Bishop Donald DeGrood of the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese and Bishop Peter Muhich of the Rapid City Catholic Diocese recently released a statement allowing Catholics to claim a religious exemption if a Covid vaccine is required of them. This decision, along with the Bishop DeGrood’s and some parish priests’ tepid support when the vaccine was first available, undoubtedly caused and will cause more people to needlessly get sick and possibly die.
For all the pro-life messaging coming from the bishop, he could do more than oppose abortions. I hear nothing from the bishop or my parish priest about the death penalty and certainly nothing from them when the last presidential administration rushed to execute 13 federal inmates in the final 6 months of their time in office. These executions were pushed by the former President and his Catholic attorney general who also received an award at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast during this unusual execution spree.
Isn’t ensuring access to adequate healthcare pro-life? Yet, I hear nothing from the bishop or my parish priest about ensuring everyone has access to adequate healthcare. Unfortunately, I doubt they will be campaigning for the pro-life expansion of Medicaid in South Dakota next year.
Being truly pro-life is more comprehensive than protecting the unborn, it is also about protecting the living. Bishop DeGrood is wrong to not promote the Covid vaccine that will prevent people from getting sick and save lives. By allowing Catholics to claim a religious exemption, Bishop DeGrood is perpetuating a selfish culture of individual freedom over the greater good for all.
Undoubtedly, Bishop DeGrood and his staff know much more about Catholicism than me and in their minds can justify the exemption. Common sense and the basic belief in caring for others says otherwise.
I wish Bishop DeGrood would follow Pope Francis’ lead in many areas, including the Pope’s stance on this vaccine. I wish Bishop DeGrood followed more advice from the Pope and not from his political leaders. I wish Bishop DeGrood was pro-life on this vaccine issue and not pro-choice. So many wishes for Bishop DeGrood and so little faith in him to do the right thing.