Note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines

Today in the daily Bollettino (summary of news) issued by the Vatican Press Office there is this from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith…  my emphases.

Bullet points.

It is morally licit to receive a vaccination against the Wuhan Devil even if it was developed from cells procured through abortion.  The act of the abortion was quite remote from the receiver, so the cooperation is very remote.

If there is an alternative vaccine, it should be chosen.

Reception of a vaccination which developed from those cells, does not constitute approval of abortion.

No one is obliged to receive any sort of vaccination.  However, people have the duty to protect their health.  I will add that those who are responsible for the good of others have a higher responsibility in that regard.

Bottom line, it is morally acceptable to receive a vaccine developed from cells obtained through abortion.  If there is an alternative, that should be chosen.

And… the Congregation is CORRECT in these notes.

Note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines

Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines

The question of the use of vaccines, in general, is often at the center of controversy in the forum of public opinion. In recent months, this Congregation has received several requests for guidance regarding the use of vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19, which, in the course of research and production, employed cell lines drawn from tissue obtained from two abortions that occurred in the last century. At the same time, diverse and sometimes conflicting pronouncements in the mass media by bishops, Catholic associations, and experts have raised questions about the morality of the use of these vaccines.

There is already an important pronouncement of the Pontifical Academy for Life on this issue, entitled “Moral reflections on vaccines prepared from cells derived from aborted human fetuses” (5 June 2005). Further, this Congregation expressed itself on the matter with the Instruction Dignitas Personae (September 8, 2008, cf. nn. 34 and 35). In 2017, the Pontifical Academy for Life returned to the topic with a Note. These documents already offer some general directive criteria.

Since the first vaccines against Covid-19 are already available for distribution and administration in various countries, this Congregation desires to offer some indications for clarification of this matter. We do not intend to judge the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, although ethically relevant and necessary, as this evaluation is the responsibility of biomedical researchers and drug agencies. Here, our objective is only to consider the moral aspects of the use of the vaccines against Covid-19 that have been developed from cell lines derived from tissues obtained from two fetuses that were not spontaneously aborted.

1. As the Instruction Dignitas Personae states, in cases where cells from aborted fetuses are employed to create cell lines for use in scientific research, “there exist differing degrees of responsibility”[1] of cooperation in evil. For example, “in organizations where cell lines of illicit origin are being utilized, the responsibility of those who make the decision to use them is not the same as that of those who have no voice in such a decision”.[2]

2. In this sense, when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available (e.g. in countries where vaccines without ethical problems are not made available to physicians and patients, or where their distribution is more difficult due to special storage and transport conditions, or when various types of vaccines are distributed in the same country but health authorities do not allow citizens to choose the vaccine with which to be inoculated) it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.

3. The fundamental reason for considering the use of these vaccines morally licit is that the kind of cooperation in evil (passive material cooperation) in the procured abortion from which these cell lines originate is, on the part of those making use of the resulting vaccines, remote. The moral duty to avoid such passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is a grave danger, such as the otherwise uncontainable spread of a serious pathological agent[3]–in this case, the pandemic spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19. It must therefore be considered that, in such a case, all vaccinations recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive. It should be emphasized, however, that the morally licit use of these types of vaccines, in the particular conditions that make it so, does not in itself constitute a legitimation, even indirect, of the practice of abortion, and necessarily assumes the opposition to this practice by those who make use of these vaccines.

4. In fact, the licit use of such vaccines does not and should not in any way imply that there is a moral endorsement of the use of cell lines proceeding from aborted fetuses.[4] Both pharmaceutical companies and governmental health agencies are therefore encouraged to produce, approve, distribute and offer ethically acceptable vaccines that do not create problems of conscience for either health care providers or the people to be vaccinated.

5. At the same time, practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary. In any case, from the ethical point of view, the morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one’s own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good. In the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination, especially to protect the weakest and most exposed. 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. In particular, they must avoid any risk to the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons, and who are the most vulnerable.

6. Finally, there is also a moral imperative for the pharmaceutical industry, governments and international organizations to ensure that vaccines, which are effective and safe from a medical point of view, as well as ethically acceptable, are also accessible to the poorest countries in a manner that is not costly for them. The lack of access to vaccines, otherwise, would become another sign of discrimination and injustice that condemns poor countries to continue living in health, economic and social poverty.[5]

The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on 17 December 2020, examined the present Note and ordered its publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on 21 December 2020, Liturgical Memorial of Saint Peter Canisius.

Luis F. Card. Ladaria, S.I.
Prefect

+ S.E. Mons. Giacomo Morandi
Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri
Secretary

________________________

[1] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Dignitas Personae (8th December 2008), n. 35; AAS (100), 884.

[2] Ibid, 885.

[3] Cfr. Pontifical Academy for Life, “Moral reflections on vaccines prepared from cells derived from aborted human foetuses”, 5th June 2005.

[4] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruct. Dignitas Personae, n. 35: “When the illicit action is endorsed by the laws which regulate healthcare and scientific research, it is necessary to distance oneself from the evil aspects of that system in order not to give the impression of a certain toleration or tacit acceptance of actions which are gravely unjust. Any appearance of acceptance would in fact contribute to the growing indifference to, if not the approval of, such actions in certain medical and political circles”.

[5] Cfr. Francis, Address to the members of the “Banco Farmaceutico” foundation, 19 September 2020.

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59 Responses to Note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines

  1. Pearl says:

    No.

    And, H E L L no.

  2. Josephus Corvus says:

    Here’s where I get confused on all of this…. I’m missing why this is even a question. If abortions were to suddenly and miraculously cease throughout the world today, would the vaccine (or future medical developments of similar nature) cease as well? If the answer is “no” (which I believe it is for most of these cases), why is it a question since it is not causing more evil? Am I simplifying this too much? Is it really the belief of the Church that after a crime has been committed, people who had nothing to do with the crime cannot use the results for good? It’s not like you can repair the crime, such as by returning stolen goods to their owner.

    P.S. – In any case, this has no bearing on my decision not to take the vaccine at least initially. I don’t want to have to respond to the TV ad in a other couple years: “Did you receive the COVID vaccination in 2021? You might be entitled to compensation. Just call Dewey, Cheetam, and Howe Law Firm at 1-800-555….)

  3. j stark says:

    I am confused as to the outrage within certain circles. The MMR vaccine and others also derived from aborted fetuses; and yet still morally permissable to receive. The Teaching of the Church on this is consistent. I am uncertain why there is outrage all of a sudden regarding a known Teaching of the Church. In fact; some Traditional schools ask students to be vaccinated against MMR etc so as to remain open in accordance with State mandates. I will consider the vaccine once time has passed and others havent fallen ill; that is my major concern; is the vaccine safe over the long term. The outrage is more political than moral.

  4. benedetta says:

    This point is well taken:

    “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. In particular, they must avoid any risk to the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons, and who are the most vulnerable.”

  5. thymos says:

    I was wondering about the language in the English translation, which (adding asterisks) says: “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. In particular, they *must* avoid *any* risk to the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons, and who are the most vulnerable.” My family and I are not inclined to get the vaccine – does this mean we have some serious obligation to be über-careful? As a scupulous person, do I need to worry about “do[ing] my utmost” not to transmit the disease?

  6. JesuCorSanctissimum says:

    “An assessment of cooperation with evil in terms of distance from the original abortion is necessary, but ultimately insufficient as criterion because there is another distinct and more immediate category of sin involved. The recipient is an immediate participant in the commission of the continuous theft of human remains obtained through deliberate killing, their desecration through exploitation and trafficking, as well as ultimate omission to respectfully burying them.
    While the original killing establishes the illicit character of using the remains, their possession and use becomes a distinct evil in itself; the circumstances of which do not cease as a form of theft, desecration, exploitation and refusal to bury, regardless of the customer’s distance in time from the abortion, number of cell divisions or the sub-cellular fragmentary infusion of DNA and protein in the final dose.” Fr. Michael Copenhagen (full statement on Children of God for Life website).

    This is quoted in an interview with Fr. Ripperger on ugetube – Resistance podcast #143: Answers on Vaccination concerns with Fr. Ripperger

  7. Catholicmum says:

    As a long-time reader of this blog, this is my first post. I am shellshocked. Not by this statement from modernist Rome. That was to be expected. But that this would even be a topic f.

    Can anyone imagine the Vatican issue a statement like this during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918, if vaccines made from aborted fetal tissue already existed ? Catholics would have been disgusted by the very idea that any such vaccine could ever be made, let alone that abortion would be a reality on an industrial scale one day.

    But today we have such smooth excuses. It’s only a “remote connection”. It’s to “save lives”. It’s “not obligatory”, but those who refuse the vaccine should avoid contact with “vulnerable persons” (i.e. any contact with others, since we cannot know who is vulnerable). And the fetal tissue used is from the “last century”, so no big deal (from the 1960s and 70s, to be precise…)

    This is not a treatment against the plague. It’s a vaccine against a disease with a slightly higher death rate than the flu.

