The Madison Diocese has instructed over one hundred local parishes not to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics in buildings associated with the Catholic church, including churches and schools, following a new federal action making children ages 5-11 eligible for vaccination.
Diocese spokesman Brent King explained that the directive is intended to maintain the Diocese Political neutrality on the topic of vaccination.
“The Diocese has not and will not wade into the polarizing and political environment surrounding this issue, especially as it could potentially pressure individuals to act against their consciences,” King said in a statement to the press.
King went on to further state that the Diocese holds that it is not morally wrong to receive the vaccine, but that there are reasonable explanations for why individuals would choose not to get themselves or their children vaccinated.
“It is morally permissible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in good conscience,” King said, “but there are also valid reasons, including reasons of conscience, why people might decide not to be vaccinated or have their children vaccinated.”
At this time, all versions of the COVID-19 vaccination have been deemed to be a safe and effective way of preventing the contraction of the virus which has killed approximately 750,000 American citizens over the course of the past year.
King claimed that the Madison Diocese had prohibited parishes from hosting vaccination clinics earlier in the year, however, at least three sites including Edgewood Highschool, Our Lady Queen of Peace and Good Shepard Parishes had allowed for vaccination sites on their property, according to Kim Sveum, spokesperson for SSM health.
Queen of Peace had planned on hosting an additional vaccination clinic for children according to a Nov. 7 newsletter shared by Mary Jo Vitale, the principal of the school.
“We are deeply disappointed by this decision,” a notice circulated by faculty at Queen of peace stated in response to the Diocese’s orders.
The Madison Diocese’s decision not to host vaccination clinics in local parishes is not necessarily indicative of the will of the greater Catholic Church. Other Diocese, including the one based in Milwaukee, have chosen to use church property to administer vaccines to members of the public.