Catholic Voice Update | March 9, 2021 - Maryland Catholic Conference

Catholic Voice Update | March 9, 2021

Catholic Guidance for COVID Vaccines


Last week, the Federal Drug Administration approved a third COVID-19 vaccine, resulting in three now in use: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. What should Catholics know about receiving these COVID-19 vaccines?

  • Our bishops have encouraged Catholics to get vaccinated (unless medically indicated otherwise). Vaccination against COVID-19 is an act of charity in light of the virus’s grave risk to the life and health of others.
  • Catholics may receive any of the three vaccines offered. There has been discussion in media about the morality of the vaccines, but the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith notes it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that use a compromised fetal cell line in development, in light of the grave risk to public health and availability. Their document, linked below, provides a discussion of this topic, including remote cooperation.
  • Delaying or declining a vaccination may risk the health and life of others, especially those who are not able to be vaccinated due to medical conditions. As the Vatican COVID-19 Commission, with the Pontifical Academy of Life, notes, “On the moral responsibility of undergoing vaccination … it is necessary to reiterate how this issue also involves the relationship between personal health and public health, showing their close interdependence. In the light of this connection, we consider it important that a responsible decision be taken in this regard, since refusal of the vaccine may also constitute a risk to others.”


Featured Legislation


Among the bills the Maryland Catholic Conference will submit testimony on this week:

Establishing Emancipation Day as a Legal Holiday

The Maryland Catholic Conference is submitting testimony in support of Senate Bill 0142, which would establish Nov. 1 as Maryland Emancipation Day, a legal state holiday. In 1864, Marylanders voted to abolish slavery – the first southern state (below the Mason-Dixon Line) that ended slavery through a vote of the people. The new state constitution went into effect on Nov. 1, 1864, more than a year before the ratification of the 13th Amendment. Read more about Maryland Emancipation Day in the Washington Post.

Reentry Success Act of 2021

A hearing is being held today on House Bill 1233, the Reentry Success Act of 2021. This legislation, which the Conference supports, would assist inmates in successfully re-entering society after they have served their sentence. Support would include screening and access to private mediation between an inmate and a person who will assist with his or her reentry, social services and public transportation at the time of release. The goal of restorative justice practices such as these is to reduce recidivism.

As our associate director for social and economic justice, MJ Kraska, notes, “When inmates are given the tools for success upon post-release their chances to break free from their often-challenging circumstances and live productive lives are exponentially enhanced.”

Testimony from the Maryland Catholic Conference is available online here after a hearing.

World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day is March 21, but we are starting the celebration early here in Maryland.

The Maryland Catholic Conference is proud to again be a cosponsor of Maryland’s official observance, which will be held on March 19, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Join First Lady Yumi Hogan, legislative leaders, and Carol Beatty, Secretary for the Maryland Department of Disabilities, and then stay for a virtual dance party. The event is free.

You can register for Maryland’s March 19 Online Celebration and Dance Party through our partner, The Arc, and download the flyer here.

More Ways to Celebrate

  • Join #LotsofSocks: #LotsofSocks is an international campaign to raise awareness of Down syndrome. 

    • Wear and encourage your friends, school classes, youth groups and whoever you can think of to take photos of themselves wearing bright, colorful, happy and wild socks!
    • Post your photo on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #WDSD21 and #LotsofSocks
    • Tag @mdcatholic in your social media posts and the Maryland Catholic Conference will share our favorites!

  • Update your Zoom: download this Zoom background for March 21 
  • Read this column from Molly Sheahan, the Conference’s associate director for respect life advocacy

Join Bishop Malooly in Prayer

Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of Wilmington, leads us in our prayer for our elected officials this week. The diocese includes the Eastern Shore of Maryland, as well as the State of Delaware.  Bishop Malooly recorded this prayer before his recent bypass surgery. As he continues his recovery, please keep him in prayer, as well!

Click the image above or visit our prayer page, where you can access all of the video prayers from this session and read or download the prayer  (in English and Spanish). The prayer also is posted on Twitter and Facebook (@mdcatholic) every Monday at 10 a.m.

Of Note

Federal COVID relief legislation excludes Hyde Amendment: The US Senate passed the American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 relief package, over the weekend (the legislation now goes back to the House for a vote). The bill excludes Hyde Amendment language which prevents the use of federal taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion.

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, with several committee chairs, spoke out before the vote: “For 45 years, the United States Congress – whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans – has maintained that taxpayers should not be forced against their conscience to pay for abortions. Abandoning this compromise in a time of national emergency only serves to divide people in the very moment we should be united. Please, let us instead focus on delivering the COVID relief so desperately needed.”

Pope Francis Pastoral Visit to Iraq: Pope Francis made the first papal visit in history to Iraq this past weekend. He celebrated Mass with the Christian community, met with key national and Muslim leaders, and visited the birthplace of Abraham. Read more about the trip, the Holy Father’s reflections following the visit and about the significance of the region’s history for Christians.

Centenary of the Death of James Cardinal Gibbons: Cardinal Gibbons, the ninth Archbishop of Baltimore and champion of labor and ecumenism, died 100 years ago, on March 24, 1921. Watch the Mass in his honor celebrated by Baltimore Archbishop William E Lori on March 7.

St. Patrick’s Day is Coming: Enjoy this story about Irish soda bread from the Catholic Review.

Prayers: Yesterday, March 8, was International Women’s Day. Please join in offering a Hail Mary in honor of Catholic women throughout our state who live out their faith in small and large ways every day.


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