The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe has called on all Catholics to get vaccinated, saying it is an act of responsibility and care for others.
Jesuit Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) has issued a joint statement with Rev. Christian Krieger, President of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), urging people to spend the remainder of the Advent season “demonstrating responsibility and care for all.”
Their message echoes a video call released by our own Cardinal Vincent Nichols earlier this year for everyone to get vaccinated to “look after your own health” so that our NHS doesn’t get overwhelmed and “we will free up the resources of the National Health Service for many, many people now who have been waiting for a long, long time, often in discomfort and pain, for treatment.”
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into a second year, European Churches encourage everyone to observe necessary sanitary measures and get vaccinated,” the European bishops said.
“Doctors and paramedics are exhausted, and hospitals face the risk of imminent collapse,” they said, adding that xperts in science and medicine must be listened to, as getting vaccinated “is currently the most effective way to counter the pandemic and save human lives.”
“Vaccination offers protection not only to ourselves but also to our brothers and sisters, particularly the more fragile among us. It is thus an act of love and care and also one of responsibility and social justice,” they added.
In their statement, Hollerich and Krieger noted that the decision to get vaccinated is not always easy, and “reasons to be hesitant may be manifold,” including a serious medical condition, or plain doubt.
For these cases, Hollerich and Krieger asked people in these situations to seek clarity over their concerns and make a “well-informed decision” after consulting with competent experts and authorities.
They also pointed to what they said is a troubling spread of false information and unfounded claims about COVID vaccines.
These theories, Hollerich and Krieger argued, are “instrumentalizing the pandemic by causing fear and polarization at a time when our societies need cohesion, unity and solidarity.”
Hollerich and Krieger in their statement urged all those with social and political authority, as well as those in the media and members of their respective churches, “to counter any attempts of disinformation.”
“We call on all societal actors to raise the awareness of everyone and encourage them to take responsible actions to protect themselves and others, particularly those who cannot be vaccinated for health or other reasons,” they said.