Opinion: It’s time to get beyond vaccines

I am very concerned that Catholics have now surrendered the ability to guide ethical decisions at the national or global level, not just for the single vaccine issue, but beyond it to any ethical stand.

The COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTec vaccine is seen in this illustration photo. (CNS photo/Kamil Krzaczynski, Reuters)

So far, all the COVID-19 vaccines depend on the use of fetal cell lines that originated with abortion. Lots of discussion about the morality of vaccines followed Moderna’s announcement last November that its phase III human trials were successful. It is a good time to slow down, climb up high, and survey our moment in history so we can better see the way forward.

Not again!

At first mention of a COVID-19 vaccine, I thought, “Oh no, not again!” Previously, the issue was mostly relegated to childhood vaccinations. Vaccines that use aborted fetal cell lines elicit strong reactions from pro-life parents because governing authorities at varying levels require them. To vaccinate or not? For fifteen years I have read and re-read Church guidance. We choose to vaccinate our children. We also dutifully voiced objections to doctors and wrote letters to companies and lawmakers. We were heartbroken knowing we were benefiting from abortion. Like anyone concerned about this issue, we just wanted to do the right thing.

The 2005 guidance from the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL), “Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses,” calls this ethical dilemma a “moral coercion of conscience.” Moral theologians termed our use of these vaccines “licit, passive, remote, material cooperation in evil,” but the terminology is unhelpful. The very remoteness that might ease our conscience also makes us powerless to demand ethical alternatives. Our protests fell flat on pediatricians’ floors.

With COVID-19, we are all backed into the same corner. The mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer were tested in HEK-293 cells, a line that originated with a child aborted in the 1970s. The AstraZeneca vaccine is an adenovirus-vector-based vaccine, which encodes the spike protein. The company uses the HEK-293 cell line to both test and grow the genetically engineered vaccine. The new Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an adenoviral vector grown in the PER.C6 cell line that originated from a healthy 18-week-old aborted child. (See the Children of God for Life website for specifics.)

A hard truth

An alarming number of people, 2.5+ million, have died from COVID-19 worldwide. Economies are crippled, liberties eroded. Mandates will probably be enforced. The stress parents felt for decades is now palpable globally, and a hard truth is emerging.

The 2005 PAL guidance told us to demand ethical alternatives, but that has proven ineffective. To accept the vaccines without accepting them? To wag a finger while getting a jab? To benefit from abortion while opposing it? It is a contradiction, like sporting a seal skin jacket while opposing the killing of baby seals.

The Church is clear that receiving the injection is a matter of informed conscience, and that will not change. But there is a bigger question for Catholics to face, one that goes beyond vaccines. How do we effectively oppose abortion if we are telling the world it is moral to benefit from abortion? It is useful to review our message.

Confirmatory testing

Controversy began abruptly last November when vaccine availability was imminent. The Charlotte Lozier Institute had reported the Moderna vaccine as “ethically uncontroversial,” claiming that researchers did not use fetal cell lines. The National Catholic Bioethics Center and Catholic News Agency, among others, repeated this claim. (See the timeline here).

But there was controversy. Months earlier, both companies had already disclosed the in vitro testing of mRNA candidates in HEK-293 fetal cells, a critical step in development. The Charlotte Lozier Institute later added the term “confirmatory testing” to describe the in vitro tests, but they continued to call the vaccine uncontroversial. Moral theologians and Church authorities, including those at the Vatican, repeated this phrase and portrayed the testing as a one-time, ethically insignificant, event (examples here and here).

There was no discussion about whether the same in vitro test would be used in ongoing quality control during manufacturing. This information would likely be found in the FDA-approved manufacturing process, but Operation Warp Speed does not require FDA approval.

Most recently, Moderna announced a plan for pre-clinical trials on new mRNA vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 variants at its manufacturing facility in Norwood, MA, a $130M investment employing 230+ employees. The new mRNA vaccines can quickly be adapted for an evolving virus, which is good. The in vitro test, however, is the first step in the pre-clinical trials for vaccine variants before animal and then human testing. If they use the same in vitro testing described in their scientific reports, then this testing is also critical to ongoing development.

From the start, the message was confusing as Catholics were scrambling to figure out what to do. Beyond Catholic circles, I am concerned that the message collectively sent to lawmakers and pharmaceutical companies is that we are not serious about opposing unethical practices.

Licit cooperation in evil

The guidance from the PAL back in 2005 was followed in 2008 with more formal instructions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). “Instruction Dignitas personae on Certain Bioethical Questions” clarified that the exploitation of aborted human bodies is morally illicit, but the use of the vaccine is morally licit in certain situations. “Licit, passive, remote, mediate cooperation in evil” is only permitted if: 1) the need to protect individuals and populations is grave, 2) there is no alternative, 3) one continues to reject the evil of abortion and the use of aborted children in research.

In December of last year, Dr. Janet Smith insightfully argued that the word “cooperation” is an imprecise misapplication. “How can I,” she says, “contribute to something that has already happened?” She recommended the word “appropriation” (benefiting from ill-gotten gains) instead.

Dr. Smith also noted that Bishops Athanasius Schneider and Joseph Strickland et alii see the remoteness of the cooperation as irrelevant. They argued that “the crime of abortion is so monstrous that any kind of concatenation with this crime, even a very remote one, is immoral and cannot be accepted under any circumstances by a Catholic once he has become fully aware of it.”

Although this statement is more extreme than the guidance in the PAL and CDF documents, it essentially repeats the instructions to “reject” the vaccines – if rejection is taken in a general sense. Catholics could unite and voice an outcry in rejection of the vaccines, even as individuals receive it under moral duress. This interpretation, if accurate, does not resolve the contradiction problem completely, but at least it moves toward a stronger response.


Dignitas personae mentions scandal alongside cooperation in evil, stating that the “risk of scandal be avoided” (35). The document refers here to the choices of researchers.

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.

The problem with remote cooperation in evil, as Dr. Smith points out, is that it only considers the past. When we are making decisions about using vaccines in the present, the focus is on how they were developed and produced in the past. Scandal deals with how our choices influence the future, but it has hardly been part of the conversation.

On December 17, the CDF issued a “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines,” reaffirming the language in the 2008 Instruction Dignitas personae and the earlier PAL guidance. The note states that “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process,” but only if ethically irreproachable vaccines are not available and one opposes the practice of abortion. The short note did not mention scandal, but it is worth considering whether our words and choices give “tacit acceptance” to the evil of abortion.

