Spiritual lives – Archbishop: Church to look into ways of accommodating non-vaxxed

The head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, at his office in Suva. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

Turning away people who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine could be “unchristian” but members also have the responsibility to get vaccinated because it was the only way to contain the spread of the virus, says head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong.

“The church of Christ is inclusive, it means we welcome everybody,” Archbishop Loy Chong said. He said as a faith-based institution, they also had a responsibility to respect Government’s directives.

“We need to respect religious values and at the time promoting the need for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

“People can be allowed in church, but under strict COVID-19 safety measures such as wearing masks and social distancing.

He said the Vatican had encouraged all its members to get vaccinated because it was the only way to stop the spread of the virus.

“We encourage our members to get vaccinated for the sake of protecting other people.

“I think God would not be OK turning people away from church just because they have not been vaccinated, as the church we are presenting God.”

He said they would look for other ways to accommodate members who have not received the vaccine.

When approached for his views on the issue, Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong chose not to comment.

Dr Fong said they had discussed the issues with religious leaders in their meeting this week.

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