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May 25, 2022

12/17/2021 2:20:00 PM
Catholic Diocese vaccine neutrality claim is misguided and wrong

Dear Editor;
As a cradle Catholic, the one thing I was not thankful for this Thanksgiving is the profoundly disturbing and disappointing Madison Catholic Diocese attempt at "vaccine neutrality" by not allowing vaccine clinics in their schools and churches. Madison is largely rural diocese where people often have limited financial resources, and access to healthcare services is limited and frequently difficult to obtain. Facilitating vaccine accessibility to those who want the vaccine would be a great service - an act of Christian charity - to people living in these communities.
This said, neutrality is not an option in this situation, especially not from a church that claims to be pro-life. Providing life-saving vaccine to anyone who wants it is NOT forcing anyone to take it - it's just making it easier for those who want it to get it, thereby creating a positive impact in the wider community. It is also saying that selflessly putting the welfare of others ahead of your own self-interest by getting vaccinated is being a good citizen of a community that cares about each other, which benefits everyone.
Madison Bishop Donald Hying got this very, very wrong. When he claims neutrality on a life-saving vaccine, he is failing to use his bully pulpit for good, loses credibility as a moral leader and inflicts moral injury on the social justice-oriented Catholic community. His neutrality raises serious questions about what kind of a shepherd he really is, whose best interests he is really serving, what gospel he really believes in, and whether any guidance he offers on anything is worthy of careful consideration?
Catholics are fond of asking "What would Jesus do?" when faced with difficult decisions. I can't imagine Jesus being neutral on providing life saving measures during a deadly pandemic. Instead, I expect He would do everything possible to save lives, even when one of His bishops, supposedly a vicar of Christ, won't step up.
Paula Dáil
Spring Green, WI

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