ROME — Berlin archbishop Heiner Koch has barred unvaccinated Catholics from attending Mass in his archdiocese, sparking protests by members of the German faithful and an outcry from Catholics worldwide.
Last Sunday, German Catholics organized a prayer vigil in Berlin’s Hedwig’s Cathedral, “singing, praying, and displaying a sign which read: ‘No 2G: Church for all,’” LifesiteNews reported this week.
Protesters slogans refer to the segregation of Catholics into two tiers — the vaccinated and the unvaccinated — with the latter being treated as second-class Catholics unworthy of the sacraments.
“What is of greatest concern is the possible creation of two classes of Catholics, in this case, one ‘vaccinated’ and one ‘unvaccinated,’” declares Dr. Robert Moynihan, the founding editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, in a letter made available to Breitbart News (Letter #166).
“This would be unprecedented, and a terrible tragedy,” Moynihan says, noting that the measure “is not in harmony with the perennial Catholic faith, as it marginalizes an entire group of Catholics, rather than embracing and nourishing them.”
In a blog post Tuesday, Bishop Henry Gracida, the retired bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas, slammed the Berlin move as the “fascist repression” of Catholics “by their own bishops.”
One of the organizers of the German Catholic protests against the archbishop’s decision, Moritz Scholtysik, noted that some faithful were barred from attending Mass on the first two Sundays of Advent.
“This is disastrous,” Scholtysik said. “According to the catechism the faithful have a right to receive the holy sacraments. Especially in a time when we experience fear, loneliness, and isolation, the common celebration of Holy Mass is more important than ever.”
Scholtysik also observed that the archbishop had made this decision unilaterally, with no pressure whatsoever from civil authorities.
In his “Letter #166,” Moynihan draws unfavorable comparisons between Berlin’s Archbishop Koch and Saint Charles Borromeo, the 16th-century Archbishop of Milan who guided his people through the devastating plague of 1576 at immense personal risk.
Borromeo attended to the faithful personally, anointing the sick and giving Viaticum, or Holy Communion, to the dying, aware of the personal risk of contagion, because of his awareness of his flock’s spiritual needs.
“The Church has never believed that it is in harmony with the Christian faith to divide the members of the Church into two groups, one ‘pure’ and able to receive the sacraments, the other ‘impure’ and forbidden access to the sacraments,” Moynihan declares. “The Church is one, and must always be one, and so remain united.”
“This Berlin decision is a very dangerous precedent,” he concludes, while expressing hope that Rome will address the matter “decisively” as soon as possible.