they were frenzied by fear. This tone at the top wasn’t particularly productive given that these same administrators were unable to provide the much-needed personal protective equipment we have all since heard so much about. Nurses at Fatima waited for N95 masks for over a month, during which time only disposable masks were issued. When N95s did become available, administrators rationed them. Concerned about the expense of N95s, administrators distributed what Karin said looked like “WW II-style rubber gas masks.” Difficult to breathe through and virtually impossible to project one’s voice from, this equipment made RNs’ jobs harder. But the choice for nurses became either wear these rubber masks or purchase N95s at your own expense. It was a slog. But like those at hospitals around the country, these frontline heroes won the hearts of their community.

But by April 2020, Karin had started noticing some things. While reports of hospitals being overrun with patients drove fear, they were not a fair depiction of her experience. Hospital capacity is a function of patients (the numerator) and beds (the denominator). The number of nurses determines the number of beds available. Fewer nurses mean fewer beds. Accordingly, regardless of the severity of the contagion, Karin explains that capacity could be reached with a low staff census rather than a huge surge in patients. And while her hospital was seeing patients, she sensed that if Fatima was at capacity, it was driven by a small denominator rather than a huge numerator. This offered Karin some early, important insight into the landscape of COVID. It also prompted her to think about other things which may not be what they seemed.

This thought remained with Karin as she and Eric started thinking about early news reports covering the development of vaccines. The media was obsessed with this story and the general public was not far behind. Karin found herself at work having frequent question-riddled conversations. How fast could these vaccines be developed? How could vaccines be available in time given typical timelines and procedures? The group of nurses would ask each other about their willingness to get a shot. Could this program dubbed, “Operation Warp Speed” produce something safe? Was it possible they would be forced to take the shot? According to Karin, in the beginning, most of her colleagues were leery, at best. “Emergency use” authorizations didn’t help. A general feeling was that these shots were seemingly experimental and would come without the data and clinical studies that typically accompanied tried and tested vaccines. This made Karin and her colleagues uncomfortable.

As a Catholic, Karin also thought about St. Paul and his admonition that one should never do evil with the hope that good might come of it. Would the production of these vaccines, in some way, involve the use of cells from an aborted baby?

As time went on and speculation over the shots transitioned to reality, it became clear that the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer products would each be available in Rhode Island. Karin and Eric spent long hours researching these products in an effort to responsibly and prudentially discern the right course of action. They learned from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that the J&J shot was, in fact, “developed, tested” and “produced with abortion-derived cell lines.” Given the moral gravity of abortion and the destruction of human life it entails, Karin and Eric knew that this was not an option for them. In fact, the USCCB advised Catholics to only consider the J&J if no other options were possible and Bishop Tobin, their local bishop in Providence, publicly said the same.

The new mRNA vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer presented another challenge to conscience. While neither of these products used abortion-derived cell lines in production, both used abortion-derived cell lines during testing. If evil should not be done in the hope of good, was this a distinction without a difference? If every human life has dignity, should a manufacturer use cells from an aborted baby—a human life ended through abortion—in any way? Does the fact that the cells were used to test the product rather than to produce the product make any difference?

The Catholic Medical Association and the National Association of Catholic Nurses didn’t think so. In their joint statement earlier that year, the Catholic Medical Association and National Association of Catholic Nurses explicated: “If a vaccine has been developed, tested or produced with technology that an individual deems morally unacceptable, such as the use of abortion-derived fetal cell lines, vaccine refusal is morally acceptable.” In fact, the Vatican itself offered its December 2020 statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in which it emphasized: “practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.”

Whatever Karin decided, it was quite clear to her based on the CDF’s statement: her choice “must be voluntary.” Free from coercion and force.

On August 10, 2021, the state of Rhode Island declared otherwise. That day, Governor Dan McKee decreed that all staff at state-licensed health care centers would be required to be vaccinated. For Karin, a year of praying over the situation came down to this: get the shot by October 1st or be fired.

She says now that she had plenty of company. Up to that point, many of her colleagues had chosen to remain unvaccinated. After the coercive mandate, few were left.