    #comeprimule

    The Italian vaccination campaign will use flower shaped pavilions for distribution of the vaccine, see adversiting video on youtube above. Italian social media users have already pointed out that these pavilions resemble giant ant traps (RAID brand Italian version). Personally I think they also resemble the red flowers in the pachamama bowl.

    Maybe I am wrong, maybe I exaggerate. It all seems so simple to me. But it won’t be. My husband is an officer in the French armed forces, we have a deployment to a third country upcoming in 2021 as a family. The vaccine will doubtlessly be “obligatory” by then, in the sense that my husband might well have the option to get it or get fired. Where do you draw the line? Is this the hill we will die on (at least socially and financially)?

    The irony is that I already got abortion-connected vaccines in the past, before my conversion, and so did our children. But we didn’t know then. Now we do.

    [You are missing distinctions that the CDF made which would have been recognized also the time of the Spanish Flu. Take a good look again at paragraphs 2 & 3.]

  8. iamlucky13 says:

    Thank you for posting this Father.

    The moral theology underpinning this is a bit complicated, so unsurprisingly, I’ve already seen quite a bit of confusion about this, some of it quite vehement.

    I think it is important for the reasoning it can be licit to receive these vaccines to be shared and accurately commented on as you have in order to address the confusion.

    At the same time, the CDF has also clarified that the vaccine is not a moral obligation. Hopefully this will in turn help inform the the secular discussion to avoid the creation of any policies that would mandate receipt of a vaccine that is still under emergency use authorization, or lead to situations where individual rights are made a matter of vaccination status, such that our human rights begin to be treated as a conditional matter, rather than inherent.

    @ Josephus Corvus:
    ” Is it really the belief of the Church that after a crime has been committed, people who had nothing to do with the crime cannot use the results for good? “

    No, but the Church also has found it necessary to guard against well-intentioned use of the results of an evil act being viewed as justification of the evil act itself, which would be gravely scandalous.

    The sources cited at the bottom of the letter Father posted include further discussion about this, much of which was approved by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

  9. Katherine says:

    So, maybe I have something off here, please correct, but no one is talking about the nub of the issue: sin. Sin causes temporal repercussions. We can be forgiven for sin, and we can even mitigate the temporal effects, but terrible mortal sin, I assume, causes terrible mortal temporal repercussions. We cannot know what those repercussions could be. Isn’t it possible that the brazen sins involved in creating these vaccinations could have serious medical side effects (temporal repercussions) down the line, maybe worse than the CCP flu? Why would anyone cooperate, even remotely, in this sin for fear of a flu with a 99%+ survival rate?

  10. Adelle Cecilia says:

    Have you read the LifeSite piece on “humanized rats?” These aborted babies are not all that far removed from the vaccine process, on treatments, etc. [As hideous as that is, I think that is pretty far removed.]

  11. Kerry says:

    Bear with me. From Inside the Vatican,an interview with Dr. Theresa Deisher: “We have to stop being afraid”.
    Deisher: First of all, COVID-19 is a coronavirus, and there are many of them. No vaccine has ever successfully been made against a coronavirus. So that’s a high hurdle to overcome. All of their focus is on the H2 receptor in these vaccines, when they are focusing on the spike protein, they’re focused on the ACE2 receptor which was the receptor for SARS-CoV-1. Now SARS-CoV-2 can bind the ACE2 receptor; however, it doesn’t look like that’s the receptor it actually uses in the human body because the symptoms are totally different. If it used ACE2 just like SARS-CoV-1, we would have the same symptoms. It doesn’t. Everyone made those assumptions. I mean, they didn’t have a lot of time to think about this. And hindsight is 20/20 vision. But they treated these patients like they treated SARS-CoV-1, put them on mechanical ventilators, which for the most part is what caused the deaths. It’s a different disease. The vaccines that are going after the Spike 2 protein we don’t believe are focused on the right receptor.

    And there has never been a vaccine successfully generated against a coronavirus. The coronaviruses do mutate, so even if you could create a vaccine, you’d have to create a new one every year. There are just much better approaches to this effort. Obviously for influenza, which is an annual pandemic, we have vaccines. But we still have hundreds of thousands of deaths every year, even though we have the vaccines. The vaccines typically are not effective. The most effective one is only 44% effective. And then you have to make new vaccines, because you have to guess at what strain is going to come the next season. Sometimes they guess well and sometimes they don’t guess as well. A vaccine is not the answer.
    Also from Inside the Vatican, Stefanie Stark interviews Robert Kennedy Jr. Some shorter excerpts.
    Stark: According to the World Health Organization, there are 70 vaccines in development — three of which are in clinical trials. What do you think about the push for the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine? Is it okay to skip animal trials and go straight to human trials? Can those human volunteers truly have informed consent?
    Kennedy: No. What we know about coronavirus from 30 years of experience is that a coronavirus vaccine has a unique peculiarity, which is any attempted making of the vaccine has resulted in the creation of a class of antibodies that actually make vaccinated people sicker when they ultimately suffer exposure to the wild virus. Following the SARS epidemic that began in 2002, China launched a concerted effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine. They succeeded in developing 30 promising models, and they chose the four “best in class” to fabricate and then test on ferrets, the animal most analogous to human beings when it comes to upper respiratory infections.

    The ferrets all developed admirable, robust, and durable antibody responses, and the scientists believed they had hit the jackpot. But then, when the animals suffered exposure to the wild virus, something frightening happened. The vaccinated animals sickened and died with body-wide inflammation. The vaccine had created a condition known as paradoxical inherent immune response, which amplified the injury caused by the illness rather than preventing it.
    …Stark: Is it a wild or created virus?
    Kennedy: That is unclear. There is strong circumstantial evidence that the virus could be the product of not so much genetic engineering as accelerated evolution, and that is the mechanism that is used to create vaccines and bioweapons. There was a research program that was being used at the Wuhan lab, and we know this because they published many studies on it. It’s a way of creating “gain of function” organisms. In other words, created organisms that are very virulent and extremely transmissible.
    Stark: Why would anybody do such research?
    Kennedy: it’s a way of developing vaccines. So what they do is, they take a wild coronavirus and then they grow it on pangolin tissue. Then they’ll take it off of pangolin tissue. They take the colonies from the pangolin tissue and regrow those colonies on mouse brains. And they’ll take the colonies from mouse brains and they’ll regrow them on monkey vero kidney cells. And then finally, they will grow them on human lung tissue. It’s a way of teaching the virus to jump species. You’re training it.

    When they do that, they will give that trained virus to rats that have been genetically engineered to have human DNA to see if they can make the rats sick from coronavirus. And when they prove they can make the rats sick, they then try to develop a vaccine to stop the spread of the thing. And it’s called “gain of function” research. Many doctors and scientists have criticized it as having little benefit historically, of adding little to the knowledge while taking huge risks.
    End of pastes.
    And remembering Mike Vander Bough, in his Alabaman accent: “Aw hell no!”

    P.S. Also read about mRNA, messenger RNA in the vaccine. Never done before. Jeff Goldblum’s head…

  12. smittyjr63 says:

    Aside from the moral theology, what is even more important to understand is that this is not some standard flu vaccine. This is an mRNA vaccine (it messes with your DNA – SCARY!). It’s COMPLETELY experimental. They have ZERO idea what the long term effects will be (not good). COVID can mutate and that would make this vaccine moot! Bottom line: If you get this vaccine you are willing to be a guinea pig.

    [We are not obliged to get this vaccine willingly.]

  13. robtbrown says:

    Let’s take a slightly different case:

    A man is murdered. Is it morally licit that his heart and certain other organs be transplanted into a live human being. Are his tissues morally disqualified because he was murdered?

    Some years ago a son of Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with bone cancer below the knee. The leg was amputated ( I think below the knee). By the late 1990’s amputation was no longer the procedure. Instead, the bone of a cadaver would be inserted. If the cadaver had been murdered, would the bone be morally disqualified.

    [Your instance is quite proximate. This vaccine situation is quite remote.]

  14. B says:

    Thanks for posting this. Important stuff. I hope the bishops that were against this will publish this in their diocesan papers so that their laity can be informed.

  15. Catholicmum says:

    Thank you for your response, Father. I do see the distinctions in those paragraphs, but I am not sure if le bon Dieu, as we say in France, will let us off the hook so easily. An ethically acceptable alternative may not be available to us in France, but will this be enough as an excuse, given that there may be reasonable doubt about the grave danger posed by the disease itself?

    If no alternative was available, would a Catholic priest visiting the sick, elderly and dying be excused or even obliged to take an ethically doubtful vaccine ? It just seems so twisted, the question itself seems to be something of the devil. But it may soon be upon many of our good and holy priests.

    I think I would have preferred to die of the Spanish flu in 1918 with a clear conscience, rather than take the vaccine in 2020. But then again, God put us here and today at this very moment for a reason.

