"We have been asked to encourage parishioners to accept the opportunity to be vaccinated," Father Neil McNicholas of St Mary and St Romuald Parish in England wrote in a newsletter sent out to his congregation on Jan. 17.
His parish also announced earlier: "We’ve been asked by the Coronavirus Places of Worship Task Force – Cardinal Nichols is one of the Church’s representatives on that group – to try to encourage parishioners to accept the opportunity to be vaccinated when that offer comes along."
Established by the U.K. government in May last year, the Places of Worship Task Force (PWTF) is tasked with ensuring that churches and other places of worship could safely re-open in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The task force includes leaders from all major faiths and operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
Some vaccines, including the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford vaccine, were made using human fetal cells. But British bishops said that receiving these jabs is permissible given the present situation. Other clergymen, however, protested that the use of abortion-tainted vaccines is morally wrong under any circumstance.
The MHCLG declined numerous requests to confirm that the government is lobbying religious leaders. But LifeSiteNews was able to obtain confirmation from the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), the permanent assembly of Catholic bishops and personal ordinaries in those two countries.
"The U.K. government is encouraging all faiths to promote the take-up of the vaccine among their congregations," CBCEW said in a statement.
In response, members of the CBCEW have taken to social media to spread the word. Vincent Cardinal Nichols, president of the CBCEW and a member of the PWTF, recently posted a picture of him receiving the vaccine and encouraged people to get vaccinated too.
"First dose of the COVID-19 vaccine yesterday! Such a kind and cheerful experience. I strongly encourage everyone to take the vaccine," the cardinal wrote on Twitter on Jan. 21.
This is not the first time that British bishops conspired with the government during the pandemic. In March 2020, the CBCEW volunteered to shut down churches even though the government originally okayed leaving churches open for private prayer. Weeks later, Cardinal Nichols said that it would be a "scandal" to have churches re-opened in response to a petition to have them so.
The CBCEW supports vaccination despite several ethical objections regarding the use of human fetal cells to make COVID-19 jabs. In June, many pro-life groups have pointed out that at least five coronavirus jabs are made using the cells of aborted babies from decades ago. These jabs include the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is already being used in the U.K. and elsewhere.
"The use of cells from electively aborted fetuses for vaccine production makes these five COVID-19 vaccine programs unethical because they exploit the innocent human beings who were aborted," said David Prentice, vice president and research director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an anti-abortion think tank based in Virginia. (Related: Pro-life group warns about COVID vaccines made from aborted babies, vaccine mandates.)
Yet last December, the CBCEW said that getting vaccinated with the AstraZeneca-Oxford jab, along with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, does not constitute a sin.
"[One] may in good conscience and for a grave reason receive a vaccine sourced in this way, provided that there is a sufficient moral distance between the present administration of the vaccine and the original wrongful action," the CBCEW said in a letter, referring to the fact that the AstraZeneca-Oxford jab was made using aborted babies from the 1980s.
But other clergymen did not support this view. In a paper released on Dec. 12, Kazakhstani Bishop Athanasius Schneider and other co-signers stated that using a vaccine with links to abortion is unacceptable under any circumstance.
"To argue that such vaccines can be morally licit if there is no alternative is in itself contradictory and cannot be acceptable for Catholics," the paper read.
Learn more about Big Pharma's use of aborted babies and other evil practices to make vaccines at MedicalViolence.com.