Just under two months later, before Thanksgiving, my two oldest daughters—now both in different sections of Mr. Smith’s middle school theology class—came home with a sad announcement. Mr. Smith was leaving. Eric explains that when Karin lost her job, the Smiths lost an important second income. With two younger children still at home, it was “stay and starve” or leave. Not much of a choice.

We’re reminded of Matthew’s gospel: “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town” (Matt 10:14). And so, they did. At the start of Advent, Eric and Karin Smith packed up their two younger children and left the state in which they had lived their entire lives.

Rhode Island’s loss is Florida’s gain.

Less than a month later—on January 3, 2022—the state of Rhode Island made an announcement. Due to significant staffing shortages, it would begin allowing COVID-positive medical staff to continue treating patients.

Said again: three months after firing unvaccinated staff, Rhode Island announced it is allowing COVID-positive, vaccinated nurses to come to work. But COVID-negative, unvaccinated nurses remain persona-non-grata.

Dr. Megan Ranney—an ER doctor and physician at Brown University—wanted to emphasize something important about the need to change policy when she spoke with WPRI Channel 12 in Providence: “I want to be clear—it’s not because of the vaccine mandates.” She reiterates that it’s due to a long-term nursing shortage and explains, “It’s really because people are burnt out and tired. And because some of our nurses and other staff can make more money going to other states.”

But Karin herself had noticed the effect of this nursing shortage two years earlier and, interestingly, it was never offered then as an explanation in media stories about hospitals being at capacity. In terms of stress, one has to wonder if the anxiety of vaccine mandates and being forced to choose between getting a shot or losing one’s paycheck might contribute to burn-out. And does anybody believe that nurses like Karin left their positions because they were chasing a better paycheck?

People, of course, can disagree with the Smith’s decision. Many do—including many Catholics. Those people, of course, can and should make vaccine decisions for themselves. But is it right for them to shame and shun people like the Smiths? While many may find it easy to poo-poo abortion-related concerns and moral questions about cooperating with evil, should they scoff at documented cases of myocarditis among vaccinated men? Should they say that the recent study of 6,000 vaccinated women in Norway which found that 40% reported menstrual cycle oddities following the shot are anti-science?

What can be said about a culture in which shaming the unvaccinated has become the norm? Such vilification is so widespread that it is impossible to exhaustively document.

President Biden offers one example. Despite the data clearly revealing something quite different, his practice of declaring this a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” is bizarre at best, dystopian at worst. I suppose one has to add that doing so while also declaring himself a “good Catholic” is another matter altogether.

Whether our president sets the tone or merely follows, is hard to say. But the Washington Post is on the same page, urging its readers to make life “a living hell” for the unvaccinated. CNN’s Don Lemon says unvaccinated people should be “left behind”; he encourages his viewers to “shame” them and call them “stupid.” MSNBC’s Joy Reid thinks companies should pay unvaccinated people less. Michael Hiltzik, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, says that mocking COVID-deaths among any unvaccinated is “necessary.” Arthur Caplan—ironically the “Ethics Director” of the NYU Grossman School of Medicine—told CNN that the unvaccinated should not be treated as “equals.” He encourages people to “condemn them”, “shame them” and “blame them.”

And, unfortunately, such derision is not aimed only at adults. Nor does it come from just secular perpetrators. My two oldest daughters, both unvaccinated, have been on the receiving end while serving as altar servers at our church. Personally interrogated by a lector on one occasion, indirectly ridiculed by an usher on another occasion. Around that same time, my oldest was pulled aside by an elderly, obese lady at our local pool club and scolded, “you’ll see—COVID is going to get you!” she said as she waved her crooked finger. Nice. Especially coming from a 75-year-old churchgoer.

But Dr. Marc Siegel, Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center confirms to Fox News that all of these people have it wrong. “This is spreading regardless of vaccination,” adding “those comments are ignorant and out of date.”

