Regarding Covid-19 Vaccine

To the Bishops, Priests, other clergy and Friends of the Archdiocese of St. Michael
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.

Be it known to the world that by these presents, the College of Bishops of the Archdiocese of Saint Michael have resolved and stand in solidarity against the use of the various Covid-19 Vaccines for the following reasons;

Our Deeply Held Religious Belief About Our Bodies and Conscience
Because we are believers in Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit, God Himself, dwells within us. Our Bodies are His Temple. (1 Corinthians 6)
Scripture makes it clear that God’s temples are places of great importance in the relationship between God and man. God dwells in the Temple, and there a man communes with Him. God speaks harshly of, and deals harshly with, those who defile his temple. (Jeremiah 7:1-15)
The Temple is defiled when it is used in ways that distract from its purpose, that deny the glory of God, that invite sin, that lower God from His place of dominance in the life of the believer, that reduce his trust in God’s plan and ultimate control over his life, or that by these means or others corrupt his relationship with God.
We must use our bodies to glorify God. We must do this to the best of our ability, employing our God-given reason and attempting at all times, in good faith and under varying circumstances, to do what pleases Him.
For the sake of relationship, God has shared with us His image and likeness. We look like Him in some respects, and we are like Him in others. He has given us many of His own attributes in small doses. Our innate sense of what is right, and our freedom to act upon it, are two of those attributes. They impose upon me a duty to act in accord with my conscience.
Our conscience tells us we cannot take any of the available Covid vaccines. There are several reasons for this:
1. We find that Abortion is a grave evil. We absolutely cannot participate in it or benefit from it, even remotely. Where there is any question about whether the covid vaccines have made use of fetal tissue, in their manufacture or even in their testing, We cannot morally involve ourselves. But it is unquestionable that all three available COVID-19 vaccines have been manufactured or tested using fetal cell lines from aborted human children.[1]

  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen:  Fetal cell cultures are used to produce and manufacture the J&J COVID-19 vaccine and the final formulation of this vaccine includes residual amounts of the fetal host cell proteins[2] (≤0.15 mcg) and/or host cell DNA (≤3 ng).
  • Pfizer/BioNTech:  The HEK-293[3] abortion-related cell line was used in research related to the development of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Moderna/NIAID: Aborted fetal cell lines were used in both the development and testing of Moderna’s [4] COVID-19 vaccine.

2. Unlike other measures that can be reasonably taken to avoid illness, willingly receiving the vaccines into my body defiles God’s temple in the following ways:
a. The vaccines act at a genetic level that invades the province of God. Our genetic physiology is His design, extraordinarily complex as only He could make it, and understood only as He can understand it. Our understanding is shallow.
we cannot morally participate in tinkering with a powerful and dangerous thing, within this temple, that we poorly understand.
b. The acceptance into our bodies of any of the available covid vaccines would place my trust in Man over my trust in God. This defiles His temple.
c. Our duty to God is to reasonably preserve our health, not endanger it. There is evidence available, and worthy of consideration, that the vaccines are dangerous to our bodies.
3. Our faith teaches us that our conscience must be informed. The vaccines have been quickly configured. Many fair and important questions remain unresolved. A sufficiently informed decision cannot yet be made. Taking the vaccine at this point is a morally careless act.
4. Although we are not in communion with the Roman Catholic church we agree with their teachings that “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.”[5] Thus, the Archdiocese of Saint Michael’s teaches that We must not be forced to take a COVID-19 vaccine. We agree with and follow the teaching of Catholic prelates who, on this issue of conscience, have come down against any use of the available abortion-derived vaccines because it would be sinful to cooperate, even indirectly, in the crime of abortion. In particular:
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland:

I urge you to reject any vaccine that uses the remains of aborted children in research, testing, development, or production. Testify to the truth that abortion must be rejected and make a choice that is consistent with the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death and is rooted in a mature faith and trust in eternal life, not fear of suffering in this life.[6]

Cardinal Janis Pujats, Archbishop Tomash Peta, Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga, and Bishop Athanasius Schneider:

The crime of abortion is so monstrous that any kind of concatenation with this crime, even a very remote one, is immoral and cannot be accepted under any circumstances by a Catholic once he has become fully aware of it. One who uses these vaccines must realize that his body is benefitting from the “fruits” (although steps removed through a series of chemical processes) of one of mankind’s greatest crimes. Any link to the abortion process, even the most remote and implicit, will cast a shadow over the Church’s duty to bear unwavering witness to the truth that abortion must be utterly rejected. The ends cannot justify the means.[7]