No moral qualms

In January of 2021, Dr. Melissa Moschella at Catholic University of America wrote an opinion published by the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse. She holds that the COVID-19 vaccines are not “morally compromised” at all and asserts that “pro-lifers should not have any moral qualms about taking any of the available vaccines,” contrary to the guidance from the PAL and CDF.

Fr. Matthew Schneider, also at Public Discourse and on his blog at Patheos, argues that if we are going to reject any drug tested with HEK-293, or any other fetal cell line, then we should reject almost every aspect of modern medicine, including a long list of over-the-counter drugs. He says that unless we reject all of it and “say goodbye to modern medicine,” the argument that we should reject them fails.

These arguments are controversial; for over fifteen years, the Vatican has asked Catholics to advocate against the use of fetal cell lines in vaccines. Dr. Moschella and Fr. Schneider are right, however, to point out that the focus on vaccines took our attention off the use of fetal cell lines in other medications. The use of fetal cell lines has become ubiquitous. If we can’t beat them, however, the solution is not to join them.


Try to imagine the decision-makers (executives, scientists, lawmakers, investors) sitting down with Catholic leaders after all that has happened since November 2020. Catholics ask them to stop using aborted children in research. Catholics demand ethical alternatives for vaccines. But the other side already knows we find it morally permissible to benefit from abortion. Why should they take our moralizing seriously? They will likely assume we do it just to make ourselves feel better.

I am very concerned that Catholics have now surrendered the ability to guide ethical decisions at the national or global level, not just for the single vaccine issue, but beyond it to any ethical stand.

Aborted children in research

Vaccine and fetal cell lines are part of a larger problem. Late in 2020, scientific reports of fetal tissue research populated scientific literature, but with hardly a mention in Catholic ethics.

For example, the University of Pittsburg reported how they grafted the scalps of aborted children onto rodents to study staph infections. Hundreds of children aborted in the second trimester were dissected to study the accumulation of flame retardants in utero (for wanted children). And an enormous effort is underway to build a fetal cell atlas. This will map molecular-level genetic changes throughout gestation, requiring a steady supply of fetuses. (Summaries here and here.)

The wave is coming. These research programs are intended to bring significant cures. The fetal cell atlas alone is predicted to end most pediatric deaths. Fast forward this current vaccine debate ten years into the future. The issue will not be fetal cell lines in vaccines. It could be the use of life-saving cures from fetal tissue research. What do we do? Perpetually point to the past and call it remote?

Cooperating in future evil?

Because if we shrug and say we are willing to accept benefit from abortion now, we are not avoiding the risk of scandal. We may be cooperating in future evil by influencing sin in researchers’ decisions.

I do not want my children to someday sit in doctors’ offices with their babies knowing that every medical benefit offered to them, not just vaccines, came from the exploitation of the remains of unwanted children killed by abortion and used like lab rats – and then wonder why Catholics did not unite and absolutely protest this entire practice when they could.

For these reasons, I suggest that consideration of the risk of scandal be re-inserted in our moral calculus, and that we think hard about the influence our words and choices have on our leadership roles in the fight for human dignity. I think it is time to get beyond vaccines.

Related at CWR:
“Cooperation, appropriation, and vaccines relying on fetal cell line research” (Jan 24, 2021) by Stephan Kampowski
“Opinion: Is taking the COVID-19 vaccine a moral duty?” (Feb 19, 2021) by Fr. D. Vincent Twomey, SVD

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About Stacy A. Trasancos 4 Articles
Stacy A. Trasancos is the executive director of Bishop Joseph Strickland’s St. Philip Institute and chief research officer of Children of God for Life. She has a doctorate in chemistry, a master’s in dogmatic theology, and worked as a senior research chemist for DuPont. She teaches Catholic Studies courses at Seton Hall University, is a Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute, and author of Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science. Stacy is mom to seven children and grandmom to six. She and her husband, Jose, live with their family in Hideaway, Texas.


  1. The whole issue encompasses far more than vaccines but vaccines are the part we’re having to deal with at the moment and I for one appreciate any clear direction received from our bishops.
    If we’d taken a stand for ethically manufactured vaccines 25 years ago we wouldn’t be where we are today.

    • I was so happy to read this. Thank you, Ms. Trasancos, for speaking out on this issue! I had already decided I could NOT morally receive a COVID 19 vaccination, but your article helped me to better understand the process, making it easier for me to explain to others why I cannot. I pray many others will also have the opportunity to read it. God bless you!

  2. Thank you, Mrs. Trasancos, for distilling the issues for us.

    Your concerns are well taken. This COVID outbreak is a watershed moment. Unfortunately, we Catholics seem, once again, to have yielded in the face of societal pressure.

    Maybe if, like our president, we carried our Rosaries around with us and put them on display whenever it was time to approve of death-dealing practices and policies, we might at least feel better as we ushered in this monstrous new order in which the weak thrive by the killing of the weaker.

    Take a bow, Democrat voters. You know who you are.

    • Very well put. If hypocrisy were saleable, we could wipe out the US national debt in about an hour and a half. I used to wonder how Germans under Hitler and Russians under Stalin gulped down the intellectual and moral swill dished out by their governments. What I’ve seen during the Red Chinese virus crisis has erased that puzzlement completely.

  3. How is this different from receiving an organ transplant from a murder victim? The aborted children are, after all, murder victims. Is getting a kidney or a heart from a police officer murdered in the line of duty a cooperation in her murder? I’m not seeing it.

    • That’s not quite the same thing, Michael. Even pro-abortion people are against murder of human beings once they’re born (most of them anyway). A person murdered whose organ is harvested was not part of a law and practice that specifically targets him as not being worth life to begin with. In other words he wasn’t viewed as a “clump of cells”. Before he was murdered, he wasn’t part of an endangered cohort such as is the unborn child, who may willfully be murdered if it’s deemed he is an inconvenience to the parents.

      • Again, I think where you draw the line on what is and isn’t murder and what the motivation for the murder might be are irrelevant to the question of the use of the body of the deceased. If the victim was murdered for hire (cf. Pope Francis’s “hit man”), for example, or the police officer were murdered by a member of a drug cartel, that victim would also have been the target of an illicit business that has no regard for human life except as a tool of the trade.

        • Don’t be stupid Michael, no one has the right to take a murder victims organs unless consent has been given by the victim or their family. What you can’t seem to grasp is the fact that the murder of unborn babies is legal by law, and we can have no part of it.

          • Fetal remains from abortions are used with the consent of the women concerned as a rule.

