Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli is urging the Victorian Government to allow the unvaccinated to worship in person when the state reopens, warning a vaccine requirement could lead to a two-class society. Source: The Age.
Under the Government’s reopening strategy, religious services of up to 50 people will be allowed outdoors with social-distancing requirements, once 70 per cent of Victorians over 16 are fully vaccinated. When 80 per cent of eligible Victorians have had both doses, weddings, funerals, and religious services will return for 150 fully vaccinated people indoors and 500 outdoors.
However, Archbishop Comensoli said that while Catholics were being strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the notion of a vaccine passport system – in which church services or events are offered only to those who can prove they are fully inoculated against COVID-19 – could risk creating social division.
Archbishop Comensoli said he believes there are ways to allow the vaccinated and unvaccinated to worship in person.
The Church is among several faith-based groups that have called for greater clarity from the Health Department about how the Government’s road map rules will work once Victoria reaches its 80 per cent double-dose vaccination target.
Similar concerns have also been raised in NSW, where religious leaders have lobbied Health Minister Brad Hazzard for exemptions to a requirement that churchgoers show proof of vaccination once the state reopens.
Churches fear vaccine mandates could lead to two-tiered society (By Farrah Tomazin, The Age)
Faith leaders seek clarity on Government roadmap (Melbourne Archdiocese)
Churches should be for all, not just the vaccinated (The Catholic Weekly)