Weekly Blog

COVID and Church Doctrine

The only thing that may be more divisive in our country today than politics is the COVID vaccine. Many disagree on the issue, including me and who I refer to as my creative genius, Mary Kate, who manages Mark Joseph Ministries’ communications. Although not the point of this blog, we can disagree without being disagreeable. It is possible and I would argue a good thing. In doing so, our country would be a better place and we would have more peace in our lives.   

Related to the title of this blog, some background is required. In addition to those I’ve heard about in the news, I now personally know two people who face termination from their employment if they’re not vaccinated. One works 100% remotely, which would seem to pose no risk to a safe work environment. Both Catholic, they’ve looked to their faith, our Church, for support in the form of a religious exemption, which is stated as being valid by the organizations forcing vaccinations. 

In doing an internet search, there are at least 10 Bishops who have issued instructions to their clergy, mandating they not assist the faithful in any efforts to claim religious exemption. Add to that many Bishops mandating vaccination for all Diocesan employees. Interesting view by Church leadership, as you’ll see below. 

You may have been vaccinated. I fully support whatever decision you make for yourself on this issue, given your free will and conscience (the point of this blog), which was given to you by God. That said, points that might contribute to people’s hesitation are worth considering, whether you agree with them or not: 

  • Vaccines typically take 8-10 years to develop, test, and be approved by the FDA. The 3 COVID vaccines on the market began being used on a wide basis in less than a year, with FDA approval granted months after initial use. 
  • Messenger RNA, the key component in 2 of 3 of the vaccines, has never been put into the human body before. 
  • There are numerous examples of severe side effects from the vaccine, namely blood clots and associated disorders, inflammation of the heart, including in teenagers, life threatening allergic reactions, Bell’s Palsy, miscarriages, and premature births. 
  • Given the short timeframe of the trials, less than a year vs. 8-10 as stated above, we have no idea what the long-term impacts are of these vaccines. 
  • The swine flu vaccine was stopped in 1976 by the US Government when fatalities from the shot hit 53. The government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) indicates there have been 6,128 deaths in the US due to the COVID vaccines. The number is double that worldwide. 
  • There are treatments (not vaccines) that have been proven to be effective in curing patients of COVID, specifically hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and monoclonal antibody therapy, along with Vitamins C, D, and zinc. 
  • It’s widely known that those who risk severe sickness or death are the elderly and those with comorbidities. We also know that our youth rarely get COVID and if they do their symptoms are mild unless they have comorbidities. So, what is the rationale for 100% vaccination? 
  • When COVID broke, the issues were deaths, ventilators, and hospital beds, none of which have spiked with the uptick in cases and the delta variant.
  • The government’s (and big tech and big business and others) insistence on all people being vaccinated negates whether they’ve had COVID, therefore having the antibodies which are recognized as being better protection than the vaccine. They’re being forced to be vaccinated anyhow.
  • On May 1st, the CDC decided to stop tracking break through cases (already vaccinated), but instead only cases from the fully vaccinated that result in hospitalization or death, leaving health officials without full data. 
  • If vaccines work, why the masks for those vaccinated? If vaccines work, why would those vaccinated care if others aren’t vaccinated?   

You may think the above is pertinent or not. You may be vaccinated or not. Again, I respect your decision. That said, I think we can all agree that the above list could give pause to at least some, which leads to the following. 

Specific to Church doctrine (the point of this blog), you’ve read before where I’ve stated that all the answers to life can be found in Scripture and from the teachings of the Church. As it turns out, the Church speaks to the above issue in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC): 

  • Our identity in Christ, made in the image and likeness of God
    • CCC Paragraph 1700 – The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God; it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude. It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment. By his deliberate actions, the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience. Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth. With the help of grace they grow in virtue, avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son to the mercy of our Father in heaven. In this way they attain to the perfection of charity.
  • Our judgement, given moral conscience 
    • CCC Paragraph 1776 – “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”
    • CCC Paragraph 1782 – Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”

If interested in the above, including how it relates to real life issues, I suggest reading the Catechism, Paragraphs 1700 – 1802. Understand, I’m not a theologian, but as supported by the Catechism (and other sources, including Scripture and other Church teaching), we know that:

  • We are made in the image and likeness of God,
  • With a free will and a conscience,
  • Which God calls us to exercise. 

As such, I’m not sure why some of our Bishops are hesitant to have Clergy assist with religious exemptions; or why some would be forcing vaccinations on all Diocesan employees when arguably at least some are resisting due to matters of conscience. Lastly, in the name of social justice, what about the impact of forced vaccinations on those in most need in our society? 

This is tough stuff, and we live in a challenging world. There’s always going to be an interplay between politics, culture, and faith. That said, we know the impact of the life changing message of Jesus Christ. With our dramatically declining numbers, it’s my prayer that all Christians be intentional about rebuilding our Church, genuinely sharing the love (and truth) of Christ both to those in our pews and outside our Church walls. 

As always, please feel free to contact me at with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!


Mark Joseph