5. The Bishops of the Archdiocese of Saint Michael’s agree with the teaching of other Roman Catholic bishops, including those of Colorado and South Dakota, also corresponds to my sincerely held personal religious belief that I cannot partake of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines specified above:

We are pleased to see that in the case of the most recent Denver vaccine mandate there is accommodation for sincerely held religious beliefs. This is appropriate under the laws protecting freedom of religion…. The vaccination question is a deeply personal issue, and we continue to support religious exemptions from any and all vaccine mandates.[8]

The Bishops of the Archdiocese of Saint Michael’s must stress, however, that even though we are not Roman Catholic, our personal religious belief are the same. We cannot have anything to do with vaccines that are connected in any way to the act of abortion. We could not live with ourselves if we were forced to be injected with any such vaccine.
6. As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Guidance on the protection of sincere religious beliefs states, it does not matter whether one’s sincere religious belief happens to correspond to that of any denomination or that it might even contradict the teaching of one’s denomination. What matters is that one has a sincere religious belief, which I do, concerning the immorality of recourse to abortion-derived vaccines. To quote the EEOC’s Guidance document in the Code of Federal Regulations:

The fact that no religious group espouses such beliefs or the fact that the religious group to which the individual professes to belong may not accept such belief will not determine whether the belief is a religious belief of the employee or prospective employee…[9]

7. Also, we are aware that the United States Supreme Court has held that “[W]e reject the notion that to claim the protection of the Free Exercise Clause, one must be responding to the commands of a particular religious organization.” Frazee v. Illinois Dep’t of Emp. Sec., 489 U.S. 829, 834, 109 S. Ct. 1514, 1517–18, 103 L. Ed. 2d 914 (1989)(emphasis added).
In conclusion, in my capacity as Presiding Bishop and speaking for the College of Bishops of the Archdiocese of Saint Michael’s, I set my hand to this document on this the Fifth day of October in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty-one.
++Benedict-Johns

 

[1]https://lozierinstitute.org/update-covid-19-vaccine-candidates-and-abortion-derived-cell-lines/
[2]https://www.fda.gov/media/146303/download
[3]https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.08.280818v1.full.pdf
[4]https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2622-0.pdf
[5]https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20201221_nota-vaccini-anticovid_en.html
[6]https://stphilipinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Ethical-Vaccine-Letter-Bishop-Joseph-Strickland-12.8.2020-.pdf
[7]https://web.colby.edu/coronaguidance/2020/12/11/schneider-vaccines/
[8]https://tinyurl.com/p5rpp8md
[9]29 CFR 1605.1 (“Religious” nature of a practice or belief).

A Change in Name or Direction, No, Just Branding

As the years have gone by, it has become increasingly apparent to this Episcopal See that to identify ourselves as an Orthodox Anglo-Catholic Church might be somewhat misleading.  Although we use the rites of the Anglican Church and hold very valid lines of Apostolic Succession from both the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church we hold very little resemblance to any of those institutions.

Furthermore we have to this point identified as being part of the Independent Sacramental Movement (ISM). These jurisdictions modeled after the Old Catholic Church founded by the schismatic Bishops of Utrecht in the Netherlands; are in fact predominantly Progressive in regards to their views on secular social positions.

With all this said, while we share some commonalities with these other branches of Christianity, we are also unique.  While we are an openly Sacramental Church, practicing a liturgical worship format with the Holy Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper) at its center, similar to that practiced by the Anglican, Orthodox, Roman Catholic ISM and Old Catholic Churches and we believe in the same Creeds and the Seven Sacraments; we do have specific differences that set us apart.

  • Unlike the Orthodox, the Old Catholic, and the Roman Catholics, we do ordain women.
  • Unlike many within the Independent Sacramental Movement we hold traditionalist views on sexuality, marriage, and other American social constructs.
  • Like the Orthodox, we do not recognize the offices of Cardinal or Pope while we may or may not choose to demonstrate respect for those people who have the titles bestowed upon them.
  • While we may resemble–in our faith and practice–the orthodox Anglican churches, both those that are and those that are not in communion with Canterbury, but we are not ourselves in communion with any Anglican body and therefore should not attempt to identify as Anglican.  We do not seek to mislead anyone.
  • While we might be considered Protestant in that we stand aside of Catholicism, we disagree with some of the commonly held beliefs of Protestants that originated with the Reformation, such as but not limited too the heresy of once saved always saved. For more on this heresy read here and here.