            If a person is executed by the state nad there organs are donated with their families consent is that acceptable to you?

            If it turned out the person was innocent of the crime they were executed for would that change things?

          • StephenE,

            The “women concerned” are giving away tissue from separate persons whose lives they have just cooperated in ending.

            That would be like getting permission from someone who has just stabbed someone to use the tissue of the murder victim. I’d say that murdering the victim terminates any rights one might have had.

            I’d guess that agreeing to turn the baby’s body over to science allows a woman to soothe her conscience by thinking, “See, I’m not a bad person, I’m trying to help someone else!”

            “If a person is executed by the state nad there organs are donated with their families consent is that acceptable to you?”

            Certainly. The family did not kill him.

            “If it turned out the person was innocent of the crime they were executed for would that change things?”

            No; because at the time he was executed it was believed that he was guilty, and the actions were taken in good faith. Unlike abortion, when it is clear that the baby is utterly innocent.

    • Considering that organ donations are open to extremely questionable methodologies, such as China harvesting from live prisoners (and not using anesthesia) and then leaving them to die, and many U.S hospitals using the arbitrary definition of “brain death” to pronounce a person dead when he is still breathing and has a heartbeat, I would turn that statement around and say that participating in organ donation/harvesting is potentially as unethical as using the body parts of innocent abortion victims. Also, even though “only one” child might be listed as donating to a cell line, it takes dozens, if not hundreds of aborted children to come up with a single, usable cell line for these vaccines. But even one child being killed for my/your benefit would be a grave sin. And finally, you can add in the fact that satanists routinely offer the death of aborted children as a kind of inverted sacrament/sacrifice to the evil one, and now your vaccines may potentially contain a curse that passes to each recipient. See Fr. Ripperger’s videos and writings about this. All for a virus with a 99.5% chance of recovery. Neither children nor adults should be literal “human resources” to provide health benefits to others. Human life is sacred, period.

      • I fully agree with you, the whole medical establishment has been taken over by the devil. I can’t see the problem with using adult stem cells, but the devil worshippers controlling medicine these days love to offer child sacrifices. All vaccines are evil, even without the use of aborted baby cells, vaccines have a list of deadly ingredients in them. Many of the deceases these days actually come from vaccines, the vaccines for Polio and Small Pox actually created the AIDS decease, the MMR vaccine causes Autism etc. They put neurotoxins in everything these days.

        • @EskimoMan, some things to note:

          1. The Polio vaccine (Or “OPV”) and the Smallpox vaccine (Or VarV) have no link to HIV/AIDS.

          2. The MMR Vaccine (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) has no link to Autism. Autism is due to a hereditary inheritance of a genetic mutation (or genetic syndrome) that leads to the development of the mental disease.

          3. If you/people were injected with neurotoxins, we would see the large majority of the population develop neurological deficiencies at young ages. In fact, injecting young children (6 months-10 years) with neurotoxins would kill them. A side note: what would be the benefit/reasoning behind injecting the population with neurotoxins?

          4. I believe you mean to say “diseases” instead of “deceases”.

          5. The reason adult stem cells are not used are because adults have very little stem cells. Since their tissue and bone are finished growing, the body cuts back almost completely on producing them. Yet with children and newborns, their bodies contain multitudes more stem cells than adults to aid the body in growing. This is why children and teens can heal significantly faster than adults, because younger people have (and produce) more stem cells.

          PS – @EskimoMan Could you direct me to the source you used to make your claims?

      • “But even one child being killed for my/your benefit would be a grave sin. ”

        Well you can be happy then that the cell lines came from abortions that weren’t carryed out for your benefit.
        They were carried out for reasons the Women concerned felt were sufficient as related for thm but you can feel safe they were doing iot to provide cell lines for vacines or anything else.

        If you object to vaccines because something in their testing or cration is linked to an act that you consider immoral then then you better go off and live for a short time in the wilds without any equipment before your death (I would recommend suicide but I know it’s a sin for you).
        It’s almost guaranteed that everything you use in modern life has immoral actions involved with it’s development at some point.
        The Roman Catholic Church has immoral acts threaded throughout it’s history, acts that are inbtergral to what it is, including the good things it has done (and I’m not a fan of the Church).

        This rending of garments about the Covid Vaccines is simply virtue signaling mixed with anti-vaxing.

        • Spell much? You should check your spelling before posting. Granted I’m a bit finicky on this subject but whatever point you are trying to make is lost.

        • Hmmmm. And what is your reason for so vehemently supporting abortion, I wonder. Did you urge someone to get one, or put someone into a position that she felt she had to?

          “They were carried out for reasons the Women concerned felt were sufficient as related for thm”

          I’d say that every murderer kills the victim for reasons he felt were sufficient as related for him (or them, or whatever it was you were trying to type).

        • @StephenE well said. I would like to point out that the phrase

          “But even one child being killed for my/your benefit would be a grave sin. ”

          is not exactly true. If a life was given up in 1970 which directly resulted in saving millions of lives in the the future, is that wrong? Is that not similar to Jesus dying to save humanity? It seems that by supporting the quote above you are in favor of preventing the loss of one life, even if it directly results in the loss of millions.

          Additionally, to those who would seem adamant to comment about @StephenE’s grammar or make baseless comments about their personal life: A bit childish, no?

    • Michael, if organ donations were enabled by homicides in a similar way that pharmaceutical & food industry research has been enabled by feticides then there would indeed be a moral issue.

    • Good point! I had to think about that one..
      Here’s what I came up with.. Murder is a crime, and the idea is the murderer is caught and prosecuted, so justice is ‘satisfied’, so to speak. But since abortion is legal, there is never any justice for this. So to exploit them AGAIN, by using their bodies for science, is egregious..wicked. My take. God bless us all.

    • Vaccines associated with aborted fetal stem lines, even in testing, are not an option for me. In my own mind this encourages more abortions by making the use of aborted fetal cell lines acceptable. Avoiding abortions is important because at conception I see an eternal individual capable of union with God.

      Using these vaccines is like buying stolen goods from a fence – you can say that the fence did not steal the goods but buying from the fence encourages more stealing! I have heard the argument that compares the use of aborted fetal cell lines to organ donations; however, that is like saying buying goods donated to Good Will is the same as buying stolen goods from a fence. In the case of the vaccines, what is stolen is a life.

      Not taking the vaccine poses risks to me, a seventy-year-old asthmatic, others, and my family, but I believe in a God who does not condone doing evil for a greater good. If my trust in God results in a cross, so be it. I trust God will draw some good out of it. I will not deny God because the lions may eat me and my family. With God’s grace, I will not take medicine associated with abortions. As my health proxy states’ “At no time, for any reason, should I receive medications whose development, production or testing was based on aborted fetal cells or their stem cell line.”

