Priest on CNN explains why unvaccinated folks ‘can’t come to church’ on Christmas Eve

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Father Edward Beck, a Roman Catholic priest and a religion commentator for CNN, is telling the unvaccinated that they “can’t come to church” on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Setting aside the notion of not judging others, Father Beck not only made such a declaration, but he also took to Twitter to double down on his stance, sharing footage of the CNN segment where he said it.

“Yep. I said it,” he tweeted. “I don’t think unvaccinated people should be gathering in churches for Christmas Eve / Day Masses. ‘Love thy neighbor,’ says the Savior.”⁦

“There’s no supply chain shortage of love and compassion. What we are trying to say to people is that you have a social responsibility if you do gather. Christian churches, many are gathering this evening and some are still not requiring vaccinations, which I disagree with,” the priest declared. “I think part of caring for one another, the dictum of Jesus who we celebrate his birthday, is love one another. Show compassion. Show mercy to each other. Sending a message that if we want to act like Jesus in these kinds of times, we take care of one another. And if we are going to gather in celebration we have to do so safely, comfortably, and we have to give to one another the gift of peace, and part of that is health and feeling like we are gathering in a healthy environment.”

“And so, I really hope as people gather in celebration, to celebrate the birth of Christ, who was about mercy and compassion, and love of one another, is that we keep that in mind and it’s not about us,” he continued. “I don’t think there is a reason to say I’m not going to get vaccinated — you know, maybe a health reason, but you can’t come to church today in service of other people. We have a responsibility to one another.”

Never mind that Beck is not a scientist or a medical doctor, or that vaccines have proven not to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19, with authorities pivoting instead to say that they lessen the severity of the symptoms, often preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

Beck actually engaged with social media users in defense of the controversial position he took:

In 2019, Beck took issue with Bishop Thomas John Paprocki refusing to give communion to lawmakers in Illinois who supported a bill loosening the restriction on abortions.

A man of cloth telling unvaccinated people not to go to church brought to mind Matthew 7:15–20, for some social media users: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”

Which is not to say that Beck did not have his share of believers.

Interestingly, Beck was abruptly removed from his posting at a Long Island church by a New York diocese in October, according to National Catholic Reporter. The decision coming after Beck expressed criticism about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“When I got that letter, it was a surprise,” said Beck, telling NCR that the diocese did not provide a reason for not extending his faculties.

“In this day and age, you just don’t do that to a priest. It raises questions in people’s minds,” Beck said. “Something like that needs to be clarified and explained, for his personal integrity and reputation.”

Here’s a sampling of non-believer responses to the story from Twitter:

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Tom Tillison

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