A Brooklyn priest who attended the Jan. 6 "Save America" rally is spreading coronavirus lies to his parishioners.
Father Michael Panicali urged his flock to avoid COVID-19 vaccines against the guidance of the Diocese of Brooklyn, which told clergy there was no religious exemption because the Vatican had determined the life-saving medicine was morally acceptable, reported The Daily Beast.
"My brothers and sisters, you are under absolutely no obligation to take a vaccine that is made, produced, manufactured, tested even in the most remote ways with aborted, fetal cells," Panicali claimed. "Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
The vaccine doses contain no fetal cells, although lab-grown cell lines descended from fetal cells taken from abortions decades ago were used in the development of mRNA vaccines, but Panicali continues lying about its safety, effectiveness and morality in sermons at St. Mark-St. Margaret Mary Roman Catholic Church.
"Be very careful about this vaccine," he told worshipers. "If I were you, I would not touch it with a 10-foot pole, and I never will because it leads to complications."
The church serves Catholics from Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach -- where one in five people have been infected with COVID-19 and the transmission rate was 161 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past week, and the vaccination rate of 56 percent was nearly 10 percent below New York City's overall rate.
"Our ultimate answer and word is the word of Jesus Christ, who emphasizes that the flesh is important," Panicali said. "The flesh of aborted cells are important and they are not to be put into our body in any way, shape, or form. Do not let anyone confuse that for you."
Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has publicly stated that the first two coronavirus vaccines approved for use were morally safe and effective, and the diocese issued guidance on July 30 reiterating that fact.
"As you may know, vaccines are normally made from stem cells that come from aborted fetuses," the bishop wrote. "In fact, the process for developing these two newest vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna never used stem cells to begin their study or production."
The diocese indicated it was aware of the priest's misleading sermons but did not indicate what actions might be taken.
"Unfortunately, Father Panicali used a homily to express a personal opinion which is in conflict with the position of the Vatican and the Diocese of Brooklyn," the diocese said in a statement. "The issue will be addressed by diocesan officials."
Panicali previously criticized church leaders for condemning the Jan. 6 insurrection and minimized the violence carried out by Donald Trump supporters.
"It is a truly sad day when hundreds of thousands of peaceful American citizens, young and old, go all the way to Washington, D.C. to tell our U.S. government that we want the Supreme Court to actually hear the evidence before being told it didn't exist, to actually do the fact-checking to explain the really strange results, and that we want fair and free elections," the priest wrote Jan. 8 in a letter to The Tablet publication.