    • “But as for you, you meant evil against me (as an aborted baby; but God meant it for good (used for vaccines to stop this deadly virus, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.If they can’t live with themselves from benefiting from a cell line derived in the 70’s, then they need to not take the vaccine (or pretty much EVERY medicine because researchers almost always test drugs on 293T cells).

      • I’m wondering about the extent of fetal cell line testing in pharmaceutical production. I imagine its widespread and it’s also utilized by the food industry.
        It would be helpful to have more detailed information about that but I for one am definitely taking a pass on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

      • Perhaps. And everybody who has the attitude that, oh, well, at least we’re doing something useful with the cells of aborted babies, is encouraging the pharmaceutical companies (and, as Mrs. Cracker says, the food idustry) to keep on using them and to find more of them.

        The researchers should find cell lines to test that don’t use cells fro aborted babies.

    • The murdered policeman had freely and voluntarily agreed to DONATE his organs to people who need them in the relatively unlikely event of his early death. The abortionists kill a massive proportion of children (abortions even outnumber births in some countries), they SELL the fetal tissues at a profit to finance even more abortions, and the murdered child has no say in the matter.

    • You should not be receiving an organ without the permission of the donor.
      You PROABABLY should not be receiving a heart transplant because vital organ transplant is not an ethical practice either. Because the donors are not really dead. This is an effect of the “brain death” theory of death that was adopted in the same way by Pontifical Academies, at the beginning of their moral decline. The very seminal article on “brain death” in JAMA states in the first paragraphs “We need a new definition of death because…organ transplants.” (and excessive prolongation of life by machines). It does not get more utilitarian than that. The pontifical academies used to debate the theory of brain death but then suppressed the traditional view, that death was cessation of heart activity. They stopped publishing the relevant opinions during this period of decline.

      • Amen, regarding the utilitarian idea of “brain death” especially considering as I understand it, the “test” for “brain death” can in itself cause it to occur!

    • We … taxpayers … are sanctioning the murders (abortions) by paying for them … we … taxpayers … are not sanctioning the murders (police officers) because we are not paying for them … big difference

    • I am greatly saddened that it was so difficult to discover the gender of the electively aborted child, whose kidney cells were responsible for the creation of the HEK293 cell line. Apparently a female gender was suggested due to the fact that there were multiple X chromosomes and a lack of any traces of Y chromosomes. I was unable to find the gender in the available notes of the doctor who first dissected the child.

      That child has a name. She is somebody, who was created in God’s image. This is a matter of human dignity: it goes beyond the issue of good coming out of great evil. God has His own justice. We are not omniscient and are, therefore, in no position to decide with any certainty that a particular end justifies the means. Having stated that, I also feel that we cannot fully understand people’s individual circumstances and their ability to abstain and for how long. God have mercy on us.

    • Generally, there is something in that persons record, on their license, etc or a loved one that approves to let an organ be donated. Very, very different. In the name of science 2nd and 3rd trimester babies are kept alive outside the mother until the “harvesters” come to gather their parts one by one. Lots of politicians, scientists and so called philanthropists making millions by lobbying for legal abortion right up to the time of birth. Its one thing for an adult or parent to offer themselves or their child for genetic research after death and quite another to legitimize the murder of the innocent pre born in the name of science.

    • Very different. Murder victims can carry organ donor documentation. That or their mother, father, spouse can make the donor decision for the victim knowing their wishes. Murder victims cannot have organs donated for use unless either they or a close family member opts for it. Your logic dictates the state has this power which it has not the power. To my knowledge, no person has ever asked a murdered baby prior to it’s murder if it wanted to become a donor. Asking the mother or father of an aborted baby, well, do we ask a cop killer if we can harvest his victim’s organs? I think not.

    • Well, simply put, the adult murder victim would have had to, while alive, *consent* to his or her organs being used for transplant after death. Think of the draconian, nonconsensual, organ harvesting occurring in other nations. Unborn children have no opportunity to consent to the harvesting of their cell lines following their murders. We have no logical moral ground to stand on if, while crying out against the evil of abortion, we agree to benefit from the murder of these same innocent children. Thank you for this excellent article which so masterfully articulates many of my beliefs regarding the difficult-to-reconcile Church guidance on this issue.

    • I direct your attention to the fact that these babies were killed INTENTIONALLY for the purpose of extracting tzheir organs and cells. What is more, they were dissected LIVE for better quality and condition cells from organs. These cell lines WERE derived by sinning against those forced-aborted individuals and against humanity… See for details LifeSite News website compilations on abortion tainted vaccines:

    • Even if this happens, murder is universally accepted and understood as evil. Murderers, if found, are prosecuted. No one is confused about that. The use of organs from murder victims (if this actually happens) is not an argument for the legalization of murder.
      The opposite is true concerning the use of aborted fetal remains.

  4. In another article in CWR today we see that the diocese of New Orleans says that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is morally compromised so don’t take it, whereas Bishop McElroy says take any of the vaccines. The bishop of Detroit says that beginning the middle of March it is now mandatory under pain of sin to attend Sunday Mass, but in adjoining diocese it is not. All of these contradictory statements are going to cause the typical Catholic to ignore any moral advice from the bishops, which is unfortunate since there are a few that we should listen to.
    In this article we are told that we can take these compromised vaccines as long as we voice opposition to them. Is it OK then to vote for a pro-abortion politician as long as we voice opposition to his pro-abortion stance?
    In terms of it being somewhat contradictory to refuse the abortion tainted covid vaccine, while taking other medicines that are abortion tainted, I think of the phrase that “no one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

    • Some cohesive direction from our bishops would be appreciated for sure. I’m thankful for those who have done their best to take a moral stand even if it’s decades late. But better late than never.