    Thank you for all the good work you do for our souls, Father.

  16. B says:

    Here is a good article on the science of the mrna vaccine:

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/health/johnson-johnson-covid-19-vaccine.html

    I know someone who was a test case for the vaccine months ago. The person only recently found out they received the vaccine and not the placebo. Last month everyone in this person’s work department got covid except this person. Good example that the vaccine appears to work effectively. And this person had no reactions to the initial shots and honestly thought they had received the placebo because the shots were so simple with no ill effects.

  17. michael says:

    I am very familiar with the mRNA technology used to produce the Pfizer vaccine as I am the founder of a competing mRNA technology. My comments apply to all of the other mRNA vaccines in development (Moderna, CureVac, Arcturus and Sanofi Pasteur). Let me be very clear — The vaccine itself; the drug product – the material injected into a person is not produced using cells of any kind – including cells taken from a child murdered by abortion. The vaccine is synthetic (synthesized using enzymes and chemical components).

    There is, however, a moral question with this Pfizer vaccine (and, I believe the Moderna vaccine). This involves testing performed on the drug (vaccine) after it was manufactured to ensure quality and potency. One of the many tests on the vaccine after it was manufactured involved a cell line called HEK 293. These cells were procured from an aborted child in the early 1970s in the Netherlands. The precise details of this abortion are unknown; according to testimony from the scientist who made the cell line (i.e., it could be from a spontaneous abortion, for example). It is very likely however, that the HEK293 cells were derived from a procured, elective abortion.

    The moral question is whether the testing used to characterize the vaccine renders the vaccine itself morally evil. To me, it seems to be at least one degree separated from direct cooperation with the evil act of abortion. Unfortunately, in our society nearly everything we buy and most things made in the USA, Europe (and China) have some kind of connection to the abortion industry.

    I believe that the latest assessment from the Vatican is correct. The biopharma industry, however, needs to ensure that these abominable cell lines are no longer used in any way. There are morally acceptable alternative cell lines (I use them every day!). Unfortunately, most scientists don’t even give this even a passing consideration.

  18. iamlucky13 says:

    @ smittyjr63 says:

    “Aside from the moral theology, what is even more important to understand is that this is not some standard flu vaccine. This is an mRNA vaccine (it messes with your DNA – SCARY!).”

    Respectfully, please let it be known that it is false that the vaccine messes with your DNA. Normally, mRNA is an intermediate means of carrying genetic information from your DNA to your ribosomes, which use that information to make proteins.

    The use of artificial mRNA in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines also results in the production of proteins encoded by this artificial mRNA, without interacting with your DNA.

    In particular, the artificial mRNA gives your cells instructions for making the so-called “spike protein” that is one of the main external features of the virus (but far from the whole virus). When your cells start making copies of this spike protein, your immune system responds by developing protections against it. Unlike the virus, neither the mRNA nor the spike protein are viable on their own, so as the mRNA breaks down over time, the process ceases. One of the questions investigated by the clinical trials was whether or not this process lasts long enough and stimulates the immune system sufficiently to lead to immunity.

    “They have ZERO idea what the long term effects will be (not good).”

    It is technically true that the long term effects are unknown, but I would say it is over-stating it to say there is no idea. The first recipients received the vaccines roughly 6 months ago, with good results so far, and experiments with artificial mRNA strands have been going on for years.

    “COVID can mutate and that would make this vaccine moot!”

    It has mutated numerous times, just like most diseases do, without mooting the vaccine. When I read the FDA review summaries, I was really impressed how clear and consistent the divergence in the infection rate trend was between the vaccine group and the placebo group. The vaccines showed high effectiveness despite the numerous strains currently circulating.

    Yes, it could potentially mutate sufficiently to form a related disease the current vaccines would not protect against. They are effective against the current viruses, and the possibility that they may not be effective against a future virus is not a reason not to use them.

  19. My concern is that just as “the faithful are now allowed to choose another penance on Fridays outside of Lent” got twisted to “Catholics can eat meat on Friday,” this nuanced statement will be twisted somehow by the media that claim that Joe Biden is “a good Catholic” to read “abortion is okay” or that “Church teaching on abortion is changing.” It may be technically correct but I wonder if it is a sound thing to be saying. It may have been better if they simply said nothing at all under today’s circumstances.

  20. robtbrown says:

    Fr Z says,

    [Your instance is quite proximate. This vaccine situation is quite remote.]

    That’s exactly my point. It’s more likely that there would be moral reservations about the more proximate examples, even though hardly anyone considers them morally illicit. So if the proximate example is not illicit, why would the remote example be?

  21. TonyO says:

    If the cadaver had been murdered, would the bone be morally disqualified.

    Your instance is quite proximate. This vaccine situation is quite remote.

    In addition to being quite approximate, the example suggested is also morally ambiguous in an important way: was the cadaver murdered precisely to get the bone material, or murdered for other reasons and his bone used because his driver’s license said “donor” on it? If the former, then using the bone tissue would have been either FORMAL cooperation with evil, or at least IMMEDIATE material cooperation with evil (depending on further details), both of which are morally wrong. But if the murderer murdered the guy for his car, and the doctor took his bone material not having any connection to the murderer, then that’s at least one step removed from proximate material cooperation.

    In the case of the aborted tissue, there have been at this point 50 years and at least one whole generation of scientists / clinicians in between the abortionist and now. The intentions of the intervening agents are not knowable in detail, but there is no clear reason to presume that they were in formal assent to the aborted source of the cell line, or that there exists a definite chain of scientists who, at each link, formally assented to the abortion as a source of the material. This seems to be an almost textbook example of remote material cooperation with evil.

    We can be forgiven for sin, and we can even mitigate the temporal effects, but terrible mortal sin, I assume, causes terrible mortal temporal repercussions.

    Mortal sins sometimes cause closely associated terrible mortal temporal repercussions, but sometimes not. There is no certainty of it. The terrible mortal sin of rape may cause the conception of a child, but the child is not evil even though the rape is a terrible evil. The child is good.

  22. thomistking says:

    Thank you for posting this, Father. There is a great deal of confusion on these issues among people who have otherwise good intentions Hopefully seeing this here will help clarify things for some people.

  23. ChrisP says:

    A key fact here is alternative: there IS an alternative in the form of the Novovax vaccine. Not contentious and will satisfy all concerned.

    People just need to be prepared to pony up some dosh, and those with dosh be prepared to support those who may not have the means.

    It can be done – all it takes is a) the will & b) the thought processes

  24. jomc says:

    I think receiving it would be wrong I think I’m going to stick with Bishop Schneider on this one. Reference: Schneider’s interview at life site with John Henry Westin.

  25. JonPatrick says:

    The discussion on this thread has been very useful in helping me think about whether to take the vaccine, assuming we have a choice about the matter. Right now I am inclined to hold off, unless I have to take it in order to travel, for example.

  26. I will stick with Bishop Schneider and Fr. Ripperger on this. Fr. Ripperger recently had an excellent podcast on this on Sensua Fildeium.

  27. Lusp says:

    I get the CDF’s position on this, but isn’t there a difference in proximity between the Pfizer vax an the Moderna vax? My layman’s understanding is that the Pfizer COVID vax only used fetal cell lines in testing, whereas Moderna used it in more than testing. If that’s the case, shouldn’t the Vatican promote the lesser of the two evils? It would make it financially beneficial to be ethical and might even result in completely ethical vaccines, if nothing else for financial reasons.

  28. tahearn says:

    Fr. Z,

    I have been following this issue of vaccines derived from the cells of murdered babies for many years. I know many of us have. This is not a “new” problem to many of us who have been pro-life advocates. I have had to write many letters claiming personal religious exemption from all vaccines for all my children who attended Catholic schools before we started homeschooling. Now I am not qualified to make judgements about ethical vaccines as they may have done good in the past. However, I believe we can all share a certain mistrust to pharmaceutical companies as they are willing to utilize the remains of murdered children and their moral records are most likely not the best. So my questions are this:

    1. As a long time Catholic pro-life advocate who has a long time record of resisting tainted vaccines, where and what does the role of my conscience play in this theological and moral situation? I must say that I have feeling of horror at the thought of having such a vaccine derived from the remains of a baby injected into my or anyone’s body. Without trying to be rebellious, the statements from the Vatican sound like a compromise and basically say that I won’t be committing a mortal sin by allowing these unethical vaccines to be injected into my body. Just so I understand, remote cooperation does mean there is some cooperation? Is my conscience wrong? Or does this indicate that it is malformed, when it is telling me it is my duty to resist these unethical vaccines with “maximum of determination” even if it is remote cooperation?

