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World News

Catholic church investigates priest over vaccine 'bio-terrorism' claim

by Press Association

The Catholic church has launched an investigation after a priest called on his parishioners not to take the Covid-19 vaccine which he described as "bio-terrorism".

Father George Roth, of St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Gosport, Hampshire, made the comments in an email and an online blog.

The Portsmouth News reported that Fr Roth wrote that those "pushing" vaccinations are "conspiring with evil men who wish (to) de-populate our world".

He also wrote: "Do all that you can to avoid the vaccination! Your life could be in danger."

The Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth said that Fr Roth's comments went against the church's policy and it has launched an investigation.

It said in a statement: "The Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth is very disappointed that one of the Family of Mary Immaculate and St Francis in Gosport has publicly expressed a personal view about the Covid vaccination programme that is contrary to the official position of the Catholic Church and the Diocese.

"The matter is being taken very seriously and an investigation is in progress. The Pope has encouraged the take up of the vaccination programme.

"In this Diocese, Bishop Philip Egan has reinforced that position through publications to the diocese over past months.

"We would encourage all our parishioners to benefit from the protection afforded by the vaccine."

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