  5. Mrs. Trasconas, I would not attempt to “debate” or dismiss your clear and heartfelt discussion of this issue of moral certitude. This matter is for each of us in our own conscience to decide and as strongly opposed to abortion and its “offshoots” as I am, I have felt it necessary to receive the vaccine. Question? Where and when do morality and ethics cross the line? My wife has significant underlying conditions, she will not take the vaccine as she does not believe it has been proven safe; I on the other hand am the care-giver, the shopper, the one who goes out in public to do what is needed for her, for us. I wear my mask, use sanitizer avoid groups, distance and do all those “right” things; I know that the vaccine protects me from serious illness it does not prevent the virus, however, I also know that if I contract it that may give my wife a death sentence. So, what is the moral imperative in your thinking? Is it doing everything possible to keep me healthy to do my best to keep my wife healthy? or, is it your opinion that my Pro-Life life is “not so pro-life” because I chose to be vaccinated? Life is God given I can decide not to take the vaccine, become ill, pass it to my wife and one or both of us dies.. wonder what God will say when we come to judgement.. Will I be condemned for taking the vaccine or for giving my wife the disease that kills her? Just wondering how that all fits with being Pro-Life, being moral, ethical and keeping God’s Word? I don’t have the answer(s), it seems you do…

    • Dear Mr. Ciembronowicsz,

      You are doing what you judge best, with all the best intentions for your wife. It’s not your fault that you did not have an ethically irreproachable vaccine available. That is what my article deals with — how to work for better options down the road.

      • Dear Mrs. Trasancos,
        Regarding “an ethically irreproachable vaccine”. Is it possible to ethically develop a HEK-293 like stem cell line ? For example, from a pregnant Mother and Child who died in a car accident.

        • Rob,
          You didn’t ask me but I believe for the “immortal ” fetal cell line the tissue has to be taken while the child is either still living or very shortly after demise.
          And most likely in a preplanned scenario.
          Accident victims or miscarried children don’t provide ideal tissue specimens because of the lapse of time.

          • I had read that a lot of the things for which they were using embryonic fetal stem cells can use tissue from umbilical cords, or from fat cells of adults, instead.

            I wonder if those same non-abortion-involved sources can be used to make immortal cells. I, personally, would be delighted to donate fat cells. Lots of them.

        • I read that in August 2001, President Bush prohibited the federal funding of any research using stem cell lines derived after August 9, 2001, but his policy does not affect research in the private sector or research conducted with state funding. Five years later, on July 19, 2006, the president vetoed legislation that would have made it possible
          for federally funded research to be conducted with newer hES cell lines.

          If this is true and still holds, entities who wish to coordinate with the US government would most likely avoid new fetal cells even if they became available through events such as car accidents or miscarriages.

    • We don’t need vaccines to survive, and you are stupid for trusting in the world over trusting in God. There is no pandemic, there is a recovery rate of 99.6-8% for Coronavirus, and it is the antichrist’s who are in control of our governments, media, and hospitals.

      • Ignoring your ignorant and conspiracy addled words, your comment is horrifically lacking in charity. I suggest you delete it and apologize.

  6. This was a very strong argument against my getting the Coved vaccine! If Catholics can’t stand up for truth in the beginning of
    The persecution than our souls are truly in grave

  7. Other issues: the vaccines do not provide immunity, appear to make a lot of people seriously ill, and may cause infertility. Even if one did NOT have moral qualms – and I certainly do – there are plenty of reasons to refuse the vaccines.

    • The manufacturers of the “vaccine” say that the shot does not garantee that you will not get covid, only that you may get a less serious case, and can still spread it to your wife. I see no reason for this “vaccine”.

    • I agree with you 1000%. The morality alone gives me pause to take the vaccine, and then you add the ‘rush’ to deliver a ‘vaccine’ that was developed in 9 months? It takes years to develop a safe effective vaccine and before now they have never been able to develop one that was safe and effective for any one of the coronaviruses. Now they have one developed in 9 months? The drug companies themselves have stated that even with the vaccine the virus can be transmitted and can’t ‘guarantee’ its safety. They claim that if you do contract Covid it won’t be as ‘severe’.

      But the real rub is this: They are pushing and shoving the vaccine down humanity’s throats when there are several proven effective and safe TREATMENTS for the virus. Dr. Fauci himself said in 2005 that hydroxychloroquine was a very effective and very safe treatment for any one of the coronaviruses. Ha! And then when President Trump promotes it they ban it from being distributed? Hydroxychloroquine has been around for more than 60 years, and used widely with safe effective results for other conditions as well including Lupus. But……it’s DIRT CHEAP. I think that says it all. As for me and mine we will NOT take ANY of the vaccines available regardless of their heavy handed tactics. Over my cold dead body will they inject me with an unknown ’emergency’ vaccine, all derivatives from aborted fetus cells. This heavy handed push to vaccinate everyone reminds of the saying: “We’re the government and we’re here to help.”

  8. Getting rather weary of “died from Covid-19” numbers, particularly as such deaths are largely among the frail and aged with underlying health issues. Covid-19 just seems a convenient box to tick for lazy health practitioners and governments determined to maintain the fear factor in curbing social contact.
    Government action is responsible for socio-economic problems not the virus.
    Governments, big pharmaceutical companies and mega rich influencers are promoting vaccination as a sunny road back to ‘normality’.
    People have a right to know what exactly is being injected into their bodies and decide whether that ‘normality’ is an ethical cost worth paying.

  9. The problem with remote cooperation in evil, as Dr. Smith points out, is that it only considers the past. Scandal deals with how our choices influence the future. but it has hardly been part of the conversation. For these reasons, I suggest that consideration of the risk of scandal be re-inserted in our moral calculus in the fight for human dignity. I think it is time to get beyond vaccines (Tracy Trasancos). A lovely lady and we need more like her. Although the sad reality is let’s look at reality. “Think about the items in your house for a moment. Do you have coffee creamer in the fridge? Mouthwash or anti-aging cream on the bathroom counter? Spices in your kitchen cabinet? How about a bandage on your arm from a recent vaccine, or prescription drugs? If you answered yes to any of these questions, there’s a chance that you have a product that was made using human fetal cells. While it’s not a universal practice, certain brands in the cosmetics, food, and medical industries use fetal cells for a variety of purposes, from testing and production to inclusion in the final product. Fetal cells have been used for research since the 1930s. In order to obtain these cells, an aborted fetus is collected after their death, usually by a biotechnology company, university, or medical center. A tissue donation is removed, and the sample is brought to a lab, where the cells are replicated extensively” (Stephanie Hauer Rehumanize International 2020). Realistically, we would have to pull up stakes, move into some remote place where we can grow our food, fish, hunt, live like those who choose Life Below Zero. A beautiful challenging life that most can’t do. I have exceptional Internet friends like Rod Halvorsen that can. What does it really mean for the bulk of us. We either compromise in accord to Church teaching on remote material cooperation in evil or we head for the boondocks. Does Our Lord expect that? Some good compatriots also argue the deficiency of the vaccine. That’s begging the issue at hand. It’s proven despite counter argument the Covid 19 virus is not simply deadly for the physically compromised. It has permanent deleterious effect on the entire system. Would God insist we forego the vaccine on heroic moral grounds? Perhaps so. I don’t pretend to know the answer. What I do know is that the provision of remote material cooperation is consistent in this world with reasonable moral liceity. Should Stacy however start a world movement to desist use of stem cell tainted products I would join her.