    2. The Vatican says it should be voluntary to receive such or any vaccines, but it is not a conspiracy theory anymore to assume that this is going to be the case. What then? Where is the guidance? Again, at the risk of sounding rebellious, the CDF leaves a lot to be desired with regards to clarity. Nor does it seem to me to address the horrible crime behind this issue. I felt great comfort and inspiration by the letter issued by bishops (Schneider, Strickland and others) with regards to our duty to resist with “maximum of determination” these unethical vaccines. They actually sounded Catholic and heroic. The CDF did not. I could not help thinking again how the Vatican made me feel like a “schismatic” because my conscience tells me this compulsory vaccine issue is, as a reader mentioned above, “the hill to die on.” Just as I agree with my conscience when it tells me with maximum determination that worshiping Pachamama in the Vatican gardens is a grave mortal sin.

    Please help us!

  29. Joe says:

    I was born with original sin, without any fault on my part, because of the sins of others, remote to me. I’ll wait for a vaccine untainted by sin.

  30. robtbrown says:

    TonyO,

    I intentionally didn’t mention the motivation behind the murders. The argument against vaccination was simply that the tissue was morally disqualified because of murders. If the abortions had happened just to supply tissue for a vaccine, then IMHO it would be morally illicit to take the vaccine.

    Unfortunately, there are so many abortions that tissue used for vaccines would not increase demand.

  31. Susan C says:

    Novavax used aborted cell lines in production according to the CNA on December 4 article about Prolife groups and vaccine production.

  32. The Masked Chicken says:

    [Sorry, for the length of this comment. I think the nature of the topic warrants it]

    I have been staying away from anything smacking of politics, anywhere, because I find it a near occasion of sin for me, but I think I have to say something about the vaccine situation. Molecular genetics is not my field of expertise, but I do, occasionally, teach an organic/biochemistry class for pre-nursing students and we cover some of the relevant topics to this discussion in the course, albeit not at a specialists level.

    As much as I respect the five bishops (Snider, Strickland, etc.) who signed a document calling for resistance against any vaccine tainted by the use of aborted fetal cells, this is a very complicated issue and requires a much more extensive discussion.

    To begin with, there are certain vaccines which, to my mind, no good Catholic may use, because they directly make use of aborted fetal cells in their production. The Lozier Institute has a very good (as in print it out and share it) list of the aspects of production for each of the major vaccines in development:

    https://lozierinstitute.org/update-covid-19-vaccine-candidates-and-abortion-derived-cell-lines/

    The AstraZeneca vaccine is a prime example of a vaccine using aborted cells in its production and shame on the bishops of England if they support it, when other, less controversial vaccines are available. The list of easily immoral vaccines are found by looking at the “production” column in the list.

    There are also a few vaccines that are easily moral, since no aborted fetal cells are used, at all, at any phase of their development. One example is the Sanofi and GSK Protein Sciences (France and US) vaccine and, ironically, some of the Chinese vaccines. A few of these are in phase 3 trials, but most are in phase 1/2 trials and won’t be available until at least late 2021.

    The problematic vaccines (and there are many that fit this category, including the Novovax, cited, above) are those that use the HEK 293 or PER C6 cell lines for testing, as these cell lines are taken from aborted fetuses. The reason that these are problematic is because they use the HEK 293 or PER C6 cell lines to test if the vaccine produces the spike protein, S-2P (there are two sub units to a portion of the spike protein of SARS-COVID-19, S1 and S2, and the S2 protein was found to be more stable (more resistant to mutations) and a better candidate for the vaccine). These are confirmatory tests, only, at least in the case of Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech and are only used to prove that the vaccine does what it is supposed to do. No fetal cells are used in design or production of the vaccine. The reason these cell lines are used is that they produce enough of the protein in a relatively short period of time so that the protein can be assayed to prove that it has the right structure and they aren’t creating something different, by accident. A summary of their testing methodology (for the scientifically interested) may be found, here:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2622-0

    Now, according to Moderna, it was the NIAID/UT team (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the University of Texas at Austin) that performed the HEK 293 test. According to Eric Failing from the Pennsylvania Catholic Conferences:

    “The supposed connection to aborted fetal cell lines in patents does not cite the correct Moderna patent related to its vaccines, and the cites in the incorrect patent are to research concept examples unrelated to the actual vaccine production. Some Moderna collaborators (NIAID/UT) did use abortion-derived HEK293 cells to produce viral spike protein to test its shape and antibody binding [see: https://news.utexas.edu/2020/08/05/locking-down-shape-shifting-spike-protein-aids-development-of-covid-19-vaccine/ my comment] but their test did not determine the design or production of the nucleic acid sequence, and in fact was done only after Moderna had already determined the genetic sequence needed, developed their mRNA sequence vaccine, and begun production of the mRNA vaccine. [My emphasis] Moderna is not producing a spike protein for its vaccine, nor does it use cell lines (aborted fetal cell or otherwise) in the production of this mRNA vaccine. Moderna’s vaccine is mRNA (instructions) that tells the body how to produce its own spike protein. Bottom line, Moderna vaccine production does not utilize aborted fetal cells and its design did not rely upon aborted fetal cells.”

    http://phillycatholiclife.org/life-affirming-choices-3/covid-19-vaccines-explained/

    Moderna co-authored the Nature paper, however, so it could give the appearance that Moderna did the HEK 293 testing. It did not, as far as I understand the situation. Like so many scientific projects, these days, this was a join collaboration with Moderna, NIAID, and UT. Moderna made the vaccine and NIAID/UT tested it. The Nature article says:

    “HEK293T/17 (ATCC CRL-11268), Vero E6 (ATCC), Huh7.5 cells (provided by D. R. Taylor, US Food and Drug Administration) and ACE2-expressing 293T cells (provided by M. Farzan, Scripps Research Institute)…”

    That same paragraph, however, also says:

    “…Cell lines were not authenticated.”

    What that means is unclear. The cell lines were thought to be HEK 293, but they were not authenticated as such. In fact, Moderna could not even rightfully say that the cell line was HEK 293. That burden lied with the FDA. Moderna cannot know this, for sure. They are taking the FDA’s word.

    To the extent, however, that they consented to the testing, knowingly (or at least not proving to their own satisfaction that it wasn’t), allowing the use of the HEK 283 cell line for testing, they may, in fact, be a material co-operator in evil, but they are at least one degree of separation from the actual testing with a cell line that was not, actually, authenticated – however, that may have been merely vincible ignorance. On the other hand, it may, at this point, be impossible to trace the linage of the cell line used for the test.

    It seems that Moderna merely used the results of the testing (it proved their vaccine produced the correct protein), but did not directly act in the testing. They did not intend the abortion; they did not cause the abortion that led to the HEK 293 cell line. Their collaborators, essentially, used the dead body parts of a murdered baby for tests. Is it morally permissible to use the organs of a murdered man (that one did not kill or cause to be killed) to save a life? In general, no. In the article on organ donation, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 2296 says:

    “It is not morally acceptable if the donor or his proxy has not given explicit consent.”

    Since no one can give consent to murder, use of aborted cells is always morally illicit, so NIAID/UT are, definitely, doing something immoral. Moderna’s name on the Nature article gives implicit consent to the HEK 293 testing, so the summary of their position given by Failing, above, is disingenuous. Even if Moderna did not have the cell lines authenticated, because of the gravity of the cell line’s origin, they were morally required to remove the doubt about whether or not it was the HEK 293 cell line before they gave consent. They did not, so, in effect, they morally consented to the use of probably aborted cells in the testing of their vaccine.

    I must ask, since this goes beyond my level of expertise: is there another method to create sufficient protein for testing that does not use aborted cells (maybe, pluripotent stem cells?)? Is using aborted cells the only way or merely the most expeditious way?

    In any case, I think that the five bishops are missing the point: the testing is unrelated to the design or the production of the mRNA vaccine of either Moderna or Pfizer. The testing did not, actually, have to be done. They could have merely hoped their designs were right and proceeded on. The testing is an independent result from the design and production, which one could, rightly, I think, argue, makes Moderna a moral cooperator in evil because of the testing, but it does not make Moderna’s vaccine, itself, immoral, nor Moderna a co-operator in evil for designing and creating it. They did not use an evil means to a good end (which is forbidden), as in the cases where aborted cells are directly used to manufacture the vaccine. The evil they consented to was independent of the end. They did not, strictly speaking, have to do it, except by explicit force by the government regulatory agencies.

    Given this, it would seem that the vaccine, itself, bears no taint of evil, only the testing of it in a lab. To say that, in all cases, if any portion of the creation of vaccine is evil renders the entire vaccine evil is to commit the fallacy of composition, which is what I fear the bishops are guilty of, here.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_composition

    Making a gun does not make the gun, itself, evil, even if the gun maker decides to shot someone to see if it works. I think this is exactly the situation, here. The vaccine is the gun; killing someone to see if it works is an immoral method of testing of the gun. The two are unrelated. Can people morally buy the gun? I think the simple answer is, yes. One does not even have to appeal to degrees of moral separation to see that this is correct.

