RIGA - Zbignevs Stankevics, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Latvia, has forbidden priests from questioning the need for vaccination against Covid-19 in their sermons, the archbishop said in an interview to TV3 channel Thursday.
Archbishop Stankevics noted that the Covid-19 related debate and the resulting splits in society have also affected the church's congregations which have been reporting divisions among parishioners.
"Such cases do not represent the majority, but the saddest thing is that signals have been received about some priests' activities, namely, that they have been questioning the need for vaccination against Covid-19 in their sermons," Stankevics said.
A remote meeting of the Council of Priests and Deans was called a month ago to discuss these cases and seek solutions to prevent such situations. "To be honest, this time I had to tighten the screws, and I forbid questioning vaccination against Covid-19 in sermons, because using a sermon in church as a tool to express an opinion against it is impermissible," the archbishop said.
At the end of July, the Council of Priests of the Riga Archdiocese urged Latvia's Roman Catholic congregations against splitting over the Covid-19 vaccine issue and spreading "apocalyptic pandemic scenarios". The bishops also asked their flock to listen to expert advice about the importance of vaccination.