That may be true, but it didn’t stop many of our nation’s colleges and universities—even Catholic schools among them—from suggesting last fall that mandating vaccines for students was necessary because of the risk that being unvaccinated posed to others. Many of these schools are now using the same reasoning to require boosters.

But, in fact, the data reveals a very different story. Despite being instructed to think of vaccine efficacy as being beyond question, we now know that whatever protection vaccines provide against being infected and transmitting the disease to others dissipates quickly. Johnson & Johnson admitted at the start of this year that COVID cases among those who received the shot are not rare. Data from the UK show that less than five months after shots are administered, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are only 10% effective against infection and transmission. In western Europe, where many countries tout 90% vaccination rates, COVID infection from Omicron is soaring. Iceland has a 91% vaccination rate in its population of those over 12 years old (50% of people there even have the booster). Data there shows that it isn’t just that the number of vaccinated people testing positive for COVID exceeds the number of unvaccinated people testing positive, it is that the rate of COVID infection among the vaccinated (that is per capita) dwarfs the rate of COVID infection among the unvaccinated. Researchers in Denmark are finding the same thing. And so is the government of Ontario.

Now, we don’t know why this is happening. Some wonder if this indicates that—over time—vaccines provide negative immunity and speculate that the vaccine, for some reason, might make one more likely to be infected by Omicron. For now, that will remain an empirical question until more data is available. But it is a question. And having poured over a considerable amount of data in the more than twenty years since I began doing so as a doctoral student, I know that asking questions like this is not anti-science—it’s actually the very definition of empirical science.

As a marketer, I think I also have a sense for why many vaccinated people are so angry—and, yes—that is what they are: angry. And, to a degree, that may be understandable.

A year ago, the industrialized world embarked on a sophisticated communications campaign to vaccinate every living human being on the planet. There was reasonable question how to do it—there had never been a global messaging effort of this type in the history of mankind. What strategy would work to convince modern men and women that a shot developed in unprecedented time using new mRNA technology was safe? Especially given today’s consumer had spent the past 30 years watching pharmaceutical ads detailing the medium and long-term side-effects of any and every drug on the market, how could people be convinced that somehow this brand-new drug was the only drug without unintended consequences? And, of course, people wouldn’t get a vaccine if they didn’t think it would be highly effective, so stressing efficacy was important.

Marketers had the advantage of selling into a culture of fear, so it was likely a high percentage of people would be motivated to get the shot but probably needed a nudge to overcome any hesitancy over safety. Knowing that today’s consumers are very self-focused while wanting to appear very altruistic, the communication experts decided it best to anchor their strategy around primarily a humanitarian appeal with a secondary appeal to protecting oneself. The goal was to tap into citizens’ desire for self-preservation and protecting their own health but do so through emphasizing that the primary interest is protecting others, especially the most vulnerable. This strategy appeals to one’s proclivity to virtue signal and appear benevolent while still addressing the real concern for one’s own health. Win-win.

There was, of course, a flaw in this approach. It is nonsensical to sell people on getting the shot to protect others more vulnerable when the more vulnerable others can get the shot themselves. Marketers took a bet that the government and the media would help distract attention from this flaw by constructing semi-plausible counter-arguments which a public—with an eagerness to virtue signal—would buy. This worked for a while until the accumulation of global data made the truth hard to deny: vaccinated people were able to contract and transmit COVID to others. The humanitarian aspect of the appeal was beginning to unravel.

At the same time, marketers were left with another problem: emerging data was also beginning to demonstrate that the shot was not even very effective at offering protection to the person getting the shot. Messaging had to then change toward emphasizing that getting the shot helps to prevent against one’s own chances of being hospitalized or dying from COVID. Of course, now that the number of those vaccinated and hospitalized has gone up, the message has again changed—updated to make sure everyone knows that hospitalizations “with” COVID are different from hospitalizations “from” COVID. This, of course, had been true from the beginning of the pandemic but dismissed by the government and media because it hurt the narrative the communications team was trying to push.

