Slovenian bishops support all efforts to protect human health and find new vaccines and forms of treatment for patients with coronavirus disease covid-19.
In 2020, we were faced with a pandemic that limited our lives. Because of this crisis, many have lost their loved ones, become lonely and exposed to difficult social and economic conditions. Our Catholic religious life was also restricted. In this situation, we are starting to feel hopeful due to new vaccines. There are raised various vital questions about the ethics of vaccination, possible side effects of vaccines, and their short-term and long-term effectiveness in public. Bishops do not want to judge professional issues related to vaccines, as this is the responsibility of experts and state institutions. At the same time, we express our support to everyone who will decide to get vaccinated after consulting their doctor. Throughout history, vaccination in the case of various diseases has proven to be an effective way to protect one’s health and the health of loved ones.
Vaccination is also the best way to protect those who, for various reasons, cannot be vaccinated and could be severely affected by a possible infection or could die from the disease. We want to emphasize that the infected and all those who are not vaccinated for good or health reasons must not be discriminated against and stigmatized. Also, in this vaccination, the fundamental ethical principle is that vaccination should always be voluntary and that everyone has the right to informed consent. According to data available today, the European Union has approved covid-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna pharmaceutical companies. Both are considered to be derived in an ethically acceptable manner and not from germ cell lines. Therefore, Catholics can use them. At the same time, we express our support for state institutions and the government to provide free vaccination to all people and provide access to the vaccine first to those most at risk.
Pope Francis has announced that he will get vaccinated and encourages all Catholics to do so. Therefore, bishops recommend all priests, religious men, women, and other pastoral workers decide to get vaccinated after consulting their physician. This decision will mainly prevent them from becoming carriers of the infection, while at the same time protecting their health as well as the health of the people they come in contact. Everyone who will get vaccinated will contribute to calming the epidemic and returning religious life to our churches, parishes and monasteries. Bishops invite all Catholics to continue praying for an end to the epidemic and strictly adhere to all measures to prevent the outbreak.
Msgr Stanislav Zore, Metropolitan Archbishop of Ljubljana and President of SBC
Msgr MA Alojzij Cvikl, Metropolitan Archbishop of Maribor and Vice President of SBC
Msgr Dr Jurij Bizjak, Bishop of Koper
Msgr Dr Peter Štumpf, Bishop of Murska Sobota
Msgr Andrej Glavan, Bishop of Novo mesto
Mr Rok Metličar, administrator of the Diocese of Celje