ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Writing under the theme of "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32), Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò has issued an open letter calling for people of goodwill to guard against tyranny and ensure that rights are protected as fallout from the Wuhan virus continues to unfold.
Titled "Appeal for the Church and the World — to Catholics and to those of goodwill," the May 3 letter has been signed by a host of leading Catholic prelates, journalists, writers, immunologists, virologists, researchers, attorneys and other professionals.
Signatories include: Cdl. Gerhard Müller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cdl. Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong; Bp. Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan; Bp. Robert Mutsaerts, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Den Bosch, Netherlands; Bp. Joseph Strickland of the diocese of Tyler, Texas; Bp. René Henry Gracida, bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi Texas; Steven Mosher, founder of Population Research Institute; Jim Graham of Texas Right to Life; Molly Smith of Cleveland Right to Life; and journalists Dr. Aldo Maria Valli and Dr. Marco Tosatti, among many others.
Viganò's letter begins: "The facts have shown that, under the pretext of the COVID-19 epidemic, the inalienable rights of citizens have in many cases been violated and their fundamental freedoms, including the exercise of freedom of worship, expression and movement, have been disproportionately and unjustifiably restricted."
The world has seen shutdowns of all that is deemed non-essential in the midst of the Wuhan crisis. Many of the faithful in the United States have angrily denounced that religious worship has been deemed nonessential while murdering preborn children in clinics and hospitals continues as "essential" in most states.
"Public health must not and cannot become an alibi for infringing on the rights of millions of people around the world, let alone for depriving the civil authority of its duty to act wisely for the common good," Viganò continues.
"This is particularly true as growing doubts emerge from several quarters about the actual contagiousness, danger and resistance of the virus," he adds. "Many authoritative voices in the world of science and medicine confirm that the alarmism about COVID-19 by the media appears to be absolutely unjustified."
This "alarmism" Viganò speaks of has been ubiquitous across the media from the time the virus was characterized a pandemic by the World Health Organization March 11. Dissenters to the conclusions of the common media narrative have been scorned and shamed.
As his letter continues, Viganò's skepticism becomes clear:
We have reason to believe, on the basis of official data on the incidence of the epidemic as related to the number of deaths, that there are powers interested in creating panic among the world's population with the sole aim of permanently imposing unacceptable forms of restriction on freedoms, of controlling people and of tracking their movements. The imposition of these illiberal measures is a disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control.
As a precursor to this "world government" Viganò fears, many places around the world are now stifling freedom of assimilation, conscience and religion.
"The criminalization of personal and social relationships must likewise be judged as an unacceptable part of the plan of those who advocate isolating individuals in order to better manipulate and control them," he says.
Viganò maintains a healthy skepticism of the motivations of those in power behind the scenes, both in government and in business, who are willing to take advantage of the vulnerable in a crisis.
While he appeals to the scientific community "to be vigilant, so that cures for COVID-19 are offered in honesty for the common good," he also warns against uncharitable greed.
"Every effort must be made to ensure that shady business interests do not influence the choices made by government leaders and international bodies," he says. "It is unreasonable to penalize those remedies that have proved to be effective ... [but do not] guarantee pharmaceutical companies far greater profits, and exacerbate public health expenditures."
Unlike the subtle ambiguities found in the 2005 Vatican response to the question of vaccines made from aborted fetal cell lines — a letter that has been seen by many as the last word on the subject — Viganò states unequivocally, "Let us also remember, as pastors, that for Catholics it is morally unacceptable to develop or use vaccines derived from material from aborted fetuses."
Viganò believes vigilance is called for in these times. He warns: "The fight against COVID-19, however serious, must not be the pretext for supporting the hidden intentions of supranational bodies that have very strong commercial and political interests in this plan."
He adds there must be no penalties imposed on those who refuse vaccines or contact tracing, and mentions the folly of so-called experts that have proscribed measures to control populations as well as the tyranny of governments that enforce them.
The archbishop chastises the media for penalizing dissent by forms of censorship, "as is happening widely on social media, in the press and on television" today.
"A democratic and honest debate is the best antidote to the risk of imposing subtle forms of dictatorship," he warns, days after YouTube deleted a popular video of two doctors whose opinions conflicted with the views expressed by mainstream media.
Viganò says that the pastor's primary responsibility is to his flock, and that the Church must be independent from the state in exercising her rights.
"We firmly assert the right to decide autonomously on the celebration of Mass and the sacraments," he asserts, "just as we claim absolute autonomy in matters falling within our immediate jurisdiction. ... The state has no right to interfere for any reason whatsoever in the sovereignty of the Church."
"We are fighting against an invisible enemy that seeks to divide," he warns. "Let us not allow centuries of Christian civilization to be erased under the pretext of a virus and an odious technological tyranny to be established ... ."
In closing, Viganò reminds Catholics that Jesus Christ is King; that He promised "the gates of Hell shall not prevail" (Matthew 16:18); and that Mary is queen and will ultimately "crush the head of the ancient Serpent and defeat the plans of the children of darkness" (Genesis 3:15).