Vatican says COVID-19 vaccines ‘morally acceptable’ when no alternatives are available

By Courtney Mares for CNA


Vatican City, Dec 21, 2020 / 10:50 am (CNA).- The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith stated Monday that it is “morally acceptable” to receive COVID-19 vaccines produced using cell lines from aborted fetuses when no alternative is available.

In a note issued Dec. 21, the CDF said that in countries where vaccines without ethical problems are unavailable to physicians and patients — or where their distribution is more difficult due to special storage or transport conditions — it is “morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.”

This does not in any way imply a legitimation of the grave evil of the practice of abortion or that there is a moral endorsement of the use of cell lines proceeding from aborted fetuses, the Vatican congregation said.

As COVID-19 vaccines begin to be distributed in some countries, questions have arisen regarding the connection of these vaccines to aborted fetal cell lines.

The mRNA vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer are not produced with aborted fetal cell lines, although aborted fetal cells were used in tests during the early states of vaccine design.

Three other leading vaccine candidates developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax, are all produced using aborted fetal cell lines.

The CDF said that it had received multiple requests for guidance regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, “which in the course of research and production, employed cell lines drawn from tissue obtained from two abortions that occurred in the last century.”

It noted that there had been “diverse and sometimes conflicting” messages made in the media by bishops and Catholic organizations.

The CDF’s statement, approved by Pope Francis on Dec. 17, went on to say that the spread of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 poses a grave danger and therefore the moral duty to avoid the remote passive material cooperation is not obligatory.

“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,” the CDF said in the note signed by its head, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, and secretary, Archbishop Giacomo Morandi.

The Vatican congregation encouraged pharmaceutical companies and governmental health agencies 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.”

“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,” the note stated.

The CDF also stated that vaccination “must be voluntary,” while noting that those who refuse to receive vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses for reasons of conscience “must do their utmost to avoid … 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.

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  1. Just a quick clarification – Novavax was tested on, but not produced in, foetal cell-lines. So the same level of involvement as Pfizer. The Charlotte Lozier Institute has the details on the various vaccines in their updated chart (some of them used no foetal cell-line at any point).

  2. Their *use* is permissible under certain circumstances. The vaccines themselves, all thus far, have been produced, tested or researched in ways that are not morally licit. People have a duty to make known their objections concerning the use of aborted fetal cell lines to pharmaceutical companies, doctors, hospital systems etc if they decide they must make use of these vaccines to protect themselves. Please read the 2005 PAL letter and make sure you speak up for ethical vaccines.

  3. Let the Truth be known not suppressed.
    In Ireland during Cromwellian times Catholics churches were destroyed. Catholics and Priests were slaughtered for their faith. Priests continued practicing Mass secretly at great risk to their lives including many many parishioners who attended Mass. During this pandemic when people desperately needed Mass and the Eucharist all they got was closed Churches, no mass and no Eucharist. The alternative was a spiritually disconnectedon-line Mass and a farcical “spiritual eucharist”. My point being, is their a need for Churches. As for vaccines including covid it is ethically immoral and unjustifiable under any circumstance to use aborted fetus cells be those aborted in years past or today and which is also totally against Catholic teaching. Pope Francis cannot justify taking the vaccine and should stick to Catholic doctrine. With corruption and the negative influence of Gay Bishops on the faith including reported Gay Priests orgy parties at the Vatican is it any wonder the faithful are turning away from the Church. The Church is in very serious trouble.
    I will never lose my Faith and will continue to pray for Pope Francis.
    God Bless You

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