Mobile Archbishop Tests Positive for COVID-19, Reminds Public to Get Vaccinated

The state recorded 7,424 deaths from COVID-19 in 2021, exceeding the total of 7,188 deaths from COVID-19 in 2020.

Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile
Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile (photo: Archdiocese of Mobile / Archdiocese of Mobile)

MOBILE, Ala. — Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in quarantine, the Archdiocese of Mobile announced on Tuesday.  

“Fortunately, Archbishop Rodi is fully vaccinated and a full recovery is anticipated,” the archdiocese stated in a press release. 

Archbishop Rodi had begun experiencing “mild flu-like symptoms on Oct. 4,” the archdiocese said. He began his quarantine at his residence in Mobile and his symptoms remain mild, the archdiocese said. 

Rodi, 72,  will continue with his duties as archbishop “remotely” from his residence, while diocesan offices remain closed. Those who were in contact with the archbishop have been notified per the city’s requirement, the archdiocese said.

The archbishop encouraged all who are “eligible” for a COVID-19 vaccine to receive one.

“Archbishop Rodi would like to remind the public to take all steps necessary to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19 and he continues to strongly encourage all who are eligible to get vaccinated,” the archdiocese said. 

“The archdiocese of Mobile asks that everyone keep archbishop Rodi, our healthcare providers and those who have COVID-19 in your prayers,” the archdiocese said. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, “breakthrough” infections, infections of those who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, “are expected.” According to data from the agency, as of Sept. 27 there were 22,115 reported cases of patients who were hospitalized or had died from COVID-19 after having been fully vaccinated. More than 183 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Alabama has recorded 415,847 COVID-19 cases in the year 2021. The state recorded 7,424 deaths from COVID-19 in 2021, exceeding the total of 7,188 deaths from COVID-19 in 2020. 

According to the state’s public health website, more than 3.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the state as of July 15. Alabama has a population of more than five million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.. 

Bishops around the country have been encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but have differed in their statements on vaccine mandates and religious exemptions. 

All three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States have some connection to cell lines derived from fetal tissue of babies aborted in the 1970s. Two of them, produced by Pfizer and Moderna, were tested using the cell lines, while one of them, produced by Johnson & Johnson, used the cell lines in both development and testing.

In its December 2020 “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines,” the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that “in the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination.”

The Vatican added that “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation” and “therefore, it must be voluntary.”

“Those who, however, for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, must do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent,” the congregation wrote.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois recently wrote that “while the Church promotes vaccination as morally acceptable and urges cooperation with public health authorities in promoting the common good, there are matters of personal health and moral conscience involved in vaccines that must be respected.”

“While we encourage vaccination, we cannot and will not force vaccination as a condition of employment or the freedom of the faithful to worship in our parishes,” he said. 

Bishop John Stowe of Lexington has required COVID-19 vaccines for all diocesan employees, and Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is requiring all archdiocesan employees and clergy to receive a vaccine for COVID-19, and will only allow exemptions for medical reasons.