Catholic Bishop in South Africa Calls for Protection of Life amid Surging COVID-19 Cases

Bishop Sylvester David, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Auxiliary Bishop of South Africa’s Cape Town Archdiocese has called on Christians and the public to do everything within their power to promote and protect life amid surging cases of COVID-19 infection in the country.

In his Friday, June 11 video reflection, Bishop Sylvester David notes that since the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, life has changed and people have been forced to do things differently from what they had been used to.

“I am alone here, having gotten used to setting up the cell phone in selfie mode so I do not need the face mask. However, once I step outside the mask becomes essential as it serves to protect others. That is what today’s feast is about,” Bishop David says alluding to the June 11 Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The member of Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) says activities like wearing masks have become the new norm, which he has been used to every time he steps out in public.

There have been recent concerns over the sustained spike of COVID-19 infection in South Africa, which has been attributed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to the coming of ‘cooler winter’ to the region.


Catholic Bishops in South Africa have been on record urging the people of God under their pastoral care as well as all members of the public to observe containment measures set up by the government.

Over 1.7 million people in the Southern African country have reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus with 57,410 deaths and 1.5 million recoveries recorded amid concerns of low vaccine intake.

In a recent report, members of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) raised concerns over the low vaccine intake and blamed it on the ethical and safety issues linked to the jabs.

While encouraging people to be vaccinated, SACBC members admitted that the narrative around the safety of the vaccines has spread widely.

“Some people and groups have expressed a few safety and ethical concerns around the COVID-19 vaccines. These have caused a number of people refusing or expressing a reluctance to accept the vaccine,” the Bishops say in the statement dated June 4.

More in Africa

According to SACBC members, different “trusted” South African scientists have assured the people that research on COVID-19 was done faster with large numbers of people ensuring safety and efficacy measurements were not compromised.

They urge the people to find reassurance in scientists who said, “The trials were totally ethically and scientifically sound and the licensing completely thorough.”

On the concern that vaccines usually take a long time to be produced as a lot of research and tests are required, Catholic Bishops in Southern Africa say scientists have acknowledged that the speed of development of the vaccines has been “a reflection of the level of scientific advancement that we are now at rather than that it was in any way recklessly rushed through.”