The Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand urge everyone to care for one another by getting the vaccine.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular, the recent rise in cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities, the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand strongly believe that every person who is able has a moral imperative to get vaccinated.
This is not a political issue, but an ethical one. Only when the vast majority of the population is vaccinated will we see a curb on new variants, a slowing of the spread of the virus and a true end to the pandemic that has cost over 600,000 lives in America alone and left millions more with long-term health effects.
Even before the current surge, in a January 2021 interview, Pope Francis noted the moral obligation to receive one of the new vaccines as soon as possible. “I believe that morally everyone must take the vaccine,” he said. “It is the moral choice because it is about your life but also the lives of others.”
U.S. Bishops concur. On the first anniversary of the outbreak of the pandemic, the Administrative Committee of US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) noted, “The pandemic has also revived our sense that we are a global community, and that each of us is indeed each other’s keeper.”
Much has been made of the notion of personal freedom in deciding whether or not to take the vaccine. But our own liberty stops at the point where its exercise causes harm to another.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that we do not have unlimited rights, even when it comes to our own bodies. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, he reminds us, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” James 4:17 goes a step further: “For one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin.”
All are weary of the pandemic. Only by working together and persevering can we defeat it.
Our Ferdinand community was founded by teachers, and many of us remain teachers today. We believe in science, and that children need a safe, nurturing, caring place to learn. The Delta variant in particular poses an increased threat to both children and teachers.
The Rule of St. Benedict instructs us, “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.” In Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living, the author notes, “A life without good works is a shadow life. A life centered on itself is an empty life.”
For the sake of those you love and those you do not know, we implore all to get vaccinated as soon as possible.