Bishop Silences Cape Cod Priest Over Criticism of Coronavirus Vaccines

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The bishop of Fall River has directed a pastor on Cape Cod to stop commenting on the coronavirus vaccines.

Father Michael Fitzpatrick, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis, read a letter from the bishop at the end of Mass on Sunday, December 5.

“… I have directed Father Fitzpatrick to refrain from speaking publicly or in writing on the Covid 19 vaccines, any treatment from the vaccine, or any preventative measures to avoid transmission of the virus,” Bishop Edgar da Cunha wrote in the letter, according to a video of the Mass.

The bishop’s letter refers to reports the bishop has received about Father Fitzpatrick’s statements.

“Over several months, many have brought to my attention the fact that your pastor …frequently speaks out against the Covid 19 vaccine, questioning its efficacy and challenging its moral legitimacy. This has caused confusion and distress, and in some cases may have discouraged some of the faithful from being immunized against the virus,” the bishop wrote. “I am deeply concerned about this and have spoken to Father Fitzpatrick.”

The bishop said he ordered Father Fitzpatrick to stop speaking about the vaccines “in consideration of the pastoral needs of this parish community and of the continuing health threat posed by the Covid 19 virus,” and that he did so “after much prayer, reflection, and dialogue.”

The full text of the bishop’s letter is at the bottom of this story.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Fall River (which includes the South Coast of Massachusetts as well as Cape Cod and the Islands) said Monday that the bishop’s letter speaks for itself and that the diocese would not add further comment.

Father Fitzpatrick read the letter aloud Sunday morning without commenting on it. He declined comment Monday.

At ordination, diocesan Catholic priests take a vow of obedience to the bishop of their diocese and his successors.

The bishop’s letter doesn’t mention specific incidents, but appears to refer to statements Father Fitzpatrick has made during Mass at St. Francis Xavier, which is the church John F. Kennedy attended when he was president and features religious objects donated by the Kennedy family.

Toward the end of Sunday Mass, just after the Prayer After Communion and before the final blessing, Father Fitzpatrick typically makes parish announcements. The announcements period sometimes spins off into a separate talk of its own.

During those talks, Father Fitzpatrick has frequently advised congregants to take common-sense precautions against the virus but not to be afraid of it. He also has offered scientific arguments against the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines and moral arguments challenging their legitimacy.

The context of his talks is the still-raging debate over coronavirus vaccines – whether they work, whether they are moral, and whether people who don’t want to take them should be forced to do so.

Supporters of the vaccines have argued that they lessen the chances of getting the virus, lessen the likely effects of the virus if someone gets it, and makes the general population safer, particularly people with compromised immune systems. They say that statistics show that the benefits of the vaccines vastly outweigh any harms.

Opponents of the vaccines have pointed to failures, including injuries and deaths. They describe the genetic-therapy method of the vaccines as disturbing, and they note that the long-term effects of the vaccines are unknown, since they are relatively new. They have also challenged top-down mandates by governments, schools, and employers to get vaccinated as assaults on freedom.

Moral arguments over the vaccines center on their connection to abortion. For two of the vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), researchers used cell lines that derived from cells of an aborted fetus to test the vaccines. For two others (AstraZeneca (which isn’t approved for use in the United States) and Johnson & Johnson (which is)), researchers used cell lines derived from the cells of an aborted fetus in the research, manufacturing, and testing phases.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that abortion is the unjustified taking of a human life and a grave evil, and that cooperating with abortion directly and intentionally is also evil. Therefore, the Church says that pharmaceutical companies should not have used cells derived from an abortion in developing or testing the vaccines.

But many bishops and theologians have argued that taking the vaccines can be morally justified because the connection with the evil of abortion is remote and unintentional and because the pandemic is so serious that it warrants getting vaccinated to protect individual health and the health of others. Pope Francis has taken the vaccine and has recommended that others do so.

