A bit of levity on a grim topic Friday afternoon … brought to you by one of those automatic spell-checking devices.

And a moral to the story —

It’s fun to have fun with typos, but we all need to be vaxxed.

It started with a notice on the Capitol Fax blog, a portal maintained by the Capitol Fax newsletter that links to news and information on Illinois state government, announcing the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago has just mandated Covid-19 vaccination for all employees and clergy. “While people will have an opportunity to request a medical exemption, religious objections will not be considered,” noted Crain’s Chicago Business, which quoted the archbishop’s announcement:

“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.”

This led to the following exchange in the comments section, starting with a commenter who goes by the screen name “ForSure”:

ForSure – Friday, Aug 20, 21 @ 1:43 pm: Cupichs quote has 2 problems. One: In one breath he says “we encourage.” Umm, you are mandating it. Encourage and mandate are different things. The bigger problem is he is actually wrong on Church teaching. That is not what the Church teaches. Let me clear. Yes the pope is encouraging it. Yes the church wants you to get it. But it is not church teaching you have to get a vaccine or any vaccine. Big difference. In fact, the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican) concluded that persons may — not must — get vaccinated. “[P]ractical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.”

Another commenter, “Oswego Willy,” replied:

Oswego Willy – Friday, Aug 20, 21 @ 1:45 pm: You realize what Cardinal Cupich is saying, correct? You can’t use religious (in this case, the Catholic diocese helping) freedom to opt out.

(Editor’s [admin’s] note: These names may seem odd, but Capitol Fax allows commenters, many of whom are political pros and elected officials, to use screen names. That way, they can share their insights freely without the risk of being quoted on sensitive issues in the Chicago Sun-Times or the Trib the next morning.) ForSure wrote:

ForSure – Friday, Aug 20, 21 @ 1:58 pm: I do realize that. What I’m saying is that he can’t say it’s church teaching to mandate a vaccine. If he wants to mandate it, fine… but he can’t say “church teaching” cannot allow for an exemption. The CDF, the actual Catholic Chipotle teaching office, makes that clear.

He caught it right away, and added:

ForSure – Friday, Aug 20, 21 @ 1:59 pm: Church, not chipotle. Thats a hilarious typo. I do love Chipotle

To this, Oswego Willy replied:

Oswego Willy – Friday, Aug 20, 21 @ 2:05 pm: I’m not afraid of any Chipotle either. Now I’m hungry. Happy Friday, be well.

The exchange — and the typo — were fun. But the Covid epidemic is deadly serious, and before comments closed for the weekend Friday afternoon, “Suburban Mom” brought things back to reality:

Suburban Mom – Friday, Aug 20, 21 @ 4:12 pm: I mean, if you’re going to be citing to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, please be sure to note that it also says that if you refuse the Covid 19 vaccine, you are morally obligated to STAY THE HECK HOME and not interact with other people. The common good requires one or the other: People who refuse vaccination “do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent.”

There is no moral justification under Catholic teaching for refusing the vaccine UNLESS one is willing to stay home until the pandemic is over. To do otherwise is to become a vehicle for the transmission of the infectious agent, which is morally forbidden.

So, yes, vaccination is not MANDATORY in Catholicism. But doing literally everything in your power to avoid spreading Covid 19 IS mandated by Catholic teaching, and clearly spelled out by the CDF. So I want to hear from exactly ZERO Catholics who continue to attend Mass and refuse the vaccine — they are in clear violation of Catholic teaching, and are in a state of mortal sin. The Vatican cancelled the public celebration of Easter Mass in 2020 to prevent the spread of Covid 19 — literally not even the Mass or the Eucharist are sufficient justification to spread the virus.

Catholicism says get a shot, stay home, or go to literal heck. But definitely don’t claim that refusing vaccination while continuing to do literally anything else that involves interacting with other humans ever is in accordance with Catholic teaching. It’s not. It’s a mortal sin. It’s a violation of the Fifth Commandment (thou shalt not kill, in Catholic counting). Get your shot. […]

The same advice would hold true for Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists or any other faith tradition.

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