Amid continued public debate over so-called “vaccine mandates,” the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is encouraging those who can to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and will not authorize “religious exemption” letters for Catholics who request them from parishes.   

In a statement released Aug. 16, the archdiocese cited the moral guidance of the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in affirming that Catholics can take the vaccine in good conscience. The full statement is below. 

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in accordance with the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), recommends that all members of the Catholic community, who are able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, should do so.

“Receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community. In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.” -USCCB, Moral Considerations Regarding the New COVID-19 Vaccines

Since the vaccinations for COVID-19 have been found morally acceptable to protect the lives and ensure the health of all in our communities, the Archdiocese will not provide religious exemptions to receiving a vaccine against COVID-19. Parishes are not to provide religious exemption letters regarding the COVID-19 vaccination.

The following links might be helpful in understanding the morality of receiving the vaccine:

Vatican: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines

USCCB: U.S. Bishop Chairmen for Doctrine and for Pro-Life Address the Use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine

California Catholic Conference: Catholic Moral Teaching and Tradition on COVID-19 Vaccines

Let us continue to pray for all who have died from this terrible illness, for their loved ones who are experiencing the pain of loss, and for all who continue to work diligently to care for the sick and serve all in need during these challenging times.