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pope francis, vaccination, catholics and vaccines

Pope Francis in Prato, Italy.

One of the most powerful commandments attributed to Jesus Christ is to “love thy neighbor as thy would thyself.” These words are a lot easier to say than put into action. But the pandemic provides a perfect opportunity for people to do so.

The best way someone can show their love for themselves and their neighbors during the current crisis is to get a coronavirus vaccination. A vaccination helps people protect themselves by making them less likely to get the virus and face hospitalization. It also makes it less likely for them to spread the virus to others.

It also helps reduce the stress on our strained healthcare system and frontline workers.

Pope Francis stressed this point on Monday in a speech his advisors accredited to the Holy See, an event that lays out the Vatican’s foreign policy goals for the year.


Previously, the pope had called getting vaccinated an “act of love” and that it was “suicidal" to refuse a vaccine. In Catholicism, suicide is one of the worst acts a person can commit.

On Monday, he further pushed his followers to get vaccinated by referencing Christ’s call to “love thy neighbor” by saying that getting vaccinated shows “respect for the health of those around us. Health care is a moral obligation,” he asserted.

The pope also took dead aim at the politicians and opportunists who’ve spread misinformation about vaccines. “Frequently people let themselves be influenced by the ideology of the moment, often bolstered by baseless information or poorly documented facts,” he said, adding that people need a dose of “reality therapy.”

He made clear that vaccines are the most effective tools we have to combat the deadly virus.

“Vaccines are not a magical means of healing, yet surely they represent, in addition to other treatments that need to be developed, the most reasonable solution for the prevention of the disease,” he added.

The pope holds incredible sway over the 1.3 billion Catholics living around the world so it’s wonderful that he uses his pulpit to combat misinformation and to encourage people to look out for themselves and one another by getting vaccinated. That could be why Catholics have some of the highest percentages of vaccine acceptance among religious people.

A recent PRRI-IFYC survey found that 80% of U.S. Catholics support vaccination, with only 7% as "vaccine refusers."

That number runs counter to white evangelical Christians who are among the most vaccine-hesitant of all religious groups. Recent studies show that somewhere between 30 to 40% of them refuse to get vaccinated.

The discrepancy between two different groups of Christians shows the importance that religious leaders can have over their congregants. A study published by Deseret News found that “82% of religious attenders with pro-vaccine pastors are fully vaccinated, compared to 58% of religious attenders with faith leaders who are either anti-vax or avoid the topic of vaccines.”


Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

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New Texas restaurant has a strict 'no cellphones allowed' policy. Let’s hope it starts a trend.

"If you can't possibly deal without your phone for two hours, this is not the place for you.”

Chef Tim Love at Caterina's.

Pixabay In the mid-2000s people were so eager to adopt smartphone technology that we never had time to create any etiquette for using it. Now, two decades later, it’s acceptable for people to stare at their phones when others are around, even in social situations. It's also fine to take any event and turn it into little more than an excuse to create social media content.

But in 2022, the constant notifications can feel a lot more like an annoyance than a blessing. Further, these tiny interruptions take us out of the moment and prevent us from paying attention to our friends, a good meal, or a show.

Funny enough, studies show that having a cell phone in your pocket can make you feel more stressed, but when we don’t have our phone on us we experience a sense of anxiety as well. Smartphones, can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Smartphones have become such an interruption that some concert venues and comedy clubs have developed a new system that locks phones in a pouch and they can be opened in case of an emergency or when the show is over.

The system is great because it prevents you from being distracted by the guy in front of you who wants to film everything and also allows you to enjoy the show instead of feeling pressured to take photos or text your friends about the show.

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A lock of hair, reputedly from King George III.

In modern times we memorialize our loved ones by saving old photographs, holding onto their jewelry, or keeping their ashes in an urn. But, according to Artsy, before we had photographs of people to remember them by, people often saved their hair.

It was impossible to save someone’s rotting flesh before modern preservation techniques were developed, plus it’s pretty disgusting. So hair was the only part of the body that one could keep. Human hair can retain its color and texture for years after someone has passed, so it's a durable material to turn into remembrance art.

“The keeping and saving of hair for future use in jewelry or other commemorative craft (such as wreaths) was common,” Karen Bachmann wrote, according to Artsy. The practice was common in Victorian England and it was brought across the pond to America’s frontier.

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