TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — As vaccine mandates are being considered across the country, including right here in Tucson, some individuals are requesting a religious exemption to be excused from such ordinances.
On Wednesday, KGUN 9 received a statement that Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger sent to priests, asking that they not provide exemptions to vaccine or mask mandates to parishioners.
“The critical issue is the common good and our need to recognize how our decisions can gravely affect the well-being of the community," Weisenburger said. "While there may be individual conscience reasons that one chooses not to be vaccinated or follow a mask mandate, such reservations do not flow from adherence to the Roman Catholic faith.”
Weisenburger says all current anti-COVID-19 vaccines may be received without moral compromise by people of the Catholic faith. The Bishop also said the moral good of the community takes precedence over our own personal choices.
The Bishop went on to direct the church's clergy to not cooperate with individuals seeking its endorsement for an exemption.
This statement comes hours after news broke that more than 500 City of Tucson employees have requested exemptions from the city's COVID vaccination mandate for employees, including 277 religious exemptions.
The deadline for employees to report their vaccination status to the city was Tuesday, Aug. 24.
Read the Bishop's full letter below: