The Vatican is set to withhold pay from employees who cannot provide proof of vaccination, recent COVID recovery, or a negative COVID test. The regulations come into effect this Friday, October 1.
The decree mandating the new rules was signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, on Tuesday. The rules extend to all Vatican personnel - from cardinals to lay people - who work in any Vatican offices.
VATICAN--Secretary of State, ++Parolin issued decree for all personnel working in the Vatican
All employees without required COVID docs...cannot access the workplace and must be considered unjustly absent. For the entire duration of the absence, no pay is due them..." pic.twitter.com/UXmohRJIgk— Bree A Dail (@breeadail) September 28, 2021
The move comes just over a week after the Vatican announced that "entry into Vatican City State will only be permitted to persons who are in possession of a Vatican 'Green Pass. a 'European Green Pass,' or a foreign Covid-19 green pass attesting to vaccination or recovery from SARS-COV-2. Entry will also be granted to those who have a negative molecular or antigenic test for the SARS-COV-2 virus."
An exception to this decree for visitors "is granted for those participating in liturgical celebrations, but only 'for the time strictly necessary for the celebration,' during which health regulations regarding distancing, the use of personal protective equipment, limitation of movement and the assembly of people, and the adoption of specific hygiene norms must be respected."
There are currently no exemptions to the Vatican’s mandate for employees. As the Washington Post notes, “the firm stance also amounts to a symbolic message for Catholics across the world, some of whom have debated the question of vaccination exemptions on religious grounds.”
The move comes after Pope Francis, who was vaccinated earlier this year, joined in with other Church leaders from around the world less than two months ago urging people to get vaccinated and calling for vaccine equity.
"Getting the vaccines that are authorized by the respective authorities is an act of love," Pope Francis says in the video. "I pray to God that each one of us can make his or her own small gesture of love, no matter how small, love is always grand."
The Vatican's decree was signed the same day that reports emerged that US President Joe Biden, a lifelong Catholic, could be making a visit to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis on October 29.
Catholic News Agency reports: "According to the sources, Biden’s trip would be an official visit. First, the president would have a meeting with Pope Francis. Then there would be bilateral talks in the Secretariat of State with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States and the Vatican’s equivalent of a foreign minister."
President Biden, 78, continues to urge Americans to get the COVID vaccine. Earlier this week, he received his first booster COVID shot in front of the press.