Monterey, Calif., Aug 16, 2021 / 19:01 pm
Bishop Daniel Garcia of Monterey on Friday directed clergy not to provide letters of religious exemption for Catholics wishing not to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
“Pope Francis has highly encouraged the vaccination as an act of safeguarding one’s own health as well as that of others – pointing us to the importance of the common good, such a key element of Catholic Social Teaching,” Bishop Garcia wrote in his Aug. 13 letter, adding that “the Bishops of California have also encouraged vaccination for the same reasons.”
“For these reasons, I will not issue, and I have directed our clergy not to issue, any Letters of Religious exemption because it would contradict the clear objective teaching of the Catholic Church and the Holy See on this matter,” Garcia wrote.
States and employers across the country have rolled out COVID-19 vaccine mandates in recent weeks. Last week, California became the first state to require all teachers, both public and private, to get the vaccine or else submit to weekly testing. Healthcare workers in California will soon be required to take the vaccine as well, though that order does include a religious exemption.