VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Vatican City State has issued a damage control document toning down its earlier "no jab, no job" decree on mandatory vaccination for employees after a tsunami of negative publicity in the international media.
On Thursday evening, hours after explosive revelations of the draconian fiat pronounced by the world's smallest independent country, the Vatican backpedaled, explaining that its legislation should not be viewed as an instrument of "a sanctioning or punitive nature" but aimed at finding "alternative solutions" for staff refusing the jab.
Vatican sources told Church Militant that authorities were caught completely unaware by the media brouhaha as the "clandestine" decree had not been circulated to employees and was apparently prepared to sanction vaccine dissenters, especially in the light of Pope Francis' unprecedented vaccine zealotry.
A Rome-based canonist told Church Militant that the decree was "a very powerful tool to purge undesirables who were refusing to take the experimental vaccine."
The clarification explained that the Legal Decree CCCXCVIII on Public Health Emergency, published Feb. 8, "intended to allow a flexible and proportionate response to the balance between protecting the health of the community and the freedom of individual choice without putting in place any form of repression against the worker."
The unsigned document, released to the Vatican press corps by the Holy See Press Office, repeatedly stressed that the original decree was meant to be implemented in the context of "exceptional situations of public health emergency."
Even though it does not revoke or amend the original legislation, the clarification emphasized that the decree was intended to offer an "urgent regulatory response to the primary need to safeguard and guarantee the health and well-being of the working community, citizens and residents of the Vatican City State."
Italians blasted the decree on social media, saying it contradicted Pope Francis' leitmotif of mercy. "The Vatican's era of mercy is over. Or rather, it is no longer contemplated in the health regulations of the smallest state in the world," remarked eminent Italian epidemiologist Paolo Gulisano.
The former professor of the History of Medicine at the Bicocca State University of Milan slammed the decree as "scientific nonsense" and "an unjustifiable decision from a moral and legal point of view because the state of necessity is lacking, and there is no certainty about the efficacy and safety of vaccines."
Accusing the Vatican decree of "demonizing the unvaccinated," Professor Gulisano said that the latest Vatican clarification to "dampen the controversy" does not change the substance of the legislation and "conscientious objectors" to the abortion-tainted Pfizer-BioNTech offered to Vatican employees would still be punished.
What the Vatican decree calls a "responsible decision," is "in fact obligatory and coercive, under penalty of fines and loss of work," Gulisano noted, in a scathing column for the New Daily Compass, also blasting the introduction of the Holy See's "digital vaccination passport."
Multiple sources told Church Militant that the Vatican's backpedal may also have been because of its reluctance to risk a clash with the January resolution issued by the Council of Europe (CoE) prohibiting forced vaccination by governments or health regulators.
Church Militant first published the story on the CoE Resolution 2361 (2021) ordering governments to ensure "that citizens are informed that the vaccination is NOT mandatory and that no one is politically, socially, or otherwise pressured to get themselves vaccinated, if they do not wish to do so themselves."
While the Vatican has observer status at the CoE, Italy is a fully signed-up member of the top human rights regulatory body in Europe.
Most employees of the Holy See are Italian citizens, and the Vatican City State's decree was putting itself at odds with Italian legislation on vaccination, sources added.
The Vatican decree on mandatory vaccination also violates a December statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) which clarifies that "vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and ... therefore, it must be voluntary."
The Holy See Press Office has made it mandatory for reporters accompanying Pope Francis on his March trip to Iraq to be vaccinated.
Britain's trade unions are warning employers that they could face legal action if they tried to force staff to take the experimental COVID-19 jab. The unions have urged the government to challenge "no jab, no job" contracts.
In Aug. 2018, Italy's upper house of parliament voted 148 to 110 to amend a law requiring children under the age of 6 to undergo 10 routine vaccinations before enrolling in nurseries and pre-school.
Populist Matteo Salvini, who was interior minister at the time, said that the 10 mandatory vaccines were "useless and in many cases dangerous, if not harmful" while his health minister, Giulia Grillo, said requiring 10 vaccines threatened "school inclusion."