    • Effect of Covid 19 on healthy extremely well fit men. “The Associated Press. Heart inflammation is uncommon in pro athletes who’ve had mostly mild Covid-19 and most don’t need to be sidelined, a study conducted by major professional sports leagues suggests. The results are not definitive, outside experts say, and more independent research is needed. But the study published Thursday in JAMA Cardiology is the largest to examine the potential problem. The coronavirus can cause inflammation in many organs, including the heart”. A reason to consider for relatively healthy younger men with families. It seems to me the Church in the main is proposing the right policy.

    • Father Morello: Is that your position on all contemporary issues when Catholic teaching and society’s practice conflict? That because everything may be tainted then we are not morally responsible for any benefit we gain, even where we have very good knowledge about the gravely sinful origin? I would argue exactly the opposite: I am not culpable in situations where I am ignorant, through no fault of my own, of the immoral origins of some product or service I use to maintain my life, health, etc. However, when I do gain knowledge about those immoral origins, then I do become culpable by using it. No amount of statements from the Vatican and bishops changes that. I have two questions: 1) why does the study of bioethics focus so much on accommodating the wrong being done in medical research? and, 2) what if there is no way to develop an “ethical” vaccine for COVID or anything else? I ask these questions because I think there are too many people who think that all illness and suffering must be addressed by medical treatments. And that the alleviation of illness and suffering are sufficient to overcome the moral gravity of benefiting from medical treatment. I think they are wrong.

      • Laurie compromise on what’s directly reprehensible, examples sexual promiscuity, deviant behavior, abortion, false witness, calumny aimed at destroying a person’s reputation and the like is seriously sinful and never acceptable. That’s clear. If you’ve read my frequent comments you should agree that’s my position. As to the first question, this exceptional instance of a dangerous, deadly, debilitating global disease, the option to take the vaccine is of course a bioethical question. It’s found to be morally correct because cooperation in taking a med using cell lines that go back decades is remote cooperation. The Church did not choose or permit the use of stem cells from aborted infants. Quite to the contrary it’s always been strongly opposed. Whether it were not possible to develop vaccines without aborted stem cells is a hypothetical. In any instance it is condemnable, like so much that occurs in politics, in the judicial system, in the workplace. Insofar as not finding it necessary to treat all illness with medication I fully agree. We can ride this disease out without the vaccine, although the cost in lives would conceivably be great, repercussions unknown. And it’s our option and ours alone. There are instances in this life when the right to life and freedom, and to preserve life itself, our concern for the lives of others requires we make decisions that are not exactly black and white, that are not entirely perfect. Some of our best moral theologians and ethicists agree. Your belief that we’re morally culpable for using the vaccine under current conditions is incorrect. The reason as said is remote cooperation in a world when so much of what we need for ordinary life needs is in some way morally compromised. Here the stakes have a presumptive universal liability. Serving in the military, I had to take the risk of injury and death to others. It’s not what I wished, it’s what was reasonably required. We mustn’t hold all persons involved in complex matters morally culpable. Otherwise, I admire your sentiments and your decision to decline the vaccine.

        • Father, Biblical or theologically speaking Joseph is recorded in Genesis 50:20 as saying to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God used it for good.” … So many times, things come against us that seem evil- sometimes they are evil- and God is able to use them for good anyway. Thus, could the use of aborted fetus’ cell line from the 50’s being used today against the Corvid virus be applied?

          • God has used evil in the past for a good. An example the conquest of the Jewish Nation by Nebuchadnezzar and the exile, the persecution of Jews by Pharaoh, even God ‘hardening’ Pharaoh’s heart to structure a narrative of deliverance. Although, with the fetal cell lines and vaccine availability I wouldn’t hold that God intervened as above or permitted it for a good end. For Catholics it’s a passively given opportunity to protect against the virus. God who wills good never evil would have preferred development of a vaccine like the newly developed Novavax, that is highly effective and doesn’t use fetal cell lines. My opinion then is that he would not have ‘permitted’ the stem cell vaccines with a providential purpose as with the above examples. God on the other hand would permit us to use the Moderna, Pfizer vaccines as the only available antidote during this serious emergency.

          • Rev Chopp it also says in sacred scripture that God brings all things to some good end. We can’t assume precisely what that end is with the vaccines although your thought seems feasible [to the limited human mind]. I usually add when faced with plumbing God’s designs, Who knows the mind of God?

          • I hate to give more bad news, but I called Novavax on my phone and a representative was very explicit about their use of fetal stem cell lines in their testing phases. She explained to me that those cell lines were thousands of generations removed from the original aborted fetus.

            In addition to my personal phone call, the Charlotte Lozier Institute also states that Novavax uses Pseudovirus HEK293 cells in some of the testing phases.


            The good news is that there are completed vaccines that are not tainted, such as the German CureVac COVID-19 Vaccine! I have concatenated them for additional confirmation, and will post if/when I hear back.

      • Thank you Lauri. I have been reading for hours a day, for months, about the vaccine. Your comment is very helpful to me. I am in agreement with you.

      • Lauri, there is an Am Pharmaceutical Novavax, co headquartered Gaithersburg MD that’s developed a very successful Covid 19 vaccine 90% effective including a high ration of effectiveness for the new SA Covid strain, that’s protein based and doesn’t use stem cell lines now in end stage trial. “In the South Africa Phase 2b clinical trial, 60% efficacy (95% CI: 19.9 – 80.1) for the prevention of mild, moderate and severe COVID-19 disease was observed in the 94% of the study population that was HIV-negative. Twenty-nine cases were observed in the placebo group and 15 in the vaccine group. One severe case occurred in the placebo group and all other cases were mild or moderate. The clinical trial also achieved its primary efficacy endpoint in the overall trial population, including HIV-positive and HIV-negative subjects [efficacy of 49.4%; 95% CI: 6.1 – 72.8] (Novavax) .

  10. Imagine taking a fake “vaccine “from the depopulation cartel for a WUHANVIRUS made in a lab to usher in the diabolical Great Reset that has a Recovery rate over 99% ?!?!

