Pope Francis: Humans ‘Friendly’ with Vaccines

On his return flight from a visit to Slovakia in mid-September, Pope Francis said he wondered why so many, including some cardinals within the Catholic Church themselves, were hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19. He emphasized the “friendship” of mankind with vaccinations against certain diseases.

Pope Francis said Wednesday he wonders why so many people, including some cardinals in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, refuse to be immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Pope was responding to a question from a reporter regarding his reluctance to be vaccinated, on his return flight from Slovakia. “It’s quite strange that humanity has a history of being friendly with vaccines. When we were kids, we got the smallpox vaccine, and everything else, polio, and nobody protested about it, and then this all happened.”

Pope Francis, who has been vaccinated against COVID, has frequently urged others to be immunized for the common good.

Pope Francis speaks to the media aboard the Alitalia plane en route from Milan's Rastislav Stefanik Bratislava International airport in Bratislava, Slovakia, back to Rome, September 15, 2021. (Tiziana Fabi/Pool via REUTERS)

Pope Francis speaks to the media aboard the Alitalia plane en route from Milan’s Rastislav Stefanik Bratislava International airport in Bratislava, Slovakia, back to Rome, September 15, 2021. (Tiziana Fabi/Pool via REUTERS)

On the plane, he said, maybe some people were scared at first because there were a variety of vaccines available, and some turned out to be, “nothing more than distilled water.” He did not mention any vaccines.

He then went on to state that even among the top brass of the Catholic church there was a reluctance to be vaccinated.

“Even in the Council of Cardinals, there were a number of people who refused and one of these unfortunate people was hospitalized for the virus. There needs to be clarity and quiet talk with these people. At the Vatican, we are all vaccinated except for a small group and we are studying how to help them.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a conservative and doubtful about vaccines, was hospitalized in the US last month after contracting the coronavirus.

Some conservative anti-vaccine bishops, particularly in the US, have suggested Catholics should have the possibility to express conscientious objection to vaccines on religious grounds.

But Pope Francis has made it clear in the past that he disagrees with that, and has never mentioned the option.[uh/ab]

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