BFP Can Your Bishop Mandate You To Risk Death?

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Show Notes

The beginning of a discussion on Bishops acting as doctors and mandating that employees and clergy undergo health procedures. The USCCB provides Catholic moral principles for health care decisions that firmly place such decisions with the patient.

We look at Cardinal Cupich’s statement and mandate, but there are others. As reported in the news:

“We have made this decision convinced that this is the best way to stop the spread of this deadly illness,” Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, said in a Thursday email to clergy and staff. “Following the lead of Pope Francis, we encourage everyone to be vaccinated as an act of charity. … Religious exemptions to vaccination cannot be supported by Catholic teaching and I have instructed our pastors not to grant them.”

Archdiocese of Chicago requires vaccines, denies religious exemptions. Crain’s Chicago Business. 20 August 2021

Cardinal Cupich elsewhere says it is “an act of love” to get the shot. How can an act of love be so if it is mandated?

Audio Clips of Bishop Cupich speaking in 2012 on human dignity and the need to respect the health care decisions of the patient are in the podcast.

Relevant quotes from the USCCB statements on health care:

26. The free and informed consent of the person or the person’s surrogate is required for medical treatments and procedures, except in an emergency situation when consent cannot be obtained and there is no indication that the patient would refuse consent to the treatment.

27. Free and informed consent requires that the person or the person’s surrogate receive all reasonable information about the essential nature of the proposed treatment and its benefits; its risks, side-effects, consequences, and cost; and any reasonable and morally legitimate alternatives, including no treatment at all.

28. Each person or the person’s surrogate should have access to medical and moral information and counseling so as to be able to form his or her conscience. The free and informed health care decision of the person or the person’s surrogate is to be followed so long as it does not contradict Catholic principles.

31. No one should be the subject of medical or genetic experimentation, even if it is therapeutic, unless the person or surrogate first has given free and informed consent. In instances of nontherapeutic experimentation, the surrogate can give this consent only if the experiment entails no significant risk to the person’s well-being. […]

32. While every person is obliged to use ordinary means to preserve his or her health, no person should be obliged to submit to a health care procedure that the person has judged, with a free and informed conscience, not to provide a reasonable hope of benefit without imposing excessive risks and burdens on the patient or excessive expense to family or community.

33. The well-being of the whole person must be taken into account in deciding about any therapeutic intervention or use of technology. Therapeutic procedures that are likely to cause harm or undesirable side-effects can be justified only by a proportionate benefit to the patient.

Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, Sixth Edition USCCB

For reference and comparison:

“These COVID vaccines are preventing clinical disease, we don’t know if they prevent transmission,” Dr. Beyrer said.

Search for similar news coverage to see that the vaccines do not prevent transmission to other people. In other words, it does not do what Cupich’s statement says it will do.

Part 2 has been posted. Click here to view the post BFP Can Your Bishop Cancel Your Rights Under Title VII?

Please give your opinion in the comments: Should bishops be playing doctor?

Can a Bishop force you to undergo a medical procedure that risks your life?

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The Bellarmine Forum Podcast - The Bellarmine Forum
Bellarmine Forum

The Bellarmine Forum Podcast is Catholic commentary on anything from history, philosophy, and current events. Best viewed as an after-dinner chat.

John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.
  • Darren says:

    Let’s start with first principles here. What is the definition vaccination?

    Huh? Why has the CDC changed the definition over that last several years?


    Pre-2015: Injection of a killed or weakened infectious organism in order to PREVENT the disease

    2015-2021: The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce IMMUNITY to a specific disease

    Sept 2021: The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce PROTECTION to a specific disease

    This shot is not a vaccine by the pre-2015 definition. Good enough for me.

    Want to change the world, change the definition of words. What one generation assumes the word means doesn’t mean the same thing to another generation.