  11. Mr. Timothy J. Williams

    **1. No single vaccine grants immunity. Not the flu vaccine. Not the shingles vaccine. Not DPT. None of them.

    Vaccines, all vaccines, do two things. 1) Make one less likely to get the virus. In the case of the Covid vaccines, a lot less likely. And 2) Protects against the severity of the virus if one does get it.

    **2. A “lot” of people do not get seriously ill. A small fraction of those vaccinated experience reactions that last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. A miniscule number of people have more severe reactions, which is true of all things medical including everyday procedures like colonoscopies, and root canals.

    **3. The covid vaccine does NOT affect fertility.

    But, don’t believe me. Google it yourself. There are plenty of solid sources from which to verify this; Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago medical school, University of Florida Teaching Hospital, etc.

    Use a moral excuse to not get vaccinated. I understand that whether I agree or not. But a scientific reason? I don’t think a valid one exists.

    • Just to expand on the Covid data. The state of Arizona does a nice job of providing easy to read statistics. Based on the data from Arizona the following 2 summary data points are provided: 75% of deaths are in the 65 and plus age brackets, but they have about 20% of the Covid reported cases. So it is clear Covid is a killer for old and those with other health issues. Most havde probably heard info like this. However those 2 simple facts make it clear for healthy and younger the impact of Covid is not life threatening.

      So the younger folks priority it to help gramma and granpa navigate the system so they can get the vaccine. After that the young and healthy need to weigh the cost/benefits (potential negative long term effects of the vaccine, versus the protection it provides). Hopefully herd immunity or something close to that is around the corner. For those that like data and want to track the path to herd immunity suggest visiting the site COVID19-projections.

      • I’ve been seeing stories that there’s a correlation between the countries with highest death rates and countries with the most obesity, too.

        • I could tell from the video presentation a few weeks back that you’d land here. The senomyx model really does apply here. The scandal seems that this was soft walled by the Church to keep heat of of Former President Trump taking the Regeneron cocktail and funding Moderna. Now that the election is done the Church can be more vocal. Horrible trade off.

          It is merely a matter of approving and even more controversial vaccine to get the Vatican to say j&j is a betrayal option.

          • Are you answering me here? Because I don’t see the connection, and I don’t know what video presentation you mean.

      • COVID is only a killer if the patient is denied effective treatments, which are hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, with zinc along with an antibiotic, and budesonide. Unfortunately, that denial is the rule, not the exception. There is no systemic racism, but there definitely is systemic malpractice, to put the most charitable face upon it.

    • Eskimo Man

      526,000 dead (so far) seem to disagree with you.

      I deal in facts from the best science known to date. You deal in opinions.

      And, I agree with Roberta; name calling is not necessary to make your point. Logic and references to source material, though, are appreciated.

  12. Part of this argument resembles that against rape incest exceptions to abortion, which by their very approval sap the intellectual credibility of the arguer. Hence a key to understanding to why the most prolife president ever is still abraham lincoln. Created equal 2026.

  13. Thank you for this excellent article. We spend so much time worrying about just how much we can compromise before we are guilty of sin. When the Son of Man returns will he find faith on the earth? Is Jesus really in the tabernacles of the Catholic Church? Do we really receive Him body, blood, soul and divinity in the Most Blessed Sacrament? IMO we’ve divorced faith from our daily life and run to the “miracles” of modern medicine. It’s not easy taking a stand but it is necessary.

  14. This seems like a problem with no solution. If the vaccine can prevent potentially MILLIONS of deaths, is it automatically bad to use it? Right now, abortion is legal in the US. Refusing the vaccine will not stop that reality.Abortion will continue. Part of this issue is too many catholics do not know the truth. Right now the Thomas More Society of lawyers is trying to defend the undercover videographer who was arrested for filming planned parenthood doctors talking about selling baby body parts. The judge seems less than impartial and has been demanding large sums of money in fines to be paid up front when they are normally paid when all appeals end, and other decisions of that nature. Release of Daleiden’s video has been banned by the judge. They are struggling to defend this man.If you want more Catholics and others to be informed about what really happens after and abortion, this news must be publicized, and this videographer David Daleidene.He must be defended. Consider a donation. Here is the link:


    There are many ways to make a difference. Do it.

  15. Thanks for this article Dr. T. and for the quite interesting and intelligent discussion which it has generated (rather unusual for combox stuff). You have focused attention on a very important aspect of the whole situation. One thing I would add is that the most important thing we can do, regardless of where one comes down on the present use of these vaccines, is always to uphold the reality that it was a child who was deprived of life involved. The child now in heaven looking down on us may herself approve of innocent people accepting the vaccinations, and we should let no one get by without acknowledging she lived and still lives in heaven. I am concerned as you are by how this allowance to receive the vaccines affects how we all think about other similar situations. I can tell by questions others have asked me, people who are not normally focused on such matters, about why this doesn’t violate the principle of “ends not justifying means”. It seems unclear to them what the difference is here – most people don’t make the distinctions about “licit, passive, remote, mediate cooperation” when they size actions up in their everyday lives. The common man needs simpler standards.

  16. The Catholic Church should offer a financial reward to the company that develops the vaccine, and other treatments, without the use of aborted-related cells. The Church should also agree to promote the treatments that the company develops. Meanwhile, I would like to know why cells from aborted babies are more useful than stem cells from non-aborted people.

    • The Secretariat for the Economy released a 2021 budget for the Holy See March 12, showing a projected deficit of nearly $60 million.

      We can give our pennies and encourage wealthy Christians and civil leaders to support institutions that work on ethical medicine such as the John Paul II Medical Research Institute. They are pretty small right now, but maybe someday they will give us more hope. (And no, I don’t work for them.)


      Perhaps we won’t have to move to the wilds. We don’t have to let despair incapacitate us or make us indifferent. The average consumer has an untapped, lucrative power. We can make ethical medicine happen, eventually.

      Please don’t give up, even if you end up accepting some unethical products such as one of the currently available vaccines. We are in Lent right now. What a wonderful opportunity for us to give up any disordered affections and take time to make a difference, each in our own way, perhaps our little way, as St. Therese did. We should not vilify people for their choices or add to their anxiety. It is a sacrifice either way. We must love and help each other. This site alone is a blessed way for us to share information, truths and what may be possible. We can dare to hope not despair. God Bless all of you. You are all in my prayers!

  17. I’m willing to give up almost all of the benefits of modern medicine because the scientists and doctors can no longer be trusted in any meaningful sense. Science and medicine have become politicized and everything is spun, twisted, or perverted in some way. Besides that, hopefully, we are but sojourners on the way to the place where our true citizenship lies: heaven. We shouldn’t be fearing death as much as we do– or do we not expect to go to heaven?

