Priest's anti-vax comments to be investigated

Portsmouth Diocese has reiterated its support for the Covid-19 vaccine, following claims of “bio-terrorism”.

Fr George Roth had told parishioners of St Mary’s, Gosport: “Do all that you can to avoid the vaccination! Your life could be in danger.''

But a spokesman for Portsmouth Diocese said Fr Roth's comments were against Church policy.

In a statement they said: "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.

“The matter is being taken very seriously and an investigation is in progress.

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

Fr Roth sent his comments to parishioners via email and in an online blog.

He said those “pushing” vaccinations were “conspiring with evil men who wish (to) de-populate our world.”

• In January, Pope Francis suggested people have a moral obligation to be vaccinated. He said, “I believe that morally everyone must take the vaccine.

“It is the moral choice because it is about your life but also the lives of others.”

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