Some say that Anglo-Catholicism is a bridge between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. It is not a compromise between Catholicism and Protestantism but the central mainstream tradition of the undivided church shared by the churches of the East and West. It is what all first-millennium Christians believed and lived, and what Rome and Constantinople still possess in common today—the consensus fidelium of apostolic tradition.  While not identifying as Anglican or Roman Catholic, we seek this same original Christian tradition as practiced by the first-millennium Christian Church.  This synergy that defined traditional Christianity.

So if you will take the time to look above at the byline of this blog, you will see that it now reads; “A Sacramental Christian Church ”

If you have questions about this change or who we are, please click here

A Proclamation on Holy Saturday

On This Thirty-first day of March, in the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ Two Thousand and Eighteen, as we observe Holy Saturday; I Benedict-Johns in my capacity as Presiding Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Michael, do proclaim that this jurisdiction of the Independent Sacramental Movement—churches that maintain valid lines of Apostolic Succession but yet stand apart from the Roman Catholic Church—in keeping with traditions long established by the Anglican, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic, do choose to venerate as Saints certain historical figures who have gave of Continue reading

Open message to the clergy and friends of ADOSM

To the Bishops, Priests, other clergy and Friends of the Archdiocese of St. Michael;

Social Media, has of late demonstrated a remarkable, if not breathtaking propensity to actively discriminate against conservatives, Christians, and causes that promote or up-hold the US Constitution as well as those that honor traditions held dear for thousands of years. As such I exercise my personal right to minimize my use of these platforms as such activity is used to encourage advertisers to support these social media conglomerates, generating revenue that is being used to effectively destroy those principles we hold dear.

More to the point, I have of late limited my interaction on social media to proselytizing the Gospel or bringing awareness to issues that many of the laity are oblivious too.   Messenger is an intrusive application designed to replace Text (SMS) messaging and or email and expose you to FB’s advertising. Personally I will not install this app on my cell phone or tablet, therefore I can only respond to messages from my PC which I am seldom at. If you need a rapid response to a question, please do not depend on messenger.   If you have my phone number you can text me or send an email to bp-benedict@outlook.com or use the contact us form on https://archdiocesestmichael.wordpress.com/contact-us/

 

Thank you for your cooperation.

An Open Letter From The Presiding Bishop

Many ministries like to claim that they are spirit led. For those readers unfamiliar with the jargon commonly used by more traditionally minded Christians, Spirit led basically means that we believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, communicates his direction to us. In other words as changes in a ministry are necessitated, after careful prayer and discernment, a spirit led church moves in a direction toward God’s plan in accordance with his will. Unfortunately some of us mistake the voice of the “Spirit” with something else; and in this extreme circumstance we see ministries not moving toward God but Continue reading

A Position Paper

It has come to the attention of this Episcopal See that the heresy of Interfaith Christianity is once again rising. Interfaith Christianity is a ministry that includes paths outside of Christian tradition and is a heresy whereas Intra-faith (also known ecumenical relations) is not generally considered a heresy except by certain denominations.

Those that have known me for many years, also know Continue reading

Antinomianism

Some weeks begin more interestingly than others, lately most weeks are no more news worthy than the previous one.  If you regard the atrocities, murders and dogs of war of today to be no more or no less horrendous than the same acts committed yesterday, then one day seems as bad as any other day.  Just when pessimism seems to be the prevailing attitude, and you convince yourself that the rhetoric of the eschatologists is right on the mark and we are indeed in the end of days and then suddenly you see a couple of articles that provide some degree of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel; and the week seems to stand out from all its predecessors.  This week was one such notable when in as many days two articles appeared in the Christian media regarding the fallacies of Antinomianism.

Antinomianism; the doctrine that insists that Christians are exempt from the moral laws outlined in Gods Holy word, is said to have been employed by Martin Luther as a means to explain the teachings of Johannes Agricola who was presenting a perverted version of the reformation doctrine of justification of Faith alone. [1]

As Christian authors have again tackled this subject recently, we can safely assume that far too many modern day Christians have fell victim to the idea that because of God’s expansive grace, we can do whatever we want and still enter into the Father’s kingdom.  Actually the casual reader of Christian media would quite naturally jump to the conclusion based upon on the number of articles published in the last couple of years, that there is a growing movement within the church calling for a return to preaching on sin and the path of holiness.

