A Catholic archbishop in the southern Philippines joined calls for people to get inoculated against the coronavirus disease, saying the COVID-19 vaccines are “morally acceptable.”
In a letter to the faithful on August 23, Archbishop Jose Cabantan of Cagayan de Oro said the Catholic Church teaches that vaccination against COVID-19 is moral.
The prelate said his directive “affirms the pronouncements” of Pope Francis, the Congregation for the Doctrine and Faith, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
“Vaccination is not just to protect one’s own health but also to promote the good within society,” he said.
The bishop said that in the absence of other means to stop and prevent the pandemic, the common good may recommend vaccination especially of the weakest and most exposed.
Quoting a statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Cabantan said “the act of vaccination can be ‘an act of charity… an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.’”
He said some people with comorbidities and those advised by their doctors may not avail of the vaccines.
“To these, and those who for reasons of conscience do not wish to be vaccinated, they must all still do their utmost to avoid becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent,” said the archbishop.
Archbishop Cabantan pointed out that Pope Francis has even announced that “people have the moral obligation to receive one of those vaccines.”
Last week, Pope Francis issued an appeal urging people to get inoculated against COVID-19, saying the vaccines could bring an end to the pandemic.
“Thanks to God’s grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19,” the pope said in a video message.
The Church leader said vaccines “grant us the hope of ending the pandemic” even as he said that it should be “available to all.”
“Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable,” said Pope Francis.
“I pray to God that everyone may contribute their own small grain of sand, their own small gesture of love,” the pope said.
Last week, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu reminded priests in his diocese not to use the pulpit in their “personal campaign” against the government’s vaccination program against COVID-19.
In a video released by the archdiocese, Archbishop Palma advised priests that the Catholic Church “recommends vaccination.”
On Monday, the government announced that in the Philippine capital more than 4.2 million individuals are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Authorities said at least 4,262,546 individuals have completed their COVID-19 shots in Metro Manila, which comprises 43.5 percent of the population in the region.
Meanwhile, 3,088,065 have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.