The Office of the Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York told CNA in a Dec. 8 statement they are aware of de Blasio's mandate.
The statement, says that an "increasing majority" of archdiocesan teachers and school staffs have received the vaccine and added that "we continue to urge others to do so," while noting that those who are unvaccinated are tested weekly.
"Once we receive formal notification from the City," the statement says, "we will review the mandate to determine this order’s relevance and applicability to our Catholic schools, and any potential response."
"However, our students, families, teachers, and administrators should be assured that our schools in New York City and beyond will remain open for safe, in-person instruction, as we have done for the past year, with a rate of nearly zero COVID transmission in our buildings," the statement concludes.
The New York Times reported that Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York spoke to de Blasio on the phone before the mayor’s announcement of the mandate.
John Quaglione, the Deputy Press Secretary for the Diocese of Brooklyn, told CNA on Monday that the diocese received no official notification from the mayor prior to his announcement and has yet to be sent the Executive Order directly from the health department or the mayor's office.
“We were able to download the Executive Order from the mayor's website, otherwise, we still would not know what it says or entails,” Quaglione added.
De Blasio, speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, said that he is “confident” the mandate will withstand any legal challenges that might come its way.
Alexandra Sullivan, a parent with children in New York archdiocesan schools, told CNA on Monday that de Blasio’s mandate is “alarming.”
“Catholic teaching holds that vaccination must be voluntary and that no one should be coerced into a decision against their informed conscience,” Sullivan said. “Teachers employed by the Catholic Church should be afforded the freedom to exercise their conscience.”
Sullivan said that the mandate causes “worry” for parents who are concerned that there will be a future mandate for children to be vaccinated to attend school.
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“That would be a grave and dangerous overstepping of government authority,” she added. “It is imperative that our bishops fight against such government overreach to protect their employees and to protect the children under their care in Catholic schools.”
The AP reported that there are about 56,000 employees at 938 schools in New York City to whom the mandate applies.
Both the Vatican and the U.S. bishops' conference have said that reception of the vaccines is morally permissible when recipients have no other ethical option due to the gravity of the pandemic. Pope Francis has encouraged COVID-19 vaccination, calling it an "act of love." In December 2020, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a note stating that reception of the vaccines is morally permissible but "must be voluntary"; the note recognized "reasons of conscience" for refusing vaccines.