At the same time, Catholic bishops have said that individual conscience must be respected and that people who find the vaccines morally repugnant should not be forced to take them.

During his talks at the end of Mass, Father Fitzpatrick has not focused on vaccine mandates but rather on the vaccines themselves and proper ways of dealing with coronavirus.

St. Francis Xavier Parish posts videos of most of its Masses at the parish’s YouTube channel. NewBostonPost reviewed end-of-Mass comments for all 80 Sunday Masses the parish posted between June 6, 2020 and December 5, 2021.

Below are some highlights of Father Fitzpatrick’s comments about the coronavirus and coronavirus vaccines from some of those Masses. (You can watch the entirety of each of Father Fitzpatrick’s presentations highlighted below by clicking on the date, which has a link to the video at the start of his comments.)

Father Michael Fitzpatrick


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Father Fitzpatrick criticized lockdowns and coronavirus vaccines over the course of nearly 10 ½ minutes.

“The lockdowns are ridiculous. The vaccines are frightening. O.K.? Right now, there are no vaccines that are not compromised by using fetal stem cells. So this is morally not O.K. for any Christian. Period. You are compromising yourself if you accept it,” Father Fitzpatrick said.

He also questioned how safe the vaccines are, noting that safety testing of vaccines typically takes years, not months. “That kind of safety testing can’t be fast-tracked,” Father Fitzpatrick said.

He said medical treatments shown to be effective are being squelched.

“There are therapeutics that work very effectively, which they found out in the process of all this. But that stuff is shut down everywhere,” Father Fitzpatrick said.

He also referred to conflicts over the November 2020 presidential election, which had occurred 41 days before but was still at the time actively contested.

“There is a growing mountain of evidence that there is election fraud the likes of which we only we’d hear about in Third World nations,” Father Fitzpatrick said, adding that for people left or right, “This should really frighten you.”

The congregation responded with thunderous applause.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Father Fitzpatrick over the course of a little more than three minutes referred to an official Church document from the bishops stating that it is morally acceptable to take any of the four vaccines – even the ones that used cell lines connected to abortion in all phases of their development.

“And they said that if there’s a proportionate cause, if there’s a large enough risk, for you have to take the vaccine, you can actually use any of them. Whereas before they were saying that really the only viable options are the Moderna and the Pfizer. That’s what they say. I don’t know what to say about that. I find it a little bit distressing,” Father Fitzpatrick said. “But you don’t answer to me. You answer through the Church to God.”

He also suggested that parishioners be aware of the federal government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System web site, and he urged anyone taking one of the vaccines to make known moral objections to the way it was created.

“And remember, in making yourself available to any of these vaccines, by the principle of remote material cooperation, it is a moral requirement of you to express that as a Catholic Christian, you are against using anything that has been involved in an abortion. But because there is no alternative and I am at risk, I have to submit myself to this. But it’s under protest,” Father Fitzpatrick said. “And you need to be doing something. You need to tell your doctor. You need to tell whatever. Write to the manufacturers. Whatever it is. But it’s a moral requirement that you actually express that. Not just think it, but actually express it, to be able to use this. It’s not been made very clear, necessarily, in what the bishops have been saying.”


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Father Fitzpatrick noted during a three-minute talk on coronavirus vaccines that the U.S. federal government had ordered a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (subsequently lifted) because of adverse reactions in a small number of people with a rare reaction to it.

He questioned why similar pauses were not ordered for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Father Fitzpatrick spoke for about nine and half minutes about coronavirus and the vaccines, questioning many of the official directives that have come from the federal government and other sources.

“Over this last year … I have seen so many non-scientific things recommended as science,” Father Fitzpatrick said, singling out gloves and masks.

Since the virus is “not communicable through the skin,” he said, gloves “never made any sense.”

As for masks:

“A respiratory particle that has a virus in it is orders of magnitude smaller than pollen. It goes right through the mask like nothing. All right. And we’ve been told to do it,” Father Fitzpatrick said.

