Italy’s Chief Chaplain condemns police call for COVID disobedience | world news
ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s national Catholic military chaplain has hit back at a renegade archbishop who refuses vaccines, accusing him of inciting insubordination among the armed forces and police for their role in COVID law enforcement -19.
National Chaplain Archbishop Santo Marciano issued a statement to all military and law enforcement personnel on Monday evening, hours after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano issued a statement urging them to disobey orders and not to be “automates”.
Vigano, a former Vatican ambassador to Washington, has been in hiding for more than three years since he launched a campaign against Pope Francis, demanding his resignation.
He is against vaccines and said the virus was produced in a lab as part of a global plot to erase Christian identity in the West.
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Right-wing Catholic media, blogs and websites spreading his statements have been shut down by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for spreading COVID misinformation.
“They used you as automatons,” Vigano said in his appeal to the army and the police. “To expect you to show blind and irrational obedience to an increasingly authoritarian, repressive and tyrannical power.
He told them that saying “I was following orders” wouldn’t be enough, just as it wasn’t during the Nazi war crimes trials after World War II.
In his two-page letter, Marciano condemned Vigano, who backed allegations that the last US presidential election was fraudulent, for “his conspiracy theory outbursts.”
He said Vigano and other Church anti-vaxxers were exploiting the pandemic for “disparaging campaigns against Pope Francis, creating turmoil and a lot of confusion.”
In a Jan. 10 speech, the pope condemned “baseless” ideological misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, backing national vaccination campaigns and calling health care a moral obligation.
In his letter to military personnel and police, Marciano said, “Do not be confused or discouraged in pursuing your mission.”
Both the police and military in Italy are forced to get vaccinated and both have been used to keep order at vaccination sites. The army has been used to administer vaccines in rural areas.
Italy’s Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that inciting disobedience of laws is punishable if it undermines public order.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella, editing by Ed Osmond)
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