Cardinal Cupich Reportedly ‘Leaning Hard’ on Bioethics Center to Retract Stance on COVID Vaccine Exemptions

He wants them to change their position about allowing for reasons of conscience in people’s deciding whether to be vaccinated.

Amid disagreement among Catholic leaders over whether there is a moral obligation to receive a coronavirus vaccine, board members at the National Catholic Bioethics Center have told CNA that Blase Cardinal Cupich has urged that the center retract its guidance against mandated immunization.

One board member told CNA that Cardinal Cupich has been “leaning hard” on the bishops and some prominent lay board members, but did not elaborate on specific names.The NCBC board members spoke with CNA on the condition they not be identified by name.
The Archdiocese of Chicago did not respond to CNA’s request for comment.

The board members who spoke with CNA said that they would oppose the change they say the cardinal is seeking.

“I think everyone should be vaccinated,” said one of them, “and Catholics should be the first to give a good example. . . . but the conscience of religious people should be respected.”

Cupich has been applying “tremendous pressure” on the board “to retract its support for conscience or religious exemptions from coronavirus vaccine mandates,” wanting them “to argue in favor of such mandates.”

The NCBC, a bioethics think tank, has as its mission “to provide education, guidance, and resources to the Church and society to uphold the dignity of the human person in health care and biomedical research.” Its board, which includes bishops, a deacon, and lay persons, is chaired by Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans.