BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (ChurchMilitant.com) - Outraged Catholics have published a petition against Slovak bishops after the hierarchs vetoed the right of the faithful to conscientiously object to the abortion-tainted COVID-19 vaccine, in violation of historical precedent and the Nuremberg Code.
"We Slovak Catholics are scandalized by your attitudes," theologians, clergymen and laymen announced in an online petition Thursday. "Conscience cannot be replaced by orders, prohibitions, ideologies, doctrines, decrees or recommendations."
The faithful blasted the bishops for "stubbornly walking in harmony with the secular world" and "canceling" the conscience of Catholics.
"Everyone has the sovereign right to be guided by their conscience," the petition, signed by hundreds of Catholics, maintained.
In a statement issued just before Christmas, the Slovak bishops' conference categorically declared that Catholics were not permitted to have a conscientious objection to the novel gene therapy because "vaccination, as such, is not inherently bad."
"A conscientious objection concerns conduct which is, in essence, wrong," the bishops argued. "If someone rejects it [vaccination], they cannot invoke a conscientious objection" for "even conscience can be wrong."
"One's own conscience cannot be placed, at any time and in any way, above the laws and rules that apply in society, which must also be taken into account," Fr. Martin Kramara, the bishops' spokesman, explained.
"If someone decides to drive on the left in a country where everyone drives on the right, they cannot invoke freedom of conscience," Kramara added, citing the cases of a doctor refusing to perform an abortion or euthanasia as legitimate examples of conscientious objection.
"As a medical ethicist, I am horrified by the bishops' rejection of the concept of conscientious objection," Dr. Niall McCrae, academic and author of the book The Story of Nursing in British Mental Hospitals, told Church Militant.
If conscience is quashed, we lose more than the time-honored principles of medicine and the dictum "first, do no harm." We would lose what it means to be human. Wherever there is risk there must be choice. A man of the cloth should always treat each of his parishioners as a unique being, as in the eyes of their Creator.
In their statement, the Slovak bishops insisted that since "the connection to abortion is so remote ... no one who is vaccinated commits sin." They added, "In the world in which we live, unfortunately, it is not possible to achieve absolute discontinuity with sin in everything we do."
Most consumer products used by Catholics "demonstrably have some connection with the sinful actions of other people," even with "serious and ruthless actions," Kramara argued, pointing to the exploitation of children in mining cobalt for mobile phones.
"If we were to assess everything else as strictly as some of the COVID-19 vaccines, we would not only have to stop taking conventional medicines, but also, in essence, leave society and return to growing our own food, making our own clothes (of course without machines) and so on," he noted.
The subject of the conscientious objection is not vaccination, but experimental vaccines against COVID-19, "for which even the manufacturers cannot guarantee the current safety and know nothing about the negative medium and long-term consequences," the petition clarified.
Petitioners also pointed to the records of "thousands of serious health complications and deaths associated with the use of the experimental vaccines" and the fact that "the risk of using such an experimental vaccine [is] borne by each vaccinee," not the manufacturers.
The faithful warned that the bishops are in danger of violating the Nuremberg Code, which states that "the voluntary consent of the human subject" is "absolutely essential" to the administering of experimental medication.
"Based on the painful experience of experimenting on people in concentration camps, the Nuremberg Code was developed to prevent trampling on human dignity in the future," the petitioners stated.
"From a theological point of view, moral conscience in man is 'a gift of the Holy Spirit,'" the petition added, quoting Pope John Paul II's 1986 encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem.
According to bioethicists, conscientious objection to vaccination may be based on religious, moral or philosophical convictions, including "the conviction that health and disease should not be controlled by vaccination or that governments should not coerce citizens into receiving medical interventions."
In his book Conscientious Objection in Health Care: An Ethical Analysis, philosopher and bioethicist Mark R. Wicclair notes that the term "conscientious objector" originally referred to parents who refused to let their infants be vaccinated (after Britain passed its Vaccination Act of 1853, requiring all infants to be jabbed).
"These 'anti-vaccinationists' were referred to at the time as 'conscientious objectors,'" writes Wicclair. The United Kingdom added a conscience clause in 1898 to the Vaccination Act, enabling parents to apply for "certificates of conscientious objection."
Parents generally opposed the jabs, not on ethical or religious grounds, but "because they believed that it was not safe or effective," Wicclair observes. To qualify for an exception, a parent had to "conscientiously believe that vaccination would be prejudicial to the health of the child."
"Given the history of conscientious objection, the Slovak bishops are displaying their appalling ignorance of the very concept they are rejecting," Dr. McCrae told Church Militant.
"These puritans of the COVID cult want everyone on the planet to receive the improperly tested mRNA injections, disregarding informed consent, contraindications or philosophical and spiritual reasons to decline," McCrae lamented.
"To them, our bodies are no longer sacred, no longer a temple for the Holy Spirit — but a pincushion for Big Pharma," he remarked.
Only fully vaccinated Catholics were permitted to attend Masses celebrated by Pope Francis during the pontiff's visit to Slovakia in September, after health minister Vladimír Lengvarský reached an agreement with the president of the Slovak bishops' conference, Abp. Stanislav Zvolenský.
On Wednesday, Cdl. Jean-Claude Hollerich, chairman of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union, called for unvaccinated Catholics to be banned from entering churches for Holy Mass or other sacraments.
"Since Christmas, a law has been in force in Luxembourg which allows only those who have been vaccinated to participate in the Liturgy, except in the case of celebrations with fewer than 20 faithful," Hollerich pointed out, calling for the law to be adopted across Europe.
The position of people refusing the jab "does not help to find a solution to the problem," the cardinal added. "They hurt people. They disorient you."
Hollerich, who is a vocal advocate for Islamic immigration into Europe, earlier rejected claims blaming Islam for jihadi terrorism after police revealed that the 14 suspects arrested for the 2020 massacre in Vienna were all Muslim migrants, Church Militant reported.
Exonerating Islam for the attack on Catholics in Nice, the cardinal claimed that the "prophet Muhammad would have been ashamed of the attack," since "Muhammad had been criticized many times during his lifetime, but he never took these criticisms seriously and was never upset."