    To summarize: vaccines that directly use fetal cells in their production are morally evil and can never be used, even to the point of resisting to death, in my opinion. Vaccines that merely test their product in an immoral fashion, but do not use fetal cells in any other way, are morally licit, however, the manufacturers are morally culpable for their improper testing techniques.

    The Chicken

  33. iamlucky13 says:

    I read a reprint of Bishop Schneider’s comments on the matter. I noted some important concerns, especially his evident frustration at how entrenched the practice of using human embryonic cells has become in medical research.

    However, although I won’t address his comments point-by-point, I did not see any reasoning that invalidated that of the CDF and Pontifical Academy for Life, nor excluded the vaccines currently in question from a maximum determination to defend life. Such a determination must weigh decisions and actions that witness to the defense of life but do not have an effect of preserving lives proportionately with acts that have do have an effect of preserving lives, assuming neither involve the commission of evil acts.

    Furthermore, regardless of Bishop Schneider’s intentions of orthodoxy, I think caution must still be maintained against the temptation to selectively choose teachings or counsels to observe out of convenience, or to follow an individual or even a group of bishops toward conclusions not in accordance with the widely held and longstanding understanding of the Church. Bishop Schneider clearly can not call objections to the vaccine on account of remote cooperation with evil to be the formal Sensus Fidelium, as they are factually not even remotely universally held. I am disappointed, and in fact concerned, that he claimed there to be a “unanimous response” on the matter, especially one that does not appear consistent with the counsel of the CDF.

    Lastly, in order to consider a variety of perspectives when I evaluate this question, I found myself checking whether the SSPX had published any counsel on the topic, on the assumption they would not fail to consider the question independently of the CDF. They currently have published on their website guidance that is consistent with that written by the CDF. I think it is well-written and worth reading.

  34. Patrick Casanova says:

    I have not posted here before though I have been reading this blog for years. I think that many of the faithful in these times are looking for leaders who we can trust and for signs by which we can trust them. It is difficult. I trust Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider, as well as Archbishop Vigano. I trusted you Father but something here makes me hear the voice of one I do not know. We run from the strange voice even if we do not know why; we are simple but there is something, hopefully it is the sensus fidei, that makes us uneasy when we hear this strangeness. We are all trying to be faithful to what is true but we know there is rot at the top and I would trust Bishop Schneider’s latest statements over yours, and he said this would happen, that people like you would somehow be blinded. Maybe you need to do some fasting?

    [You have failed to read this whole thing carefully, I fear. At the same time, you are entirely within your right to refuse accept a vaccination. I hope you will be healthy and/or you have an alternative vaccine that you find acceptable. I hope that for you and all who depend on you and who would be your caretakers in illness. Also, it could be that those who worked on this (CDF) have the sensus fidei fidelium. Finally, you have set up a marker about “fidelity” in a realm that is extremely complex and where the very best of faithful Catholics wrestle with angels. This perhaps is a side effect of the anglo-saxon view of morals. Not sure. Anyway, continue to think about this and read what comes out about it.]

  35. TonyO says:

    If the abortions had happened just to supply tissue for a vaccine, then IMHO it would be morally illicit to take the vaccine.

    Robtbrown, I would agree with you – if the abortion was done for THIS vaccine.

    If the abortion was done for some vaccine effort 60 years ago, by some other doctor, working for some other company, and the company supplying THIS vaccine used the same cell line “because the cell line has well established biological aspects”, then there become (at a minimum) two bases for distancing this vaccine from the abortion: the intent has no formal connection to abortion, and the agent involved has no immediate connection with abortion. A cell line having “well-established biological features” is not formally or logically dependent on the cell line coming from an aborted baby. In reality, at this point most companies probably get the cell line through the agency of several, possibly MANY, intervening agents, who may have any number of motives having some, little, or nothing to do with abortion. This makes it remote.

  36. I guess it’s safe to conclude that confidence in the teaching authority of the Church is pretty low, at least among blog commenters. Personally, I think the responsibility for creating a situation where lay people feel the need to second-guess everything that comes out of the Vatican lies primarily with the men in the hierarchy who have been coming out with nutty things for decades. We shouldn’t have to wonder whether what we are getting from our shepherds is kosher. [This is one of the saddest things that has risen like a specter over the Church since 2013. Direction from the top should bring clarity and unity, a measure of confidence. However, what has come from the top has been so erratic and strange that now every one is clenched whenever a new thing – whatever it be may – is issued.]

    But this? This month the SSPX, no fans of modernist emanations from Rome, arrived at pretty much the same conclusion as the CDF: https://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/it-morally-permissible-use-covid-19-vaccine-62290. The SSPX statement contains clear explanations of the varying degrees of cooperation with evil, as well as an overview of different types of vaccines, how they function and how fetal cells are used (and not used) in their production. [That is probably because they have a strong foundation in decent moral theology.]

    Whatever we decide to do with this information, it seems to me one thing we should not do is give in to the temptations that beset serious Catholics in times of moral laxity: to dogmatize our opinions; to assume burdens of conscience beyond what the law requires; and, worst of all, to lay unwarranted burdens of conscience on others.

  37. ChrisP says:

    Susan C: good catch. Thanks – annoying re Novovax.

    Updated list of vaccine and ethics here: https://lozierinstitute.org/update-covid-19-vaccine-candidates-and-abortion-derived-cell-lines/

    There are several to choose from that don’t appear to use HEK cells or equivalent. Hopefully the Sorrento Pharma VIVA-19 and JP II Medical research Institute get along well.

  38. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Beyond the remoteness of the aborted fetal stem cell lines, as a physician, I am distrustful of the rushed emergency approbation of these vaccines. [No kidding!]

    Moderna Corportation, for example, has never produced an FDA approved product. None.
    Moderna has never been involved in the mass production or distribution of vaccines. Not once.
    And this company is the 2nd fastest emergency approved aborted stem cell derived COVID vaccine product.
    Both Pfizer and Moderna have produced a world first mRNA type vaccine product which has no prior widescale use correllaries for which to compare.
    Studies for both Pfizer and Moderna were over a limited 2-3 month period and mostly included older patients. Current vaccine guidelines suggest anyone with ANY prior severe reactions to *anything* should not receive the vaccine. Anyone pregnant or possibly becoming pregnant in the next 2-3months (aka any practicing Catholic man’s wife of child rearing age) should not receive the vaccine. Anyone with COVID in the last 3 months should not receive the vaccine.

    To me all the data suggests we have an under-studied vaccine (with a larger than vaccine average list of contraindications), utilizing untested mRNA technology, produced by some companies with no track record of FDA approval or distribution, being massively distributed to young healthy people who have an extremely small chance of being harmed by actual infection with the virus. Also it utilizes aborted fetal cells to exist.

    None of my statements are conspiracy theory. Make up your own mind. Be an adult. Decide what is right for you and your family. If I was 60 with COPD and diabetes and obesity I’d consider getting it.

    As it is, I’m 34 and totally healthy and am just not sure I want to provide myself, my wife, or my kids as the fodder for unlisted phase 3/4 clinical trials (did I mention there were no animal trials?). Even if I took the vaccine, I will still have to wear an N95 mask and goggles all day in clinic and in the OR so the vaccine would change nothing in my life apart from personal risk I perceive as greater than the virus currently. And the moral issue of remotely profiting from aborted babies.

  39. Shonkin says:

    I am really glad to have had the chance to read this post and the ensuing discussion.
    Life Site News (John Henry Weston et al.) came out with a note today condemning all the vaccines because in one way or another they were “tainted” by abortion. (The reasoning reads a little bit like parts of the Talmud.)
    I believe the invention of these messenger RNA-based vaccines, which attack the virus’s genetic structure, will in time have a very desirable side effect — that of making the fetal-cell-based vaccines used for things like measles irrelevant and lead to their replacement.

  40. Adelle Cecilia says:

    There’s no proof that his getting the shot didn’t cause him to be the carrier/instigator of his workplace’s outbreak.

  41. Adelle Cecilia says:

    See, I’m more sure all agree about the MMR shot. However, I know that some dioceses have removed religious exemptions for vaccines, in general, and some of the more questionable ones, in particular.

    MMR has “real life” consequences, as well, and I do not believe any of the ends justify the means of this vaccine.

  42. Patrick Casanova says:

    Ok. Here’s a very simple point. We are not to do evil that good may come from it. Remote cooperation with evil is still cooperation with evil. Cooperation with evil is evil. We may not do evil. It seems to me that the CDC is saying it’s just a pinch of evil and therefore insignificant. I have heard we should rather die than offend God. Venial sin is sin.

  43. Patrick Casanova says: Ok. Here’s a very simple point. We are not to do evil that good may come from it. Remote cooperation with evil is still cooperation with evil. Cooperation with evil is evil. We may not do evil. It seems to me that the CDC is saying it’s just a pinch of evil and therefore insignificant. I have heard we should rather die than offend God. Venial sin is sin.

