Minnesota: There will be NO vaccine mandates for children in Catholic Schools

Posted on November 4, 2021

In the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a two-page memo from the archdiocesan Office of the Chancellor for Civil Affairs and Office for the Mission of Catholic Education informed school leaders that, “as with all vaccines, (COVID-19) vaccination of school-age children is a decision of parents and is not mandated by Catholic schools or the Archdiocese.”

The following article originally appeared in the online edition of Catholic Spirit Oct 29,2021:

Catholic schools in Minnesota won’t mandate their students receive a COVID-19 vaccine, education officials in all six of the state’s dioceses announced Oct. 29.

In the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a two-page memo from the archdiocesan Office of the Chancellor for Civil Affairs and Office for the Mission of Catholic Education informed school leaders that, “as with all vaccines, (COVID-19) vaccination of school-age children is a decision of parents and is not mandated by Catholic schools or the Archdiocese.”

The memo was addressed to pastors with Catholic schools, canonical administrators of Catholic schools and heads of Catholic schools.

It was issued the morning of Oct. 29, after a Federal Food and Drug Administration advisory panel endorsed Oct. 26 Pfizer’s vaccine for use in children as young as age 5.

In the afternoon of Oct. 29, the FDA announced that it had authorized the vaccine for that use. According to multiple news sources, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is expected to recommend vaccination for children ages 5-11 next week. In May, the CDC began recommending the vaccine for ages 12 and older.

In the memo, the offices restated that Church teaching from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “affirms that ‘all vaccinations recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience’ and it is ‘morally acceptable’ for Catholics to take a COVID-19 vaccine. The memo went on to quote the CDF: “At the same time … practical reason makes it evident that vaccination is not, as a rule a moral obligation, and that therefore, it must be voluntary.”

“As with all healthcare decisions, parents of students in our Catholic schools should carefully weigh the risks and benefits in consultation with their healthcare provider,” the memo stated.

“Catholic schools can be a helpful resource by educating families of the Church’s teaching on vaccines, and encouraging them to meet with their primary care provider to discuss their child’s particular health history, risks, and benefits associated the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The memo acknowledged that decisions around vaccines “can look different from one family to another.”

“The levels of disagreement often found between families on COVID-19 protocols has resulted in significant discord and in some places, sadly, division,” the memo stated. “These disagreements undermine the unity and trust that is essential in the relationships that a quality Catholic education relies upon. As we turn toward the Lord for help in healing our communities, please join us in praying for greater respect, unity, and understanding in our effort to better learn how to live with this pandemic.”

The memo was also shared with school leaders in the dioceses of Crookston, Duluth, New Ulm, St. Cloud and Winona-Rochester.