He also said that therapeutic treatments such as hydroxychloroquine “and especially ivermectin” have been found to effectively treat coronavirus.

(Both drugs have been hotly debated in the country. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has advised against using ivermectin to treat coronavirus, saying clinical trials have not shown it’s effective; but some say the drug has worked wonders.)

The priest also challenged the use of the coronavirus vaccines, highlighting the number of deaths attributed to injuries caused by the vaccines.

He also questioned the theory behind the vaccines.

Father Fitzpatrick cited a scientific paper published April 30, 2021 and described by the Salk Institute as showing “conclusively that COVID-19 is a vascular disease” that “attacks the vascular system on a cellular level.”

“They published a paper last month that proves that Covid is a vascular disease. And the spike protein is what makes it dangerous. So if the spike protein is what makes Covid dangerous, and the vaccines are making our bodies produce the spike protein, why are we doing this to ourselves?” Father Fitzpatrick said.

He noted that since the coronavirus vaccines are relatively new, it’s unclear what effects they will have in the future.

“Because they have no idea what this is going to do to us long term. They have no idea. We’re finding out as we go,” the priest said.

He announced he would lead a litany of prayers on the feast of Corpus Christi two weeks later “to ask the Lord in His mercy … to counteract all, any physical or spiritual evils that have been taken in upon ourselves as a result of any of these things.”

“As Catholics we never should have even got here. It’s because of the compromise with abortion,” Father Fitzpatrick said.


Sunday, June 6, 2021

Father Fitzpatrick led a special series of prayers toward the end of the Mass commemorating Corpus Christi (the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ) asking God for protection against bad physical and spiritual effects from the coronavirus vaccines.

Before the litany of prayers, he said “there is now very strong growing evidence that what is being deeply affected by these vaccines are the reproductive organs … and it’s spreading.”

“We may have opened Pandora’s Box, and that’s why we’re praying right now,” Fitzpatrick said.

The litany of prayers concluded about 11 minutes after Father Fitzpatrick began speaking about the coronavirus vaccines. The prayers, addressed to Jesus Christ, included:


Please forgive us for any culpable credulousness, culpable indifference, or in the name of a false charity that does not correspond to the truth. You are the truth. Consecrate us to the truth as you promised at the Last Supper.

There can be no charity without truth. So as a result of these behaviors and actions, we have chosen fear over truth. We have chosen to make a religion of a false science that is not scientific at all, and thereby excluded you from ourselves. We have fashioned not a golden calf, but out of fear an abomination of an offering to truth and charity in the name of this false science.

Hear our plea, O Lord, as we call upon your name and presence within us now, through the intercession and ministry of your holy archangel, Raphael.

Deliver us from this plague, and the punishment we do deserve. Bring us the wholeness of your health and strength. Renew our bodies by your precious blood within us now. Restore our DNA, and cleanse us of all toxins, and physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual disorder or evil.


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Father Fitzpatrick told his listeners:  “Please, do not be afraid. Do not fear Delta variant or any other variant that comes up.”

He spoke for six and a half minutes about the virus and treatments for it, but he didn’t mention the vaccines.

Father Fitzpatrick said even fitted N95 masks don’t keep people safe from coronavirus.

“Those are 95 percent defective against particles three times the size of a respiratory particle that contains the virus,” Father Fitzpatrick said. “… They’ve never kept us safe as far as getting infected, ever. That’s why we’ve never been told to do it before.”

Instead, he said, people should take common-sense measures to prevent the spread of illness.

“Now, if you are sick, wear a mask,” he said. “So that when you sneeze, you don’t infect the person next to you. Or stay at home – even better. And keep it to yourself. O.K.? We need to do the stuff that we know works, all the time. Don’t touch your nose. Don’t touch your eyes. Don’t touch your mouth. Wash your hands.

“Don’t be afraid,” he added.

He also said that therapeutic medicines “that are peer-reviewed … that we know are effective” are available, and he recommended that people who are sick ask their doctor for them.

