I have never felt so different and “other” as I do now. I am one of the unvaccinated.
Sitting here in the middle of Sydney, where double vax rates approach 90%, with the unvaccinated to be shunned until (if?) we hit 95%, it is easy to feel alone. So, while almost all my friends and acquaintances are “free” under the laws of our oppressive governments, I am not free—although if I am honest, my friends are free to do things I no longer miss, whereas I am truly free.
I can no longer go into the office, as a number of my co-workers do not feel comfortable with me being there—and our government backs them up. No science, data, arguments, or logic will convince them I am not a danger. People I have known for decades now simply feel unsafe and uncomfortable to be around me, as if I am a rat or a cockroach.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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But none of that really saddens me.
What saddens me, what is truly my cross, is that so many people I thought deeply loved Christ and looked for him in the poor, sick, and abandoned seem to have simply closed their eyes to seeing Christ in the unborn. Perhaps through fear, ignorance, or the understandable desire to fit in, they appear to have closed their eyes to the taint all current vaccines suffer from the use of fetal cell tissue in development or testing. Many of the clergy, at least here in Sydney, appear to have taken this line, too, although I acknowledge that many good priests have fought the tide and done their best to inform and follow their consciences.
Uncomfortable as it is for me, my family, and my friends, I will not close my eyes to Christ in those aborted babies, nor in those babies who will be aborted indirectly or perhaps even directly through the Catholic Church’s stance in this instance. The executives in Big Pharma and the medical research industry must be amazed and delighted that, for a disease with such low infection mortality rates, the Catholic Church has fled like a startled mouse. “How far can the envelope be pushed next?” they must be asking as they count the profits from this tragedy.
My conscience will not allow me to take the easy route of following the crowd and just “doing the right thing and taking the jab,” particularly for a disease with such a low probability of death for well over 99 percent of the population and for which the vaccines appear not to materially prevent infection or inhibit the ability to pass on the virus and infect others.
For me, there appears absolutely no reason to overlook the use of fetal cell tissues in testing and/or the development of the available vaccines, regardless of whether the actual abortion happened decades ago (which is morally irrelevant when Christ is outside of time) or the contested circumstances surrounding the abortion of the relevant baby and motives of the participants. My chance of dying or even being hospitalized from COVID-19 is extremely low, and there is little to no evidence that my chance of infecting anyone when I catch COVID-19 will be materially reduced by me taking the vaccine. So why take a morally-tainted vaccine, particularly when in doing so I will be giving a green light for further use of fetal body tissue for society’s “needs”?
I have read every document put out by the Vatican on vaccines, including the 2005 one which was written in less unusual times with a less confusing papacy. I have spoken to and read articles by leading Catholic bioethicists, one of whom shocked me when they commented that I seemed to be taking this issue rather seriously! I have looked at publicly available government-published data from around the world, which I feel qualified to understand, as I hold a Ph.D. and much of my doctoral work has been in applied statistics in the field of financial econometrics. I feel my conscience is well formed, and although I am not so arrogant as to suggest that the Vatican and experts have not correctly applied their refined ethical frameworks, I do believe they have not properly understood the facts to which they have applied those frameworks, particularly now that the disease is better understood than it was in early 2020.
Most worryingly, I strongly believe the Vatican has not correctly appreciated the likely consequences of their obvious desire to approve the vaccine given all the worldly pressure bearing down upon them. In particular, I truly believe the Catholic Church and its bioethicists have forfeited all rights to be taken seriously by the medical and pharmaceutical research industries in asking that alternatives to fetal cells be used in medical research. Putting aside the feeble argument that the relevant abortions happened decades ago (what are decades in the scheme of eternity?) and questions surrounding the motives of those involved in the relevant abortion, the complete failure of the institutional Church to use this opportunity to give witness to the absolute evil of abortion speaks volumes.
The Catholic Church’s stand has left me sad, as has the fact that so few of the Catholics I know have thought about this issue. Instead, they have rushed to be jabbed after having read in the paper, repeated in parishes around Sydney, that the Pope “says” everyone should be jabbed. Of course, others have read the latest CDF document or someone’s commentary on it and done their best to inform their conscience. But it is understandable that, for many, their consciences were overwhelmed by the positively pro-vax stance taken by the Catholic Church. In fact, there has been a constant stream of propaganda from the Church here in Australia to take the jab—it has been crushing.
I feel abandoned by the current Church leadership. I feel confused by this abandonment, and this is my cross today. I am no longer angered by them (how dare I!)—but saddened. I mourn. There is nothing the clearly corrupt and incompetent Australian government can do to me which will ever compare to the pain this sense of abandonment has caused me.
Thankfully, I have not been abandoned by Christ. Through my suffering and confusion during this time, Christ and His Blessed Mother have come to me in ways I shamefully did not think possible. Through prayer, reading, penance, fasting, and through the receipt of the sacraments from good priests who came to my house when our churches were voluntarily shut by our Church leaders, I have found deep peace in Christ during this period and clarity of resolution I did not think possible. Similarly, I have been led by the Word of God in the Scriptures, with the words and actions of martyrs like Eleazar and St. Stephen cutting through the centuries and leading the way.
I say our churches were voluntarily closed, even though the current Church leaders say they had no choice. We always have a choice. If the Church leaders had simply said “no” and led us in justified civil disobedience like the great Church leaders of old, hopefully enough of us would have rallied and perhaps things would have worked out differently. If Church leaders had shown us that they truly believe Christ is present in the Eucharist and we—Christ’s little children in desperate need of Him—should not be turned away, what would have been the result?
But the day of such Church leaders is not today, as the scandals and disappointments the current Church leadership keeps delivering give witness. With the closing of our churches, quickly followed by a relentless pro-vax push by our Church leaders, it is understandable many of us feel abandoned.
Thankfully, Christ never abandons us, and He never abandoned me—even when I doubted. He is the only true King and leader who never lets us down.
I will never leave the Catholic Church, even if today so many of her clergy appear so desperate to be in sync with the spirit of the world, oblivious to the spiritual carnage they are leaving in their wake. They seem so desperate to be moderate, sensible, and to fit in; this is not a trait of saints! But I will certainly put far less weight on what the current Church leadership says or does—I will carefully assess it against the faith of our fathers. Thankfully, I have my lowly priests who clearly love Christ; who see Him in the Eucharist and in the most vulnerable; who would die for their flock, and for whom the dictates of petty bureaucrats and corrupt politicians mean little compared with the words of our Lord and helping me find salvation. We sheep know true shepherds, and we love them.
For those Catholics who have been pressured or tricked into taking the jab, it is not too late. Wake up, look for the Truth, and say no to more shots. Welcome the other (me!) and find ways to bring the light of Christ into the world so this does not happen again. I have confidence you know in your heart that doing this will do more for the common good than taking more of these suspect vaccines.
[Photo Credit: Unsplash]