Tyburn Nuns to Face the Vatican on Anti-Vaccine Position

The position of the Tyburn Nuns is further supported by the Oxford-based Anscombe Centre for Healthcare Ethics, the bioethics institute serving the Catholic Church in the UK and Ireland.

Newsroom (31/03/2022 8:15 PM Gaudium Press) During the anti-lockdown Unite for Freedom rally in London in May last year, protesters were greeted by Benedictine nuns who emerged from their convent on the north side of Hyde Park to hug them and shake their hands.

None of the nuns wore a mask, and perhaps some were not vaccinated; they shared the skepticism over the restrictions on freedom held by the people they embraced on Bayswater Road.

Now the ‘Tyburn Nuns‘ have been reported by the Archdiocese of Westminster to the Vatican following external complaints in connection with views some of them expressed about the Covid vaccination programme.

The archdiocese has no jurisdiction over the order – adequately called the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre OSB – because it is a Congregation of Pontifical Right, answerable directly to Rome. So the complaints were referred to the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

This dicastery could decide to initiate an Apostolic visitation of Tyburn Convent. Such visitation is a very serious matter carrying potentially grave consequences. Only last week, it emerged that the Benedictine Monastery of Santa Caterina in Perugia, Italy, was closed following a visitation that found the community to be functioning spiritually, economically and liturgically but objected to the refusal of the nuns to be vaccinated.

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The last time a high-profile English religious house was subject to visitation was in 2009, some four months before Pope Benedict XVI came to Birmingham to beatify St John Henry Newman. It resulted in the evisceration of the Birmingham Oratory, the community founded by Newman, with three of its prominent members not only expelled but removed from the UK. One was exclaustrated (banished and confined) to a monastery in Ireland, another was sent to join a religious house in South Africa, and a third was packed off to a community in Canada and referred to as the Birmingham Trio.

Similar ‘internal housekeeping’ against the Tyburn Nuns would threaten one of the most successful female religious orders in the Catholic Church when vocations among women have steeply declined.

Since the foundation of their order in Paris in 1898 and relocation a few years later to the site of the Tyburn gallows (upon which 105 Catholic men and women died as martyrs between 1535 and 1681), the nuns have opened convents in France, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador.

Pope Francis sent the nuns the gift of a golden chalice when the beatification cause of their French foundress, Mother Marie Adele Garnier, was opened by the Bishop of Langres, France, in 2015. Three years later, they welcomed the first Tyburn Monks as the order extended to accept men.

Even before the complaint, their position triggered correspondence between Mother Marilla Aw, the Mother General of the order and the daughter of two Australian doctors, and Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster.

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An archdiocesan spokesman explained that “with respect to vaccines, the Catholic Church’s position is clear that take-up of the Covid vaccine is to be encouraged for the good of all.”

This was ‘clearly stated on a number of occasions’ in the correspondence, and the bishop ‘shared the Pope’s comments and the guidance from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales in support of the vaccine programme. He also expressed concern about the support that Mother Marilla had given to anti-vaccine protests and comments she had made criticizing the vaccine programme.”

Mother Marilla responded by saying that as far as she was concerned, the nuns have a right to make up their minds about vaccination and by pointing out that Church teaching does not support coercive medication.

She cited the position set out clearly by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in December 2020 when it stated that vaccination was not a ‘moral obligation’ and must be ‘voluntary’. It also said vaccines must be “safe and effective.”

The position of the Tyburn Nuns is further supported by the Oxford-based Anscombe Centre for Healthcare Ethics, the bioethics institute serving the Catholic Church in the UK and Ireland. It has opposed the vaccination of children and has defended NHS and social care workers who refused to accept vaccine mandates, describing coercive vaccination as ‘profoundly unethical’. 

Therefore, it could be argued that the Tyburn Nuns are simply following their consciences and the teachings of the Church.

(Via Simon Caldwell )

Compiled By Raju Hasmukh


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