    Except it’s not that simple, because in this fallen world, we are faced with conflicting duties, and with the fact that the tar of sin sticks to every human activity. It is virtually impossible not to engage in some cooperation with evil on some level, however remotely, whether we like it or not. And yet, we can’t just bow out of life. We have to function. To refuse to carry out the duties of our state of life is also an evil.

  44. Herman Joseph says:

    Three points I think are key to this:

    1) The survival rate is about 99.8%. Most people who have died from it, 99.2 % approximately–and despite the hype of the mass media–were in their 80’s and already had some serious issues. This is not a grave situation; the 1918 influenza that killed millions and millions, young and old, that was a grave situation. Corona does not fit the bill, except in the minds of the mass media and such, as grave.

    2) The vaccines, tainted or not, are experimental. They were created in about nine months or so. It takes about ten years at least to vet a vaccine. There is no way to know the effects of these vaccines, not to mention that every coronoavirus vaccine thus far has been snubbed in the animals trials: the animals, when exposed to the virus they were inoculated against, had a deadly overreaction. There is simply no way to say these are anything but experimental.

    Give points 1 and 2 alone I cannot fathom how one can think these vaccines make any sense at all. I can’t do everyone’s homework, but there is a ton of information from legit doctors who are experts that these vaccines make no sense under the circumstances. And what the Vatican and many bishops are putting out about vaccines also simply makes no sense; it seems to be based not on science or common sense, but on watching the mainstream media.

    3) Here is a link to Fr. Ripperger’s analysis. Bishop Strickland and Bishop Schneider also agree with this asssessment, as do I: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/exorcist-priest-abortion-tainted-vaccines-are-ongoing-theft-of-babies-bodies

    The thing is, in a nutshell, whatever distinctions one makes, there are some facts that cannot be put aside: cells lines from a baby murdered by abortion were used in some vaccines to make the vaccines, and other vaccines were tested on that baby’s cell lines, such as from Pfizer. Per Fr. Ripperger:

    “The quality from the original abortion…even though the abortion is distant in time and even in physical effect, the fact of the matter is that the physicality of using the aborted-derived DNA from the child renders the vaccination, even today from a moral perspective, sufficiently proximate [to the evil of the abortion].

    Thus to use that baby’s cell line is stealing. Not only that, the ONLY reason those vaccines are available is because of some reliance on the murdered baby’s stolen DNA/Cells by the one taking the vaccine–the vaccines would not be available, in other words, if not for that baby’s murder: the vaccines were produced from his cell lines or tested on them. To make use of those vaccines is to say, “I am dependent on that baby’s murder by abortion in order to have this vaccine and possibly save my own life.” That is a complicity in a direct sense to the abortion, and it is never valid to do evil in order to obtain a good. Use of the vaccines, in the words of Fr Ripperger, are “sufficiently proximate.” The date of the baby’s murder by abortion or distance in terms of physical effect has nothing to do with the fact that there is complicity in the use of these vaccines.

    Physical health of course is also not an absolute good. I am shocked that anyone would rather preserve their lives in this world by taking those vaccines connected to abortion; there is Heaven, after all. St. Perpetua and St Felicity both decided to die rather than commit evil, even though it mean giving their babies to others to raise–they did not put their lives in this world or even their children above their adherence to Christ and their refusal to be complicit in sin.

    Given the three points above, I would rather die than save my life, rather than obtain a benefit only available to me by a baby’s murder by his own mother, whose DNA and cells are then stolen for our use. And I say this as a husband and father five children. I want us all to live to a happy old age. More than that, I want us all in Heaven one day, and using the abortion tainted vaccines is not the way to do this.

    Using these vaccines are a), from points one and two an incredibly bad idea from a medical point of view, and b) truly a moral evil, and thus something to avoid, however grave the threat of illness and death.

  45. Docent says:

    Kudos to the Masked Chicken for an analysis that is very well-reasoned and insightful. However, I don’t believe the fallacy of composition is the fallacy involved in the faulty reasoning applied to declaring a vaccine to be immoral in and of itself because some testing of the vaccine was immoral. The fallacy of composition arises from wrongly assuming that what is true of any part or member of a whole is also true of the whole (sometimes this can be the case; the fallacy arises when such can be shown to not be the case), but the testing is not a part of or a member of the whole, which is the vaccine itself, so the faulty reasoning, though bearing some similarity to the fallacy of composition, is not utilizing this fallacy.

    Ironically, the fallacy of composition has been applied by the media and fellow travelers to declare the three-fold cocktail therapeutic that consists of group members hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc is ineffective against Covid because they insist on focusing only on some allegedly negative or modest results involving the use of only hydroxychloroquine. As such, they declare that since hydroxychloroquine by itself is largely ineffective (dubious claim), they then declare that the cocktail which has hydroxychloroquine in it is largely ineffective even though all tests and applications involving the 3-fold cocktail have demonstrated significant effectiveness in helping to cure many people infected by Covid.

    In any case, the Masked Chicken is still correct in stating that because a vaccine is tested immorally, such testing does not render the vaccine in and of itself immoral since the testing does not change the composition of the vaccine that does not use any ingredients that would be immoral parts of the vaccine. Interestingly, any vaccine that contains immoral parts does render the whole immoral and does not fit the fallacy of composition because at times what is true of the parts is also true of the whole as stated above.

    Accordingly, based on perennial Church guidelines, I believe it is morally permissible though not morally ideal to use the Pfizer vaccine because it does not consist of any morally tainted ingredients. I also believe that the CDF’s approval of vaccines that use morally tainted ingredients is flawed because there are alternatives available and becoming more and more so with each passing day, and the urgency of the matter, though real, is not as extreme as it appears the CDF believes it to be that would justify the use of vaccines that contain morally tainted ingredients.

    My Final Two Cents of Advice: Of course, people do not have to take a vaccine, but for anybody who is in a position where taking a vaccine is the prudent thing to do, if personal circumstances allow waiting for a vaccine with no connection to abortion in any way, that would be the best and ideal moral approach to take in making use of such a vaccine. On the other hand, if personal circumstances make it more prudent to take a vaccine earlier rather than later, and one is available that does not contain morally tainted ingredients though some testing of the vaccine is immoral, that would be morally permissible while it is maintained that the immoral testing is objectionable and should be eliminated as soon as possible.

  46. The Masked Chicken says:

    Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda,

    You wrote:

    “To me all the data suggests we have an under-studied vaccine (with a larger than vaccine average list of contraindications), utilizing untested mRNA technology, produced by some companies with no track record of FDA approval or distribution, being massively distributed to young healthy people who have an extremely small chance of being harmed by actual infection with the virus. Also it utilizes aborted fetal cells to exist.”

    I agree with most of your statement, but I have two clarification: 1) young people may, still, benefit from being vaccinated, even if healthy, so as to reach herd immunity faster, although, in a perfect world where the most at-risk get vaccinated, young people should be at the bottom of the list, since their risk is very small, 2) the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do not use aborted fetal cells to exist. The vaccines were synthesized in labs by stitching together off-the-shelf products with no connection to abortion. It was the testing phase that was problematic, but that moral evil is exclusive to Moderna, not the user.

    Still, everything else you say is true and this will be the historic test for mRNA vaccines. I wish it did not have to be under these circumstances, as well, but, hopefully, this is not thalidomide in the making.

    Docent,

    You wrote:

    “The fallacy of composition arises from wrongly assuming that what is true of any part or member of a whole is also true of the whole (sometimes this can be the case; the fallacy arises when such can be shown to not be the case), but the testing is not a part of or a member of the whole, which is the vaccine itself, so the faulty reasoning, though bearing some similarity to the fallacy of composition, is not utilizing this fallacy.”

    We agree on what the fallacy of composition says, I think. I think we are simply referring to two slightly different concepts of “the whole.” I may have not been clear in my comment, but I was referring to the whole as the vaccine production and evaluation process, because that is what I took the five bishops to be referring to. As I understand it, your “whole” is the vaccine, simpliciter. This is, also, a valid line of demarcation and fits with the more limited application in describing the class of vaccines that have no confirmatory stage, such as with the AstraZeneca vaccine, such that making the vaccine is the whole of the process.

    Your point about the drug cocktail is a good one, as there might be synergistic effects among the three drugs that offset the problems with any of of the three. It, really, depends on the composition of the cocktail, I guess (I would never consider a mixture of penicillin, aspirin, and cyanide to treat strep throat). The fallacy of composition could use an extended treatment a la Douglas Walton, who, to my mind, has done more to advance and clarify the theory of informal fallacies than anyone else in modern times (he wrote a good introductory text, but his articles really shine and many are available, on-line).

    Herman Joseph,

    You wrote:

    “This is not a grave situation; the 1918 influenza that killed millions and millions, young and old, that was a grave situation.”