The result of all of this is that vaccinated people must confront that they didn’t get vaccinated for anyone else but themselves and doing so won’t keep them from getting infected and may not even keep them out of the hospital. Which is to say that if I’m 80 and unwell, I’m probably still happy I took the vaccine. But if I’m 40, run five miles a day and have a resting heartbeat under 50, I may not be. And, I may be really ticked that I’m now being beckoned to take a booster, with Pfizer talking about a fourth shot sometime after that. When does it end?

Which brings us back to the story in Rhode Island. An interesting footnote to Karin Smith’s experience: following the state’s decision to allow COVID-positive, vaccinated staff to return to work to treat patients, two state-run facilities in Rhode Island immediately began implementing this policy. Just days later, one of those hospitals—Eleanor Slater Hospital in Cranston—reported a COVID outbreak infecting 14% of its 200 patients.

None of this reflects well on our culture. People like the Smiths don’t deserve what happened to them. And the sad truth is that each of us share some blame in allowing it to happen. For Catholics—including some of the Church’s leadership both here and abroad who have quietly watched and sometimes even participated in the vilification of the unvaccinated—now is the time for some introspection. We might be angry at our own situation but, at a minimum, let’s not be cruel to others.

(Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CWR staff or of Ignatius Press.)

Endnote:

1 Last name changed to protect identity


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About Ronald L. Jelinek, Ph.D. 11 Articles
Ronald L. Jelinek, Ph.D., is a Professor of Marketing at Providence College. The opinions expressed here are his own.

20 Comments

  1. The author said that the rates of COVID infection in the vaccinated are higher then in the unvaccinated in Iceland, Denmark and Ontario. I tried a little to verify this but didn’t come across anything in the time allotted. Maybe someone can find links to this information. It could be that given the high percentage of vaccination rates in these populations that the probability of the virus getting close enough to unvaccinated people in such a population is sufficiently low to cause this rate. But to conclude or even suggest that this means negative vaccine immunity strikes me as tendentious given the many reports from other nations of lower case rates among the vaccinated. An example of such a report:

    https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-breakthrough-data

    My opinion is that those who oppose the use of these vaccines are making a mistake whenever they state that the vaccines don’t protect against infection and transmission. Given the many reports which show the shots do provide this protection even though it diminishes with time and was never perfect to begin with, it is some protection and is the best thing we know about right now to protect ourselves and others from a disease which for far too many harmful to the point of death.

    Thank you for your consideration,
    Timothy

    • The unvax’d I know are healthy–but that could be due to a certain lifestyle. The vax’d people I know have all gotten sick, but not seriously. But that’s just my little area. The local hospital claims most of the hospitalized are unvax’d–the problem is I don’t know if their definition is the one that I would use.
      .
      Having said that, anytime an article author makes a reference that “X group of people are more likely to get Y” then please, cite the study, a source, anything.
      .
      Here’s an article: https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/01/falling-apart-latest-health-data-scotland-mirrors-uk-unvaccinated-lower-covid-19-case-hospitalization-death-rates-fully-vaxxed/
      .
      Here’s the study/report from the gov’t for those who are not interested in a right-wing look at the article: https://publichealthscotland.scot/media/11223/22-01-19-covid19-winter_publication_report.pdf
      .
      Incidentally, Walensky already said the vax does not protect that well against infection and transmision. Hmm, so did the CEO of Pfizer. This does not encourage me to get the vaccine:
      .
      https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/08/06/cdc_director_vaccines_no_longer_prevent_you_from_spreading_covid.html#!
      .
      https://twitter.com/YALiberty/status/1480668523944820738?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1480668523944820738%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Ftownhall.com%2Ftipsheet%2Fkatiepavlich%2F2022%2F01%2F11%2Fpfizer-ceo-our-vaccines-offer-little-protection-n2601670
      .

