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Cardinals Robert Sarah, Joseph Zen and Gerhard Müller have joined with Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò in launching an appeal to governmental leaders to respect people’s inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Titled “An Appeal for the Church and the world,” the three-page document was released in six languages on Thursday, May 7 at 7:30, local-time Rome.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, and Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, have also put their names to the appeal, together with an international group of bishops.
The list of more than 80 signatories includes prelates and theologians, doctors (several from northern Italy), lawyers, journalists and heads of associations. American signatories include Michael Matt, Editor of the Remnant, and Steven Mosher, a renowned expert on China and President of the Population Research Institute.
The prelates call on the scientific community to provide real cures for Covid-19 and remind them that developing or using vaccines derived from aborted fetuses is “morally unacceptable.” They exhort government leaders to ensure that citizens are not controlled through “contact-tracking” or other similar methods. And they urge the media to provide accurate information by giving room to “voices that are not aligned with a single way of thinking”.
As Pastors, they also reassert the authority of Catholic Bishops to decide autonomously on all that concerns the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments.” They also claim “absolute autonomy” in matters falling within their “immediate jurisdiction,” such as “liturgical norms and ways of administering Communion and the Sacraments.”
“The State has no right to interfere, for any reason whatsoever, in the sovereignty of the Church,” the prelates write, asking that restrictions on the celebration of public ceremonies be removed.