Pope Francis advised the faithful that it is morally responsible to take the COVID-19 vaccine and that “everyone” should take it.
Speaking with TGCom24, an Italian television news program, Francis said that taking the vaccine is the “ethical choice.”
“It’s an ethical choice, because you are playing with health, life, but you are also playing with the lives of others,” Francis told the station. “I’ve signed up. One must do it.”
Francis stressed that the rejection of vaccines as “dangerous” was to engage in a “suicidal denial.”
“I don’t understand why some say, ‘No, vaccines are dangerous.’ If it is presented by doctors as a thing that can go well, that has no special dangers, why not take it? There is a suicidal denial that I wouldn’t know how to explain,” he said.
In the same interview, Pope Francis specifically condemned the violence that took place on Capitol Hill, denouncing it as “a path against the community, against democracy, against the common good.”
“This should be condemned, this movement, regardless of the people,” the pope said. “Violence is always like this, no?”
That said, Pope Francis did say it was necessary to understand the malcontent segments of society.
“We must understand it well, not to repeat it. To learn from history,” he said. “These noncompliant groups not well integrated in society will sooner or later [become violent].”
The pope’s remarks come after he pressed world leaders to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the needy and the vulnerable.
“Vaccines for everybody, especially for the most vulnerable and needy,” the pope said during his annual “Urbi et Orbi” speech from St. Peter’s Basilica.
In the same sermon, Pope Francis expressed his fears about nationalism and the “ecological crisis.”
“We can’t let closed nationalisms impede us from living as the true human family that we are,” he said.
“At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters,” he continued.
In a letter this past December, U.S. Catholic Bishops urged the faithful to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The current COVID-19 pandemic has created a situation with circumstances similar to those posed by rubella. First, at least at present, there is no available alternative vaccine that has absolutely no connection to abortion,” said the letter. “Second, the risk to public health is very serious, as evidenced by the millions of infections worldwide and hundreds of thousands of deaths in the United States of America alone. Third, in many cases the most important effect of vaccination may not be the protection it offers to the person who receives the vaccination, who may be of relatively robust health and unlikely to be seriously affected by the disease. Rather, the more important effect may be the protection it offers to those who are much more likely to be seriously stricken by the disease if they were to contract it through exposure to those infected.”
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