    • Iceland data

      Ontario data

      Danish study: http://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.20.21267966v3.full

      As to your comment cautioning us against drawing conclusions – I agree. But that’s not what the article is doing. In fact, the article itself makes very clear that we don’t know why the data is showing what it’s showing. Very different from making conclusions, the article specifically says that we need more data to do that. But right now (as of January 24, 2022), both the Iceland data and the Ontario data are showing that the rate of infection among the vaccinated exceeds the rate of infection among the unvaccinated. And this has been the case for the past month – the two lines crossed about 4 weeks ago. Moreover, the Danish research team reports that vaccine effectiveness for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines drops below zero (goes negative) against Omicron. Now – again – we don’t know why any of this data is showing what it’s showing – we need more data to figure that out. But to dismiss it and suggest that it is “tendentious” to offer this information seems odd. To do so while directing people to look only at data coming from places like NY state (of all places!) does not seem very scientifically-minded.

      • Thanks for putting in these links so the data itself can be checked, rather than the author’s erroneous assertions.

        I looked at Iceland’s data. This is what i saw:

        Unvaccinated children have a much higher rate of Covid than vaccinated children. Win for the vaccines.

        Fully boosted adults have a much lower rate of Covid than unvaccinated adults, contrary to the author’s statement. Win for the vaccine+booster.

        Adults who were vaccinated but did NOT have the booster shot have a higher rate of Covid than unvaccinated adults at the moment. Win for the booster.

        This is easily explained: unvaccinated adults have had a higher rate of Covid the whole time. Now, many of them have some immunity, which lasts for a little while (a few weeks to a few months). So at the moment, fewer of them are vulnerable to the disease.

        Vaccinated adults without boosters were catching it at a lower rate previously, but now that their initial vaccines have worn off and they haven’t been boosted, they are again vulnerable to the disease. Since their vaccines had been protecting them and they didn’t catch it earlier, there are more of them now vulnerable to it at the moment.

        It should not be surprising that vaccine-induced immunity wanes, since natural immunity does. Hence the booster. This isn’t strange and it is true for other shots as well (TDAP and flu for example).

        I recommend the linked article below, and the further writings of this Catholic doctor on the subject, published by National Catholic Register recently (certainly not a “lefty” outfit).

        https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/a-physicians-letter-on-covid-19-vaccines-and-treatments-part-1

        If you don’t want to get the shot, just say you don’t want to, but trying to make it look like getting the shot is medically foolish or morally wrong doesn’t jibe with the data or with Catholic ethics.

        • Interesting response. And, I think, quite revealing.

          Let’s start with this: again, as of today, the data supports everything written in the article. Your desire to point to what the data offers about COVID rates in children (something the article doesn’t even get into) seems like an effort to redirect attention. Personally, I think it’s very worthwhile to debate COVID and children but that’s an entirely different article than the one written here. And any consideration of what a vaccine offers children should reasonably begin with what the vaccine seeks to protect children from. And data from around the world is quite clear: COVID presents little to absolutely no risk to children, something your response interestingly doesn’t mention.

          Back to the sample data discussed in this article: it supports what the article says. The COVID infection rate in these samples is higher in the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated (and it has been for over a month now). Rather than being able to refute the data, your response is to offer your theory as to why the data is saying what it saying. Now that is fine, but your response is simply a theory – it is not some irrefutable truth – you don’t offer data to support your theory, you offer your conjecture. Again, that is fine. But it doesn’t change what the data is showing. It simply provides your view of why you think the data says what it says. The article, on the other hand, explicitly says that only more data can provide a fuller explanation as to what is happening. I think that’s right – but it contrasts with your take – which apparently is that you’ve figured everything out and don’t need any additional information for you to know what you say you know. That isn’t science. It’s not even very sound reasoning. Let’s remember: Socrates himself suggested that the path to wisdom cannot be found in pretending to know what one doesn’t.

          Big picture? Who knows? Your theory may prove to be correct but it very well may not. Science is about asking questions. It’s not about pretending to have answers to questions one refuses to ask. And this article asks questions.

          While we’re on the subject, here are some other questions you might consider…

          You argue that we shouldn’t be surprised that vaccine-induced immunity wanes. You offer TDAP and the flu shots to support your contention. Question: do those who get either of those shots require boosters every 3-4 months infinitum for their immunity against those pathogens to remain robust?

