Several Catholic students and their parents are furious with Boston College (BC) for denying religious exemptions to students who refuse COVID-19 vaccinations because they allegedly contain aborted fetal tissue, the Boston Herald reported.
The Jesuit school has mandated the vaccine for all students, staff, and faculty prior to the start of the fall semester and has refused to give in to the demands of parents asking for an exemption because the vaccination goes against “fundamental tenets of faith.”
The concern stems from a previous announcement by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In March, the organization discouraged people from getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it “was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns.”
Further, the statement said, “If one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.”
Stephanie Grimes, a registered nurse from New York, said she was “disgusted” when the school turned down her daughter’s request for an exemption.
“You’re allowed to use your conscience as a Catholic,” she told the Boston Herald, adding further that the school “needs to back down.”
Parents are also concerned top athletes could drop out if the school does not change its stance before classes resume on August 30.
“This is not what BC taught me when I was there,” a former student said. “Even my priest couldn’t believe it.”
An ‘Ethical Obligation’
In a statement, BC clarified its vaccine policy, stating that because Pope Francis called the COVID-19 vaccine an “ethical obligation,” no exemptions would be granted. The school will review other exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
“Given that Pope Francis, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, and millions of Catholics worldwide have been vaccinated, it is difficult for Catholics to make an argument against a COVID-19 vaccination,” college spokesman Ed Hayward said.