    In one year, March, 1918 – March, 1919, the Spanish Flu killed 675,000 Americans, mostly, young adults. From March, 2020 to March, 2021, if current estimates hold up, 400,000 Americans will be dead from COVID – 19. At the moment, more that 333,000 Americans have died (and the reporting of who died from what cause was no better in 1918 than today). I think that counts as a grave situation. The total world death count from the 1918 flu is much higher than from COVID-19 because sanitary conditions and other environmental conditions (doctor/patient ratio, advances in medicine) were worse in 1918 than now. If 1918 conditions prevailed, today, the death count from COVID-19 would be higher, although, probably, less than for the Spanish Flu, but COVID – 19, even allowing for fudged death reporting, is anywhere between 5 and 30 times deadlier than the ordinary, non-H1N1 flu, especially for old people.

    [side rant] Of course, youth is everything, these days, so who cares about old people? If societies, as a whole, had more reverence for old people, perhaps such things as the sexual revolution might not have occurred and we would not have to discuss the use of immoral vaccines produced from sexual license. Times of technological revolution tend to shift focus to the youth and “the now.” Still, it is a sadness to see how quickly the accumulated wisdom of the ages can be discarded for a little titillation, a little temptation of the new. Should it come as any surprise that countries that revere old people, such as South Korea and Taiwan have, generally, had better COVID-19 outcomes than most youth obsessed countries? I am tempted to say that Vatican II was a similar revolt against posterity and like most viruses attempted to re-write the Church’s DNA with its own. The Patient survived, but one gets the sense that, just as some COVID-19 sufferers become, “long haulers,” weakened and subjected to continuous symptoms by the virus, perhaps the post-Vatican II period we are in is the Church’s “long haul.” Just a thought. [end side rant]

    The Chicken

  47. Patrick Casanova says:

    Anita Moore, I’m sorry but what you said just sounds like you think it’s ok to choose to do evil. It doesn’t make any sense.

    [Give it some time and think about it.]

  48. WVC says:

    @Masked Chicken – shouldn’t you subtract from your total COVID deaths to date all of the folks who miraculously stopped dying from the Flu and other illnesses? There is literally no excess of deaths in the United States. Go see for yourself. I pulled the total numbers of deaths for any cause from the CDC website from 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 through October. We’re actually on track to be a little BELOW the average total number of deaths this year. Think about it. Also, do we get to counter-balance the COVID death numbers by the increased deaths due to suicide, heart conditions worsened by delayed care or surgery, drug overdoses . . . etc. due to the lockdowns and insane fear being peddled by the media?

    Regarding old people, being someone who is not young but perhaps not quite so old, it’s the old people who have ruined just about everything. It’s the old priests who are clinging to the felt banners and refusing the resurgence of Catholic tradition. It’s the old folks who have driven up national debt, ruined education, pushed or allowed cultural marxism, endorsed every kind of moral depravity, supported the attacks that drove the Church from the public square, and who are now doing their best to destroy everything so as to preserve their health. Whatever happened to “this life is a pilgrimage and our True Home is not to be found here”? In short, one can say that reverence is earned, and as the Fool says to Lear, something he could say to many old folks today, “I’d have thee beaten for being old before thy time. . . Thou shouldst not have been old till thous hadst been wise.”

    I actually have a theory that medicine, in extending the life expectancy to such a great length, has fundamentally changed the composition, function, and direction of society, and not for the better. That’s for another place and time, though.

    Regarding South Korea – you may want to check on that again. My relatives over there say it’s a [bleep] show right now. Also, the fact that Southeast Asia deals with Coronaviruses on a regular basis probably accounts for a lot.

    Regarding the vaccine – there’s not even evidence (and some serious doubt) as to how effective and how long the immunity provided by the vaccine lasts. I would also say that there is very serious concern that those who receive the vaccine may appear to have immunity, but when encountering the actual virus in the wild will have a much more virulent reaction than someone who was unvaccinated. This has been the case with pretty much every single previous attempt to create a vaccine for a virus that attacks the respiratory system. Usually this is discovered during animal trials, which is why those vaccines don’t usually make it to human trials. But hey, don’t worry, we skipped a lot of those pesky trials this time around.

    Regarding the use of aborted fetal cells . . . whether used in the development or the testing of a vaccine or ANYTHING, I think it is repugnant and a clear mark of the utter moral depravity of our society. I heard a doctor today reference which aborted fetal cell was used as if he was talking about a specific can of beans on a shelf in the pantry (and this doctor is a devout Christian). It’s sick, and we should all be ashamed of it, and it speaks to the absolute evil that lies in the heart of the medical establishment. Name one saint who would make any kind of argument in favor of the continued use of aborted fetal cells? Frankly, I think it’s the type of evil that leaves a long, lasting impact, similar to Fr. Z’s post on the long-lasting effects of demonic items. I can’t help but think all things that in any way come in contact with aborted fetal cells must be tainted or cursed in some way.

    I grant that I’m no Systematic Theologian, so I’m not arguing against any of the very logical things previously said defending the use of aborted fetal cells. I just think the just outrage we should feel for such an absurd evil is often blunted by tidy, well organized little words.

  49. But if these vaccines are sterilant in nature, aren’t we not morally obligated to refuse them? Interfering with being fruitful in the marital act is grave sin…

  50. Semper Gumby says:

    WVC: Good points.

    “Also, do we get to counter-balance the COVID death numbers by the increased deaths due to suicide, heart conditions worsened by delayed care or surgery, drug overdoses . . . etc. due to the lockdowns and insane fear being peddled by the media?”

    The Two Weeks to Slow the Spread was many months ago. Sure, prudent precautions are in order, but the Wuhan Virus is being exploited for social engineering and control by numerous “politicians” and “scientists.”

    Observe their behavior and then the behavior they demand of you. Compare the behavior of the governors of South Dakota and Florida to the governors of California and New York. Note the elderly who have died alone as visitations were denied, the decline of the Sacraments, increase in suicides and stress-related illnesses, increase of depression, and growing behavioral problems in children parked daily in front of computer screens.

    Authoritarians and “Our Guardians” are exploiting the Wuhan Virus for their own malicious purposes. The “cure” appears to be worse than the disease.

    There is a new book “The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe” by Douglas Axe, William Briggs and Jay Richards.

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely [or maliciously] exercised for the “good” of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies [with delusions of grandeur and omniscience].”

  51. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear WVC,

    “ There is literally no excess of deaths in the United States.”

    I believe that most epidemiologists disagree with you. From the CDC:

    “ Based on NVSS data, excess deaths have occurred every week in the United States since March 2020. An estimated 299,028 more persons than expected have died since January 26, 2020; approximately two thirds of these deaths were attributed to COVID-19. A recent analysis of excess deaths from March through July reported very similar findings, but that study did not include more recent data through September (5).”

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6942e2.htm#contribAff

    Your assertion has already been debunked:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-chart-us-death-figures-2020/fact-check-chart-does-not-present-accurate-us-deaths-figure-for-2020-idUSKBN2872MV

    “ Regarding old people, being someone who is not young but perhaps not quite so old, it’s the old people who have ruined just about everything.”

    This is not true. The people who are old, now, made the changes when they were young. There is very little evidence, historically, that old people have been engines of societal change. The disruptive old priests of today were disruptive when they were young priests, before. Old people, rarely, disrupt society with something new and rarely wake up when they are old and decide to become disrupted.

    “ I would also say that there is very serious concern that those who receive the vaccine may appear to have immunity, but when encountering the actual virus in the wild will have a much more virulent reaction than someone who was unvaccinated.”

    This old canard has been disproven by the 70,000 people who were in the phase 3 trials of the mRNA vaccines. In one of the two studies, out of 30,000 people enrolled in the study, there were 95 cases of COVID:

    “ 90 of the cases occurred in the placebo group and 5 occurred in the vaccinated group. There were 11 cases of severe COVID-19 out of the 95 total, all of which occurred in the placebo group.”

    https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/promising-interim-results-clinical-trial-nih-moderna-covid-19-vaccine

    So, no severe reactions when the vaccinated people were exposed to the virus.

    “ I can’t help but think all things that in any way come in contact with aborted fetal cells must be tainted or cursed in some way.”

    The mRNA vaccines did not come in contact with aborted fetal cells. The testing did, but that has no moral connection to the vaccine. That is making the vaccine guilty by association.

    I am not saying that we are not in uncharted waters with the mRNA vaccine, but, so far, the evidence is that it is safe.

    I suppose we could continue the discussion after Christmas (since, I suspect you might disagree with my comments, which is fine, since it gives a chance for people to hear good discussion among people of good will – a rarity on social media). I, for one, wish to focus, for at least one day, on what unites us – the birth of Christ – and leave the contentions for another day. Times, facts, and opinions will change, but the birth of Christ is the birth of eternal Truth. Let us all rest, for one day, in His truth.

    The Chicken

  52. Docent says:

    Masked Chicken:

    Thanks for the follow-up. You were clear in your exposition regarding the position of Bishop Schneider et al. However, your expanding on the meaning of the whole in terms of the fallacy of composition actually supports the position of Bishop Schneider et al., because if the testing is part of the whole along with the vaccine itself, and the testing is indeed immoral, then the testing does morally taint the vaccine itself as a part of it, just like tainted material as part of the vaccine would render the entire vaccine immoral.

