Saying it doesn't consider COVID-19 vaccinations "morally objectionable," the Archdiocese of San Antonio announced it won't give religious exemption letters to congregants who refuse to get vaccinated.In a message posted Friday on the archdiocese's website, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller said the church encourages people to get immunized unless a medical condition prevents them from doing so.
“Receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community," the message said, quoting from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.”
The message comes after the Food and Drug Administration last week granted full approval to Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine and as employers ramp up expectations that their employees show proof of vaccination unless people choose to take a religious exemption.
Delta Airlines, for example, recently announced it will require unvaxxed workers to pay a $200-a-month surcharge to stay on the company health plan, while Goldman Sachs said it will require proof of vaccination from anyone entering its offices, including both workers and customers.
Earlier this month, San Antonio ISD said it will require all employees to get vaccinated to safeguard the health of its students. Texas' Republican leadership has since sued, however, arguing the district has no authority to issue that requirement.
Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.