San Yuan (Agenzia Fides) - So far, 4,459,946 people around the world have died of Covid-19. In Puerto Rico, 2,742 people have died and a total of 164,179 have been infected. And those numbers continue to rise, as do hospitalizations. The Bishops' Conference of Puerto Rico recalled this in a document dated August 24, 2021 and in this context linked the numerous speeches by Pope Francis in which he emphasized that vaccination is "an act of love, an act of charity" towards oneself and towards one's neighbor, in favor of the common good and that there should be no ethical or moral concerns or conflicts of conscience.
"The Governor's request to public and private employees to be vaccinated against this pandemic - underlines the text sent to Fides - does not contradict the teachings of the Church or the statements and actions of Pope Francis in relation to vaccination against Covid-19". The Governor has provided a vaccination exemption for employees and students whose religion prohibits this vaccination. As some lay people have asked priests, deacons or pastoral workers to declare that the moral teaching of the Catholic Church speaks against this vaccination, the bishops of Puerto Rico expressly affirm: "Priests, deacons or pastoral workers of the Church should not confirm any such exceptions which have no basis in the moral teaching of the Church".
On the basis of the Magisterium of the Church and the words of the Holy Father, the Bishops of Puerto Rico therefore communicate a series of decisions that affect the unvaccinated: compulsory registration at liturgical celebrations; exclusion from pastoral activities of the community; from September 15th, all priests and deacons presiding over the liturgy must be vaccinated, or at least have received the first dose of the vaccine.
"Although believers are responsible for their own actions, we must politely warn them that they must not use the moral teachings of the Catholic Church as a basis for refusing vaccinations. All employees and volunteers who work continuously in our dioceses or offer their work, have to be vaccinated by September 15th, otherwise they are not allowed to continue their service". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 27/8/2021)