The Vatican is taking Pope Francis’ pro-vaccine stance very seriously: Any Vatican employee who refuses to get a coronavirus shot without a valid medical reason risks being fired.
A Feb. 8 decree signed by the governor of the Vatican city-state says that employees who opt out of vaccination without a proven medical reason could be subject to a sanction up to and including “the interruption of the relationship of employment.”
The directive cited the need to protect Vatican employees in the workplace, as well as guidelines issued by Francis’ advisory COVID-19 commission, which said individuals have a moral responsibility to get vaccinated “given that refusing a vaccine can constitute a risk for others.”
Pope Francis told a group of children with autism and spectrum disorders Monday that they are beautiful, unique flowers in the eyes of God.
Francis met with members of an Austrian center for autism, Sonnenschein (“Sunshine”), in an audience at the Vatican. He told them that the center’s name evoked a flower-filled lawn in the sun “and the flowers of this house are you!”
Speaking to the children, their parents and caregivers from the center, Francis said: “God created the world with a great variety of flowers of all different colors. Each flower has its unique beauty. And each one of us is beautiful in the eyes of God, who loves us.”
Pope Francis is unusual among pontiffs in having a scientific background. He studied chemistry and worked as a chemist before entering the seminary.