The Church in Europe is asking that all be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Stressing the need for responsibility and care, in the midst of the present COVID-19 pandemic, and encouraging vaccination as well as necessary health measures, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of the Commission of the Episcopal Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), and Father Christian Krieger, President of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), made this joint appeal, stated a note of the COMECE on December 14, 2021.
Responsibility and Care for All
In this Season of Advent, “let us manifest the love of Christ by showing responsibility and care for all,” reads the text. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues for a second year, the European Churches invite all to observe the necessary health measures and to get vaccinated. According to reports, coronavirus infections continue to increase in Europe, while doctors and paramedics are exhausted and hospitals are facing the risk of an imminent collapse.
According to the press release, the different vaccination rates in the whole of Europe provide clear indications of the reasons for this dramatic situation. In several Member States of the European Union, complete acceptance of the vaccination continues to be, unfortunately, well below the threshold necessary to halt the spread of the virus, although the vaccines are available.
After listening to experts in science and medicine, “we believe that vaccination is at present the most effective way to counteract the pandemic and save human lives. Vaccination offers protection not only for ourselves but also for our brothers and sisters, especially the most fragile among us. Hence, it is an act of love and care and also of responsibility and social justice,” say the Bishops.
Counteract Any Attempt to Disinformation
We acknowledge that the decision to get vaccinated may not be easy and the reasons to doubt can be many. Some may not be in the condition to get the vaccination due to serious medical conditions. Others might be afraid or have doubts about its effects. We encourage them to clarify their doubts and to make a well-informed decision after getting professional advice from the Authorities and competent experts,” continues the message.
Sadly, we are also witnessing the spread of false information and unfounded affirmations in our societies regarding vaccination, instrumentalizing the pandemic, causing fear and polarization at a time in which our societies need cohesion, unity, and solidarity,” they add.
Hence we, the European Prelates, “make a firm appeal to all leaders of society, including the political actors and the media, as well as the members of our Churches, to counteract any attempt at disinformation” and “to all the actors of society so that they sensitize everyone and encourage to take responsible measures to protect themselves and others, especially those that cannot be vaccinated for health or other reasons.”
Equitable Access to Vaccine
Finally, “we also want to reiterate our appeal to the European Union and to its Member States, to comply with their commitments to distribute the vaccines and to intensify the global efforts to guarantee a more equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all, including the regions with weaker health care systems.”
“While we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let us recall: ‘A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3).’ God sent His Son to the earth to express His love and care for us. This Good News is still highly topical. Let us give living witness of it, let us show responsibility and care,” concludes the note.