Quebec bishops lament government’s COVID vaccine passport for Mass attendance

Jonah McKeown   By Jonah McKeown for CNA

 

Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec, speaks at the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 7, 2021. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Montreal, Canada, Feb 9, 2022 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

The Catholic bishops of Quebec, while registering their opposition to the province’s imposition of COVID-19 vaccine passports as a requirement to attend religious services, said this week that they accept the requirement for now, and continue to petition the government to end it.

“[I]t seems reasonable to us in the present circumstances to accept certain compromises that contribute to the safety and health of all,” the bishops wrote in a Feb. 3 statement.

“For the moment, we accept that vaccination passports are required to access worship spaces, even if this measure upsets us deeply. However, we remain in contact with government authorities to remind them that this requirement goes against our beliefs and to ensure that it will be lifted as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Quebec’s vaccine passport system, whereby an electronic record functions as a pass for vaccinated individuals to access certain places or activities, has been in place since Sept. 1, 2021.

The bishops noted that Dignitatis humanae, the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on religious freedom, said that the human person has a right to religious freedom, whereby “no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to their own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.”

The bishops qualified their statement by noting that religious freedom “may exceptionally be subject to temporary restrictions for the common good.”

Under Quebec Premier François Legault’s staggered reopening plan, houses of worship were reopened Feb. 7. By Feb. 21, places of worship will be allowed to operate in Quebec at 50% capacity with a maximum of 500 people, with the vaccine passport system.

The current numerical limit is 250 people, and attendees at religious services must stay in their seat and not move around, the guidance reads.

Most COVID restrictions will be lifted by March 14 under the current plan, excepting the province’s mask mandate and its vaccine passport system.

The bishops said that in meetings of a statewide interreligious council, they have “insisted” that people attending Mass be exempted from the requirement of the vaccination passport, “aware as we are of the negative effects of its imposition on our communities.”

“We recognize that many faithful believe that this requirement constitutes an intolerable discrimination that deprives unvaccinated people of their right to religious freedom. This exclusion seems to them to be incompatible with the very essence of a community of believers, called to be welcoming, compassionate and open to diversity,” the bishops wrote.

Over 85% of Quebec residents have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of the start of the year. COVID-19 hospitalizations in Quebec have dropped from 3,400 to 2,400 in the past three weeks, Legault says.

Legault announced a health tax on the unvaccinated in January. A curfew was lifted the same month.

Other Canadian provinces, such as Alberta and Saskatchewan, recently announced plans to end their vaccination passport systems and mask mandates.


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2 Comments

  1. Yes, the Bishops “lament” the vaccine passport requirement , but for now because its easy, they will roll over and play dead for the government and accept the restriction. As for the unvaccinated believer, “oh well”. Not the Bishops problem I guess. And if church attendees are to “remain in their seat and not move around” one wonders how they get communion? Or, do they NOT get communion? “Oh well”. Maybe the unvaxxed should just shut up and go away, right? Or, they can watch Mass on TV, and if they cant access communion that way, “oh well.” And they have a “health tax” now on the unvaccinated? I invite those canadians who object to paying the tax to join us here in the US. You must after all, be the only Canadians with a spine, except for your truckers. Our borders are wide open. Our US leaders dont care if illegal immigrants have a shot or covid anyway, so there will be no problem.

  2. “The bishops qualified their statement by noting that religious freedom “may exceptionally be subject to temporary restrictions for the common good.”

    That only works if there is a higher good than God. Is there?

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