The St Joseph/Mt D’or parish on May 17 launched a campaign to raise awareness about the need to get vaccinated and “help mitigate the spread of this deadly Covid-19 virus. We trust Almighty God in his wisdom, and we place him before us”, the parish’s Facebook page stated.
Parish priest Fr Matthew d’Hereaux delivered a message urging the public to get the vaccine against Covid.
Contacted about the campaign, Fr d’Hereaux, said: “I believe in the statement, ‘when good men remain silent, evil thrives’. The pro-vax campaign was a response not only to the practical need to get our population more open to taking the vaccine, but to respond to all conspiracy theories and anti-science rhetoric on social media.”
He touched on five reasons. The campaign is intended to be a larger response to neo-Gnosticism fake news, alternative facts, half-truths, and manipulation of facts for self-interest.
Fr d’Hereaux explained, Gnosticism, and neo-Gnosticism, “the philosophy that one group has ‘knowledge’ that the others don’t have and therefore, need. In the case of antivaxxers, they are saying that they have ‘knowledge’ to tell the world that the mainstream media and establishment is hiding.”
Secondly, science has to be given the respect it deserves. Science must be called to moral responsibility. However, people must also recognise medical science and technology have given “so much weaponry in the fight against disease and misery”.
Fr d’Hereaux said, “we have already seen how millions in the Northern hemisphere have benefitted already and thus we have a moral responsibility to the poor and lower income citizens who are suffering job loss and hunger to end this pandemic”.
The vaccine is a pro-life issue as important as abortion, IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and euthanasia. “We must respect life and uphold the sanctity of life not only in the womb but at every age and stage.”
Finally, God has given reason and intelligence which have given rise to Science and Technology.
These, Fr d’Hereaux said, “have given us Medicine through which we participate in the healing work of God in so far as this Science, Technology and Medicine are used in a morally responsible way. We serve a God who has used human agency over and over.”
He added the Bible is replete with God using humans to participate in His will. He illustrated that a famous example was found in the Old Testament, the Book of Numbers.
“Yahweh told the people in need of healing [to] fashion a bronze serpent and look at it and they would be healed. That’s human agency in the healing work of God.”
In the healing ministry of Jesus, He told the man with the withered hand to ‘stretch out your hand’. Fr d’Hereaux said this was the “human agency” in the healing work of Jesus. Medicine is God using human agency to heal the world. The campaign has been effective in prompting individuals who were “on the fence” to decide to be vaccinated.
Fr d’Hereaux disclosed there has been some “push back”. He saw the St Joseph/Mt D’or parish as “historically speaking” being in the company of Jesus and the Church, since both have experienced this.
“I have no problem with that. What I am sad about is that we just accept conspiracy theories without respecting that the Vatican has endorsed vaccination. Both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict have taken vaccines. Some Catholics are quick to turn to Rome when it suits them. Antivax campaigns by Catholics is the height of dishonesty, intellectual and otherwise.”
The campaign by the parish continue until the country can achieve herd immunity. —LPG