          Another: if those who initially got those shots, don’t get the associated boosters, do those “vaccinated” against these pathogens then have higher rates of infection than those who never received the shots in the first place?

          As you’re considering your answer to these questions, pause for a moment and ask yourself – do you actually know the answers to those questions or are you just going to presuppose you do?

          Consider, for example, in the case of the flu shot, do those who get their flu shots have a higher rate of flu infection late in the season (when, as you are suggesting, the immunity offered by that shot has waned) relative to those who never received their seasonal flu shot? Because that is what the sample data provided here is now (as of Jan. 31) interestingly showing for the COVID shots.

          So, if your theory holds, it would suggest that those vaccinated against flu do have higher rates of flu infection relative to the unvaccinated late in the season and that this mRNA shot is performing no differently than the seasonal flu vaccine. If the data shows otherwise, however, it might reasonably prompt the question: why are these shots performing differently?

          You conclude by saying those who don’t want to get the shot should just say so (and, I’m inferring you’d like them to remain mum and not offer the questions which may have played a role in their reasoning). But, if you read the article, that is exactly what Karin Smith did. She said she didn’t want to get the shot and she lost her job for it. Do you think that’s right? Moreover, when the Catholic Church explicated that people’s vaccine decision “must be voluntary”, do you think the Church meant by that that Karin should lose her job for making the choice she made?

    • This was true early on, and again risk benefit was for the vulnerable, as it did not show reduction in transmission. With omicron the two shot regiment showed NO efficacy, see NEJM, and a booster may off short term protection anywhere from 2-weeks to 2-months. There are strong signals of vaccine harm, more deaths and harm than from all other vaccines from he last 30 years in the early warning system VARES. So facts and timing is important as science is a learning process.

  2. #1. When there was clearly a “rush to market” mentality surrounding the production of a Covid “vaccine” I immediately questioned what I knew from my professional experience: both efficacy and safety of new pharmaceuticals required rigorous proof before approval. When I then witnessed quick approval of these “vaccines,” I decided (even as a 72 year old) against taking it.

    #2. Apart from any fear of contracting Covid, I have a tremendously greater fear of how easily populations across the entire world so easily succumbed to the hype about needing to take the vaccine “no matter what” simply because it was what governments dictated (with support from a Pope operating outside his realm of expertise). I used to wonder how it was that the German government, then led by Nazis, were able to convince large numbers of seemingly rational German people to participate in the extermination of six million human persons. I no longer wonder. I now know the answer. I see now that the current government in Germany, as well as in almost all other nations, is no different from the Nazi government in the 30’s and 40’s. It’s frightening.

    #3. Karin and her family have been blessed by God for having given the opportunity to relocate to Florida with their family.

    (The views expressed here are my own and certainly do not reflect the views of my institutional Catholic Church as presently practiced…unfortunately)

    • When I was a kid and polio was affecting so many youngsters, I was given a vaccine that was developed by renowned doctors such as Salk. The vaccine PREVENTED one from contracting polio. This Covid vaccine (developed primarily with huge profit-taking in mind) is no vaccine at all since we know for a fact that it does not PREVENT a person from contracting the virus.

      I would be happy to take this Covid vaccine the same day that the shielding of the pharmaceutical companies from wrongful death and disability due to the vaccine is eliminated.

  3. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave the covid vaccines the all clear
    And it was endorsed by the Pope and nearly every Bishop
    The moral acceptability of the vaccines was unequivocal
    Unless the Catholic church had lost authority to instruct on moral issues (may be the case?) opposition to vaccination was a political or personal/pragmatic decision.

  4. This is the clearest and most cogent explanation of the heart breaking results of bad decisions and intrusive policies. It’s a shame that so many people will disregard it or cry “misinformation”.
    Thank you, Professor. God bless.