In all fairness to those that sincerely believe in Grace and Grace alone teachings, we have to acknowledge that many if not most hold to the idea that once saved, or born again, the sincere believer in Christ would automatically want to live a life as sin free as possible; if but from the love of God alone, surely they would want to abide by the heavenly Father’s words and ways.  But amazingly we encounter some that insist that they can do whatever they want and God will forgive them their past present and future sins.  Now admittedly we are all sinners, and even though we are born again we will no doubt occasionally sin, but this teaching is not a license to blatantly sin.  For example God will probably forgive the married person who on one occasion looked at a person of the opposite sex and thought that person to be more than just attractive; what might be a momentary lapse into blatant lust and that which Jesus referred to as adultery of the heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

However this does not excuse the unrepentant adulterer, it does not allow any latitude for the extreme “hook-up” culture that is so prominent today in which people have untold numbers of intimate partners and—biblically speaking—illicit affairs.  Just as God knows what is in the heart of the occasional sinner, he also knows what is in the heart of those that continuously sin, unrepentantly without any remorse until the moment they stand facing the final judgment and say Lord, Lord… (see Matthew 7:21-23 where Jesus said;)

“Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice Lawlessness!”

While on its face value Sola Gratia, or Grace Alone is not entirely a heretical teaching, but it seems to be misunderstood and mistranslated into what some currently refer to as “Hyper Grace” [2] or the condition we have been discussing in which the believer is forgiven all sins, past present and future, unconditionally without repentance.  Would it not make sense to try to live as sin free as possible?  To try to do as Jesus said in Matthew 7:21

“(not everyone) shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he (but only those) that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

The flip side of this coin is those that disagree with the concepts touched on here will say that we are promoting works, or the heretical concept that you can earn salvation.  Quite possibly this idea originated as a knee jerk response to the Roman Catholic dispensations of the pre reformation era in which (some say to raise money for the construction of St. Peters in Rome) the Vatican sold dispensations, in effect blessings guaranteeing the purchaser a place in heaven, a practice not too far removed from modern day prosperity gospel concepts.  Obviously you cannot buy your way into heaven nor earn it through good works, but the born again Christian should naturally feel compelled to do good works, to put into practice what Jesus preached.  He or she should want to feed the hungry, serve the poor, etcetera. Even James said “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:14-26

Those that promote a variety of Antinomianism usually will tell you that trying to live a sin free life is in effect a work and is not necessary; which may be true. But this philosophy sends the message that there is no moral absolutes, no immutable moral laws defining right versus wrong.   For Christians to promote a philosophy that could oh so easily misconstrued by marginal Christians or the undereducated in Christian doctrine is frightening as one could jump to the conclusion that this erroneous teaching is responsible for many of the ills of the world.

[1] New Advent Encyclopedia online http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01564b.htm

[2] ‘Hyper-Grace’ Message Creating Culture of Lawlessness, by DANIEL K. NORRIS for Charisma News;  http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/from-the-frontlines/45305-hyper-grace-message-creating-culture-of-lawlessness

 

 

Saint Michaels Chapel

Some weeks begin more interestingly than others, lately most weeks are no more news worthy than the previous one.  If you regard the atrocities, murders and dogs of war of today to be no more or no less horrendous than the same acts committed yesterday, then one day seems as bad as any other day.  Just when pessimism seems to be the prevailing attitude, and you convince yourself that the rhetoric of the eschatologists is right on the mark and we are indeed in the end of days and then suddenly you see a couple of articles that provide some degree of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel; and the week seems to stand out from all its predecessors.  This week was one such notable when in as

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History of Independent Catholicism

A Brief History of Independent “Old” Catholicism

[NOTE: What is referred to as Old Catholicism, is also known by several names, such as Independent Catholicism, The Independent Sacramental Movement, Autocephalous Sacramental Movement, Reformed Catholicism and other names as well, some specific to certain churches or dioceses.]

The history of Indpendent Catholicism can be traced to the Apostles themselves who spread out to the far winds. The Roman Catholic Church claims its succession from Peter, but there is little said about the succession of the other Apostles. In the Continue reading

On Being A Priest

“You are a priest forever like Melchizedek of Old” with these words a person goes from being a simple follower of Jesus Christ to an individual whose live is now dedicated to serve God and His children.

A priest becomes the hands, feet, mouth and human voice of Almighty God here on earth to give solace and comfort and affirmation of God’s infinite love and mercy to all the children of God regardless of their race, creed, color, sex or orientation.

The first and primary responsibility of a priest is to Continue reading