The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) issued a statement on Tuesday, Aug. 17, pressing authorities to “tailor” restrictions so that people who do not wish to receive a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus (COVID-19) vaccine for reasons of conscience can do so without suffering discrimination.

In its statement, the NCBC acknowledges “the complex and challenging decisions in conscience that institutions—including Catholic health care organizations need to make not only for the sake of the persons they serve but also for the good of their employees.”

“Respecting the conscientious judgments and religious beliefs of these employees is an indispensable dimension of this,” it added, noting that mandatory vaccination policies need “appropriate accommodations for medical or religious reasons.”

In a Twitter statement, the NCBC announced the release of a vaccine exemption legal remedy for individuals intended for Catholic individuals who, after personally assessing the situation, have chosen to decline to receive the CCP vaccine.

In the United States and the rest of the world, a more than significant percentage of people are cautious in deciding whether or not to receive a vaccine that does not have a sufficient clinical history of adverse effects and whose efficacy has not been fully proven. It is precisely for this reason that all COVID vaccines are in the experimental phase.

The NCBC press release was issued just days after progressive Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago put intense pressure on the Center to reverse its position on mandatory vaccines.

The Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported Wednesday that Cupich has put “tremendous pressure” on the NCBC to retract its support for conscientious objection to receiving a CCP virus vaccine.

On condition of anonymity, an NCBC board member said Cupich has “leaned heavily” on board members, both bishops and laypeople, to give their support for mandatory vaccination.

The push began in early July when the NCBC stated that it “does not endorse mandatory immunization against COVID-19 (CCP virus).” NCBC referred to a 2020 instruction from the Vatican’s doctrinal office (CDF) that “vaccination is not, as a general rule, a moral obligation and should therefore be voluntary.”

In the press release, the NCBC also noted that the Church “has long supported science, medicine and biomedical research that serves the good of human persons,” which also includes the use of vaccines. In the current health situation, “the Church encourages people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

But it also adds that “the vaccines currently available in the United States have a connection to abortion through the use of certain cell lines,” making them highly controversial for devout believers who speak out against abortion policies.

Pope Francis called on Christians to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as an “act of love,” and a means to promote the common good.

The arrival of coronavirus vaccines is a “message of hope for a brighter future,” the pope said in a Spanish-language video message released Wednesday.

“Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable,” Francis continued. 

While the Vatican’s official position continues to be that giving the vaccines is optional, this did not stop church authorities, from the pope to influential bishops, from pushing hard for people to receive the vaccine.