    Again, the reasoning you use to demonstrate that the immoral testing of X does not make X in and of itself immoral is correct, but not because the testing is a constituent part of X, but actually because it is not a constituent part of it. Once again, the reasoning is similar to that employed by the fallacy of composition, but the fallacy of composition does not apply here. The vaccine itself and the testing of the vaccine are 2 distinct things, and one is not part of the other to constitute some other “whole” wherein the fallacy of composition can be properly applied.

    With regard to the drug cocktail, it is the case (not may be the case) that the synergistic effects make the cocktail very effective as demonstrated in many circumstances, and as explained by those who employ the cocktail.

  53. Docent says:

    Masked Chicken:

    Thanks for the follow-up. You were clear in your exposition regarding the position of Bishop Schneider et al. However, your expanding on the meaning of the whole in terms of the fallacy of composition actually supports the position of Bishop Schneider et al., because if the testing is part of the whole along with the vaccine itself, and the testing is indeed immoral, then the testing does morally taint the vaccine itself as a part of it, just like tainted material as part of the vaccine would render the entire vaccine immoral.

  54. Docent says:

    Masked Chicken:

    Part 2 of the above. The system wrongly detected what it claimed as a duplicate comment and would not permit a full post. Hopefully, this works:

    Again, the reasoning you use to demonstrate that the immoral testing of X does not make X in and of itself immoral is correct, but not because the testing is a constituent part of X, but actually because it is not a constituent part of it. Once again, the reasoning is similar to that employed by the fallacy of composition, but the fallacy of composition does not apply here. The vaccine itself and the testing of the vaccine are 2 distinct things, and one is not part of the other to constitute some other “whole” wherein the fallacy of composition can be properly applied.

    With regard to the drug cocktail, it is the case (not may be the case) that the synergistic effects make the cocktail very effective as demonstrated in many circumstances, and as explained by those who employ the cocktail.

  55. Semper Gumby says:

    CDC, as with WHO and various “fact checkers,” have been unreliable (sometimes reasonably accurate information, and sometimes distorted for political purposes) since the beginning of the year.

    Additional context:

    “COVID Problems: CDC’s Method of Estimating ‘Expected Deaths’ and ‘Excess Deaths’ Is Misleading”

    “Such questionable interpretations, misrepresentations, and methods could collectively lead one to question the reliability of some or all of the CDC’s COVID-19 data — including the CDC’s weekly COVID-19 anecdotes.”

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/10/covid_problems_cdcs_method_of_estimating_expected_deaths_and_excess_deaths_is_misleading.html

    Christopher Rufo, who exposed Critical Race Theory indoctrination at nuclear weapons labs, also revealed the CDC’s efforts to ignore Pres. Trump’s executive order banning such indoctrination. Furthermore, some at CDC are attempting to declare “racism” a national health crisis.

    One more:

    “There are many other documented and postulated sources of excess deaths, including delayed emergency room visits due to fear of COVID resulting in postponed or skipped treatment for heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and other ailments. Deaths of despair, such as suicides and drug overdoses, have increased. Violence has also increased significantly. ”

    https://thefederalist.com/2020/11/04/cdc-data-suggest-lockdowns-could-kill-as-many-people-as-covid/

  56. mlmc says:

    WVC- 1)flu deaths are down b/c the mitigation strategies employed for COVID work for the flu- both are respiratory viruses after all.
    2) the virus has been shown to provide protection- the differing rates of infection in the vaccinated vs placebo patents was one of the main goals of the trial- provide evidence of effectiveness & safety.
    3) it is true the old have ruined more than the young-so far the young haven’t ruined much- but give them time….

  57. mlmc says:

    As for fear of the vaccine- at this point it must be viewed as a great achievement of western medicine and science which are born from the nurturing soil of Western Christendom. For science assumes an ordered & rational universe that can be studied w/o danger or blasphemy. It is in the service of God that science is made- the Lord wrote two scriptures- the Holy Book and the universe. We serve him as St Thomas More said when we use our minds to learn more about him, to love him & to serve one another : “God made the angels to show Him splendor, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind.”
    To use what we learn of the miracle of life to save life is a noble pursuit. We have made a vaccine from RNA- the messenger of our genetic material to serve as a messengers o our immune system to preserve God’s greatest gift- life. That many of the scientists are atheists just shows how God accomplishes great things with imperfect instruments.

  58. WVC says:

    @Masked Chicken

    So, in one link I’m supposed to trust the data from the CDC, but then in the next link I’m not supposed to take the data from the CDC as accurate. So the numbers are correct when they support your story, but not correct when I support my story? (and by not correct it’d have to be off by hundreds of thousands, not onesie twosie)

    “Who you gonna believe? Me or your own lying eyes?”

    Likewise, you’re actually making my point for me. The fact that the current old people did radical things when they were young doesn’t mean they were different people. That’s my point – the old people the young are currently expected to give up every single right and liberty on behalf of are the same ones that ruined the world the current young people are stuck with. If ever there was a cursed generation, this might be it.

    Regarding old people actually making radical changes to society . . . that goes back to my thesis which would be for another place and time.

    Please get the vaccine if you think it’s safe. I’m not arguing against anyone getting any vaccine if they want it. I get my dander up when people start saying the word “mandatory” which I know a certain segment is already preparing soft-totalitarian controls (i.e. no air travel without a Freedom Pass) to enforce the taking of the mRNA vaccines, even if one has already had the disease, which is beyond absurd.

    But then I’ve been (and still am) against mandatory Mask use, and practically nobody agrees with me on that. Is there any liberty or human dignity we won’t sacrifice on the altar of COVID-19? Not that I can tell.

    However, I listened to an interview with an epidemiologist only yesterday who cited his concern about Vaccine Induced Enhancement. Calling it a “canard” is disingenuous. It’s a legitimate concern:
    https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/covid-19-vaccine-researchers-mindful-of-immune-enhancement-67576

    Whether this will manifest itself when they go from 70,000 people to over a million is yet to be seen.

    In your final point you basically said, “They used aborted fetal cells to test the 2 vaccines, so associating them with the aborted fetal cells is guilt by association.” Huh? If you had the choice of eating peanut butter or peanut butter that had been tested against aborted fetal cells, are you trying to say there’s no difference. I understand that the mRNA vaccines weren’t made using aborted fetal cells in the process, and I clearly stated I was not disagreeing with previous arguments defending the moral theology surrounding these vaccines.

    My actual point was that the fact that aborted fetal cells EXIST in order to SERVE ANY FUNCTION whatsoever is a condemnation of the entire Medical institution as well as our entire society. I don’t care if they keep aborted fetal cells around to check the window washing fluid on their cars – it’s morally repugnant. The end.

    I’m typing up this response as I cross-check my Christmas gift spreadsheet (one has to stay organized with 7 kids plus 2 birthdays in the last week of December), and I’m cursing the USPS which still hasn’t delivered things I ordered back in November (serves me right for actually getting all my shopping done early).

    Have a Merry Christmas. I’ll be offline for a while.

  59. pray4truth says:

    Nope. This is a hill on which I am willing to die. I agree that any vaccine having anything to do with abortion whether proximate or distant is immoral, repugnant and completely unnecessary.
    The recovery rate of ‘rona is better than the effectiveness of this vaccine. One needs to consider, also, the side effects of this vaccine (sterility is one). [MAYBE. People are willing to accept this rumor as truth. We don’t know this yet.] Also, as new strains of the virus come out, then wouldn’t that mean one would need to keep getting vaccinated for every strain? [MAYBE: We don’t know that yet.] Frankly, I’m way more wary of the vaccine than I am of the virus. [Fine.]
    The virtue signaling tactics are a definite red flag, also. [As is CLEARLY the case ALSO among those who instantly reject it.] There is mounting evidence that folks with no symptoms have not and do not spread covid. So the constant “you’re going to make someone else sick/kill grandma if you don’t wear a mask/get the vaccine” b.s. is just that, B.S.
    Pretty much anything “pope approved” these days is big red flag, tragically. Remember that the president of Academy for Life, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, also said he’d hold the hand of someone committing suicide … [While that is appalling, it has nothing to do with this issue.]https://wdtprs.com/2019/12/head-of-pontifical-academy-for-life-would-hold-the-hand-of-person-committing-suicide-fail/

    Eugenics anyone? [MAYBE: We don’t know that yet. So, by all means, assume the worst. I’m not saying at all that one of the vaccines is not strongly problematic and that the other vaccines are also untried. But to sacrifice rational discourse for the sake of posturing is irresponsible. Go ahead and choose NOT to receive any of the vaccines. That’s your right. No one should be forced to have any of them. Don’t sacrifice your ability to think beforehand.]

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