Recently, an online firestorm erupted among Catholics surrounding a recent letter from the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X arguing for the moral permissibility of taking an available COVID-19 vaccine if the situation were grave enough to warrant the act.
My intent here is not to evaluate all the details of the letter, or to offer a comprehensive explanation or apologetic as to why this particular letter was written. The crux of the argument put forth in the letter, as far as I can tell, is that there are situations wherein it is grave enough to cooperate with an evil—that you did not commit—without sinning. In addition, there may be situations where it is “charitable” to acquiesce to certain government coercion if the situation warrants it.
As you can imagine, the use of the term “charity” by the priest who wrote it encouraged furious journalists and internet commenters to cry that the proverbial sky has fallen. Granted, like the word “mercy,” there are few words that have been as misused as the word “charity” in today’s Church parlance. In the mind of the liberal Catholic, everything that is “nice” is charity. Leftist prelates the world over are calling on the faithful to take the jab as an act of charity for their neighbor; because, of course, the coronavirus pandemic is the single most important illness on earth, in their minds.
But, it must be said, that in the letter released by Fr. Sélégny, at the heart of the reference to charity was the sad reality that some Catholics are facing, especially those living outside of the United States. In many places, people are barred from caring for dying parents in nursing homes, they are forbidden from riding trains and planes, priests are disallowed from entering hospitals to save dying souls, and many are, of course, losing their jobs en masse if they do not embrace the jab. This is all evil, and it is a diabolical plot against the human race; this cannot be understated.
However, there are still instances where a priest or a layperson could reluctantly participate in any coerced medical procedure for reasons of true charity. For example, if you are a Catholic living in China, and the government says they will take your children unless you take the shot, should you stand on principle and allow your kids to be raised by the state? If you are a priest who must serve in missionary areas and cannot access the thousands of souls who are without sacraments, should you never visit them again in order to stand on principle?
Charity ultimately is the highest of the theological virtues and entails a great love of God and love of neighbor. In our fallen world, overridden with Communism, we are often “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” when it comes to prudential moral decisions. It could very well be that a father of a family must sacrifice his own health, and remotely cooperate with a given evil that has been thrust upon him by a metaphorical gun to the head, in order to care for his children.
None of this excuses the evils of the jab, the potential risks to one’s health, the Communism at play, or the medical coercion we have witnessed. If anything, it highlights the evil. It is possible to recognize the demonic scheme, while at the same time operating as best as one can given the impossible scenario we now face.
We know from Church history that we may never apostatize or pinch incense to Caesar, but we do not sin if we suffer as victims of Communism and are required to play a certain game in order to get our family and ourselves to Heaven.
Now, the reason I am asking that we all relax a bit is because I believe that many of us are getting so worked up about the current evils and the jab that we are losing our heads. I think we have spent so much time reading about all manner of potential end-times scenarios that we have forgotten to keep our cool and be patient.
Recently, one of my priests mentioned the murmuring among many Catholics about wanting to “escape to the bush” and “get off the grid.” I am not against being off the grid, but it is a fool’s errand for most of us if we think we will live like a bushcraft master from YouTube. The same priest made it clear that the most important thing we can do is stay close to the sacraments, as ultimately our souls are what are most important.
If it gets to the point that the COVID Regime accelerates to the point of Gulags and Concentration Camps, then there is no amount of “off the grid” that will save us. In addition, we are facing some of the greatest spiritual trials that Catholics have faced in centuries, and God has permitted it to happen. How foolish it would be to intentionally be too far from Mass or Confession. If you happen to live in a rural area surrounded by forest and far away from government while also having a priest close by, then I congratulate you on winning a lottery.
The pressure of the present moment is severe, but it too shall pass, either by going away or by making us into martyrs. Resistance to the regime is necessary and encouraged, but we must keep our heads and see things through the timeless moral truths of the Faith. Priests and lay people around the world are facing impossible scenarios, and some may have to make choices that others won’t have to make. Be thankful if you have the luxury of raging in comment sections about “freedoms” and “rights,” but remember that for many these are pipe dreams, and refusing the jab or not sending your kids to state schools are illegal actions that would send you to jail.
If you believe that it would be preferable for a matter of principle to refuse the jab, or any coercive measure on principle, at the risk of losing your children—for example—then I think you might need to take a step back and relax.
As a Canadian, I cannot pay my taxes without at least remotely cooperating in abortion, as the tax-funded system pays for each termination of innocent life. If I were to follow the logic of never giving in! to any government coercion, then I would be in jail for tax evasion and my children would be raised without a father. How daft I would have to be to make such a decision.
Catholics all over the world are staring down the barrel of a gun regarding the vaccine and what to do about living under lockdown tyranny, and many souls are at stake as a result. If we find ourselves beating our chests and declaring from the top of Mount Twitter that we will “die before we bend a knee” to the regime, or that an order of priests has “gone soft” because they have tried to offer guidance to a church of terrified and isolated faithful, then I think we need to take a step back and relax.
Resist the tyranny with every tool you have in your arsenal; but do not judge those who are being crushed in the crucible of prudential decision making as a result of the Communism that has victimized them.
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