If the doctor says no, he said the patient should ask the doctor to read studies about the medicines.

“If they don’t want to, get a new doctor. Because you don’t want their medical advice then, because they’re not keeping up on things,” Father Fitzpatrick said.


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Father Fitzpatrick suggested over the course of five minutes that the coronavirus vaccines may not be justified under the Catholic doctrine of material cooperation with evil because of their connection to abortion.

He didn’t expressly mention therapeutic medicines that could be used to treat the virus but he seemed to have them in mind, suggesting that coronavirus vaccines aren’t medically necessary and therefore, given their connection to the evil of abortion, using them may not be morally justified.

“We have recently been told that it’s an act of charity to get the vaccines. However, I propose to you:  Does it meet all of the criteria of remote material cooperation, anymore?” Father Fitzpatrick said.

He cited Dr. Peter McCullough, a physician and epidemiologist, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a lawyer and author, as experts who have presented the case that the coronavirus vaccines aren’t necessary.

“So I ask, is it still O.K., according to the actual teaching of the Church? Or are we just blindly following what we’re told, without understanding it?” Father Fitzpatrick said.

“We have to answer to Him,” Father Fitzpatrick said, pointing to the tabernacle where communion is kept, which Catholics believe is the actual body and blood of Jesus, whom Christians worship as God. “Not Father Michael. Not the bishop. Not the pope. We answer to Jesus. He has given us everything we need to figure it out. Our responsibility to own that.”


Sunday, November 7, 2021

Father Fitzpatrick briefly recommended a new book published by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. titled The Real Anthony Fauci:  Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health.

(The book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, says the book “details how Fauci, Gates, and their cohorts use their control of media outlets, scientific journals, key government and quasi-governmental agencies, global intelligence agencies, and influential scientists and physicians to flood the public with fearful propaganda about COVID-19 virulence and pathogenesis, and to muzzle debate and ruthlessly censor dissent.”)


Sunday, December 5, 2021

Father Fitzpatrick said at the end of Mass:  “I have a statement to read from the bishop.”

Without further comment, he read the letter.

The text below is exact, though paragraph breaks are guessed, since the text is based on what Father Fitzpatrick said and not the actual document.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


From the perspective of Catholic moral teaching and tradition, the Church has made it clear that receiving the Covid 19 vaccine is consistent with the Catholic faith and can be done in good conscience.

Last December, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued its finding on the matter, stating it is morally acceptable to receive Covid vaccines. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reiterated this conclusion in a statement released last spring as vaccine use was becoming widespread in this country.

Pope Francis got the vaccine, and has encouraged others to do the same. I was vaccinated earlier this year when the vaccine became available.

It its discernment of the vaccine the Church has also pointed out the obligation to consider one’s responsibility to the needs of others and to the overall common good at a time of pandemic. In other words, getting the vaccine is not only helping oneself, but it is also helping to protect one’s family and one’s community.

Over several months, many have brought to my attention the fact that your pastor, Father Michael Fitzpatrick, frequently speaks out against the Covid 19 vaccine, questioning its efficacy and challenging its moral legitimacy. This has caused confusion and distress, and in some cases may have discouraged some of the faithful from being immunized against the virus.

I am deeply concerned about this and have spoken to Father Fitzpatrick. I want to share with you that, in consideration of the pastoral needs of this parish community and of the continuing health threat posed by the Covid 19 virus, I have directed Father Fitzpatrick to refrain from speaking publicly or in writing on the Covid 19 vaccines, any treatment from the vaccine, or any preventative measures to avoid transmission of the virus.

Continued progress against the Covid 19 pandemic requires that we all do our part, and for most of us that means getting vaccinated.

This decision was not taken lightly, but only after much prayer, reflection, and dialogue.

My best wishes to all of you for a healthy and blessed Advent and Christmas.


Sincerely yours in Christ,


Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha


Bishop Edgar da Cunha


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