  5. I remain unvaccinated because of the connection of all the available “vaccines” to fetal cell lines derived from abortions. Joe Biden’s mandates are, fortunately, falling apart as more information is becoming available on the non-efficacy of the vaccines. I just turned 73 and have Crohn’s Disease and Stage 4 kidney disease, but I am ready to go home. I wear a KN-95 mask and take only the necessary risks for my physical and mental health. I believe that the only person I risk is me, and, as I wrote, I am ready for that. None of us lives forever here; rather, we live forever in heaven. Relinquishing my freedom to practice my faith here would, I think, jeopardize my living forever in heaven. I am not willing to risk that.

    • AMEN!!! I am doing the exact same thing. And I have Crohn’s, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, A-fib, etc. I don’t care about being “compromised” or at high risk. I am grateful for a lifetime of health challenges, as my own mortality is something I’ve faced for decades. It has also helped me to learn all about the Rx industry, and given me genuine friendships with several M.D.s who have been very up front with me regarding mRNA shots and all of their concerns with them. Great article!

  6. I wish the Smiths well in their new location in Florida. More and more, between dictatorial mandates from liberal govt here in NY and the soaring crime rate, Florida looks better and better to me. I am Catholic and not an anti-vaxxer. Am 67, got covid before the vaccines were developed, and lived to tell the tale. Was later vaccinated and boosted. I do believe however that NO ONE has any business trying to hold me or anyone else responsible for THEIR health. What I do is MY business, not yours. I am responsible for MY health, not yours.Want to wear a mask? Wear one, and stay out of my face if I choose not to. THAT is MY decision. Trying to force people to make health decisions because it is government mandated smacks of communism to me. As for “shaming”, you can only be shamed by the opinion of someone you respect. I have yet to have vaccine comments directed to me by anyone who fits that criteria. Quiet, normal people have unfortunately ceded the public square to the hysterical, the uninformed, the radical leftists and the crazy. Its time to stop hiding and speak up. If indeed this results in a move to Florida, I say, go, and enjoy the weather and the elevated tone of civility.

    • Yes, but please do us Floridians the courtesy of leaving your morally bankrupt leftist ideas in your home states when you come here. There’s a reason why things are working here. Don’t come and turn Florida into New York, politically or spiritually.

      • Truthfully, not all of us in NY are crazed leftists. Sadly, we are outnumbered by those who are. We now have a newly elected DA in NYC who made of point of saying he will prosecute almost NO crimes except murder. And a New Mayor, for whom many HAD held out hope. First day in office, HE pronounced the city’s big problem was “white supremacists”. This is an untrue fantasy that would be laughable if it wasn’t so distracting to the real crime problem at hand.As in California, people are trying to flee NY, especially NYC. With good reason. For the sake of the country as a whole, I agree with you. I hope they dont bring their leftist voting habits with them to the Red states. But I think many of those leaving are those who are fed up with leftist policies that not only dont work, but actively cause harm. .

  7. Doesn’t anyone recall Madonna’s odd performance in Israel, one year before the insanity was released, singing with all the gas masked characters fighting in black and white all as she sang and danced in it’s midst doing her witchiest? Who is organizing this “marketing”? Why do everyday Catholics market it themselves with the billboards( let alone vaxxes ) of fear strapped to their faces in ever increasing hypocritical fashion perpetually attempting to force it on others?

    Do we really think scientists in labs can so manipulate nature that they would have potential to eliminate enormous chunks of humanity rather than suspect that the owners of most world media are manipulating minds and that all you have to do to prevent them is to say “NO”? Do we think God has sent an angel of nature itself after us for a great harvest and that only “science” can save us? Despite millions upon millions of boomers up for harvest no matter the cause.
    Be not afraid! It is better to die in Christ and tell the truth than to live in fear of the worldly.

  8. I admire the Smith’s for their bravery to not only investigate but to make their own decisions. Even moving to another State. We are heading for a One World Government and a One World Religion. Its so obvious. How many out there realize that total submission even hostility of demanding vaccines or losing one’s job is only the beginning of worse things to come. We may soon be losing all our freedoms, especially to live our Catholic Faith.

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  1. Catholics and conscience in the midst of fear and coercion – Via Nova Media
  2. Catholics and conscience in the midst of fear and coercion – Catholic World Report – The Old Roman

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