Trinidad: Archbishop Jason Gordon took time out on Sunday Holy Mass to make a passionate plea to Roman Catholics to get vaccinated.
Saying there was a big difference between faith and stupidity, Gordon told parishioners logged on to the virtual service that many people who have come out against vaccinations and claimed that Covid-19 was unreal are no longer alive due to the virus.
“One pastor, very early on in Virginia, stood up and told his congregation we believe in the blood of Jesus Christ. Well, he’s dead with Covid and a lot of his congregation have died with Covid also,” he pointed out.
Gordon urged parishioners to trust the science behind the Covid-19 vaccines.
“The science is the science. We can’t fake it. We have to look at it. We have to ask God to help us to deal with it,” he urged.
He said there were a lot of “spurious theological claims” going around that because Jesus is present in the Catholic Church people could not contract Covid-19.
“That’s the same Jesus who stood up at the parapet of the temple, when the devil said jump, because you are the Son of Man, you would not harm your feet, the angels will give you a soft landing. And Jesus said, do not put the Lord your God to the test. That kind of thinking is not theological thinking, that’s magical thinking and it has to do with a misunderstanding of our tradition,” Gordon pointed out. “Our tradition is that you don’t put God to the test. There’s a difference between faith and stupidity. There’s a big, big difference. You don’t stand up on a cliff and jump because you’re a man of God.”
T&T at a crossroads
Gordon lamented that T&T was at a crossroads.
He emphasised that if enough people were not vaccinated, the economy could never open sufficiently to get people out of poverty and back into meaningful work.
“The second issue is that we’re going to have a generation of children who are in and out of school. We could stop that. We could stop it if we make the sacrificial choice to be vaccinated,” he said.
He said there were “super Catholics” who believed that Covid-19 vaccines were made out of aborted foetuses.
“If you go to the Vatican website, to the Commission for Doctrine and Faith, which is the highest body in the Church that governs what we actually believe…they put out a document and their document shows why that is a spurious argument and that has nothing to do with taking the vaccine,” Gordon pointed out.
“And if you believe you are more holy than them or you are more of a theologian than them because you read two piece of foolishness on Facebook, please brothers and sisters, there’s something called religion and religion is not about magical thinking. These men in Rome are some of the brightest theologians the world has and they understand and are committed to the faith in ways that you will never believe…we have to trust them,” he pleaded.
Gordon implored: “You think it’s easy for me to say mass with nobody here. I want the full congregation to come back to receive the Eucharist. I want us back in our churches. I want us to be able to celebrate as a community again. Every time I say mass by myself or with a few people it is painful to me.
“I’m asking you, please, please…there’s a lot of spurious information that is flying around that is stopping people from getting vaccinated. The Holy Father was vaccinated. I am vaccinated. Yes, I know it’s a matter of conscience, but we must have an informed conscience. And to have an informed conscience, I’m begging you think with the church.”
“I don’t know about you but I don’t like how we’re living right now. I don’t know about you, but I meet too many people on the fringe of an economic collapse in their personal and family life,” Gordon said. “To think that what we’re doing now is good, it is not good. It is terrible, but for the sake of the whole nation and preserving what we have as an independent Trinidad and Tobago, we have to make the hard choices, the choice to be vaccinated.”
He said a lot of people felt like they were getting their doctorate from Facebook and spreading misinformation.
“And this is a problem. With Facebook, whatever you like or whatever you are interested in, Facebook feeds you with that information. It is called the algorithm…it feeds you with information, it sends it back to you. So you like anti-vaxxing, you do three searches for that, everything on anti-vaxxing is going to come straight back to you. You are put into an echo chamber and everything you’re hearing you think it is all independent information, it is not. It is bouncing around from the same sources,” Gordon said.
He pointed to a study which found that 12 people on Facebook accounted for 65 per cent of the anti-vaccine content on social media.
“And some of those people made big money because of it, both because they got money from the amount of likes that they have and some of them got money because they were peddling products that are spurious in the scientific world…telling you if you take my products, you will not get Covid. Well, that didn’t work either,” he noted.