Catholic News Agency reports that Bishop Byrne has responded to requests from the faithful and will now support religious exemptions for COVID vaccinations:
Bishop William Byrne of Springfield in Massachusetts said Tuesday that clerics in the diocese should support Catholics who themselves seek conscientious exemption from COVID-19 vaccine mandates by attesting to their baptism and practice of the faith.
“It is important for us to recognize and encourage the well-formed consciences of those who both desire the vaccine for themselves and the common good, as well as those who for health concerns or other reasons, may desire not to receive the vaccine,” Bishop Byrne wrote Sept. 14 to clerics of the Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
“In charity as priests and deacons, we should help to support the conscience rights of our Catholic faithful on this and all matters. We can do this by attesting to their Sacramental Baptism and the ‘practicing’ of their Catholic faith, as a separate letter or statement, to support their letter or request for religious exemption, but not to compose or sign a letter or form ourselves.”
We reported earlier that Bishop Byrne was refusing to support religious exemption requests (see email issued by his office), thereby earning him a red rating in our Vaccine Exemption Tracking. Based upon this change, Bishop Byrne will now be rated as supporting religious exemptions.
TAKE ACTION: Email Bishop Byrne at firstname.lastname@example.org and thank him for now supporting religious exemption requests.