    In any case, as I observed elsewhere, morality is a rather low standard. Any number of acts may be moral but not the best thing to do at any given moment. Taking ethically-tainted vaccines may be moral but far from the best choice– which is what we should be striving to make. We should be considering effective witness as well as bare-bones minimalist morality.

  18. Want other options than the abortion tainted products? It is actually quite simple.
    Stop.buying.abortion.tainted.products. Buy non-abortion-tainted products.
    It is that simple.
    Neither the pharmaceutical companies nor your pediatrician care about your morality, your tears, or your heartbreak. And your objection letters go straight to into the “circular file.”
    They care about your money and how to get you to part with it. And pro-lifers have shown time and again they are willing to part with their dollars just like everyone else.
    Stop using abortion tainted products. Oh! But I can’t get my child into Catholic school because they require it. Ok, well, I guess you will have to homeschool. (I suggest you cut your parish/diocesan giving until they rescind their vaccination policy–be sure to explain why to your pastor and bishop why you stopped donating). But my child can’t play his sport or go to his camp without ______ vaccine. That is sad, but I guess he will have to take up a new hobby. But the State requires it! So go to jail. Or start a lawsuit. Probably both at this point because the acceptance of these products is ubiquitous–even among pro-lifers.
    Public school was mandated in all 50 States at one point. Now there are various levels of the freedom to homeschool–some States are low-regulatory states (Michigan), some relatively high (California, I believe). They became that way because people refused to send their children to public school, banded together, resisted authorities, risked fines, did jail time, and filed lawsuits. Lots of lawsuits. Lots of court cases. Day in, day out. For years.
    The longer the pro-life/Catholic community benefits from abortion-tainted products, the longer and harder the fight to end the practice.

  19. Yes. It is hard and it is time – “modern” medicine has come and gone. We’re back to child sacrifice to propitiate the “Gods”. Their names are now Gates, Bezos, Jinping.

  20. I find with some amusement that Carl Olson has repeatedly called my comments on this site ’embarrassing’ but the editors freely let some of this other rambling, conspiratorial, and in some cases dangerous thinking cloud the readers’ heads!

    Fr. Peter brings up a good point, I think, about the reality of living in proximity to evil. Catholics here will put up with a lot of evil (towards the poor, towards the third world, towards other people) except when a sneaky lobby puts the ‘A’ word into the conversation.

    • As one who works daily with the poor, I can tell you that unborn children ARE the poor. It always amazes me how some Catholics easily restrict their view of help to the poor when a sneaky lobby removes the UC from the conversation. Perhaps an actual conversation with a poor, minority woman might help educate?

  21. The question is, how do we go about changing this? The fact is that the cell lines in existence are easy to access and are good for the purposes for which they are being used in R&D. Additionally, it’s expensive to get new lines approved (and they may or may not be usable). How do we get together and encourage companies to make changes when they little financial incentive to do so?

    How to we translate this to policy? Do we contact our representatives and senators and request they provide some type of incentive for the developement and use of ethical cell lines? (This would also involve the usage of the HeLa line, as it was gathered unethically). I understand your argument and I want to do my part, but how do we go about it? That’s the question we need to answer. So that we can actually put something into action and get somewhere.

    Nothing will change unless we have a concrete way to translate this to policy and have a collective movement to do so. I’ve not seen any leadership/ guidance in the Church on how to accomplish this. I’d get behind a plan and any movement that provides guidance on getting ethical lines established but doesn’t involve risking public health by encouraging others to not vaccinate.

    • Amori we already have a vaccine in end stage development that doesn’t use stem cells. “GAITHERSBURG, Md., Jan. 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq: NVAX), a biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, today announced that NVX-CoV2373, its protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, met the primary endpoint, with a vaccine efficacy of 89.3%, in its Phase 3 clinical trial conducted in the United Kingdom (UK). The study assessed efficacy during a period with high transmission and with a new UK variant strain of the virus emerging and circulating widely. It was conducted in partnership with the UK Government’s Vaccines Taskforce. Novavax also announced successful results of its Phase 2b study conducted in South Africa” (Novavax).

      • Are you sure about Novavax, Father? See the March 3, 2021 updates on the vaccines listed on the Charlotte Lozier Institute website that provides a very informative chart with many if not all of the vaccines now in play across the globe. It appears that Novavax is very much like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in using HEK293 cells for testing.

        A possibly ideal candidate that is getting very close to distribution comes from CureVac (also listed on the Lozier website chart) that has main labs in Germany, but they also have a “branch” in Boston. No connection with aborted stem cells in all aspects of the development and testing makes this vaccine possibly a gold standard for Catholics and others with similar beliefs regarding the use of aborted fetal cells. According to reports I have read, the CureVac vaccine will be ready at some point in the second quarter of this year for initial distribution (CureVac recently linked up with Bayer to help speed up the process, and they are now in the final phase 3 prior to distribution), primarily in Europe, and then work its way into the US and elsewhere. Perhaps if it does turn out to be a solid vaccine, the good people of the Boston branch can help expedite its arrival into the US.

        • Thanks for the heads up DV I’ll check it out. Their website [Novavax] narrows the development down to protein and extraction from mosquitoes. In the back of my mind it seemed to good to be true because stem cell lines are used so universally and extensively.
          DV, I just checked Charlotte Lozier March 3.21 and Novavax is in process of their investigation. No confirmation of stem cell use to date. Meanwhile, I add tjhe following: Vivalis has granted Novavax the right to use its EB66® cell line for the production of VLP-based vaccines against several new potential viruses. The EB66 cell line is derived from duck embryonic stem cells. It displays long-term genetic stability and immortality and can grow in suspension up to high-cell densities in serum-free medium, according to Vivalis. Additionally, the cell line can be scaled up for growth in large bioreactors for industrial productions (Gen Engin & Biotech). While many COVID-19 vaccines are being developed with fetal cell lines, a number of promising vaccine candidates, such as those being developed by Novavax, Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Sinovac, are using ethically-derived cell lines (Pop Res Inst Chair Steven Mosher).

          • To clarify the Charlotte Lozier Inst has not confirmed Human fetal cell line use by Novavax to date. Note that Steven Mosher Pop Res Inst a strong opponent of fetal stem cell lines in vaccines has given Novavax his approval.

          • Thanks, Father, but it looks like you are giving a pass to Novavax on the testing that it does not merit. My reading of the Charlotte Lozier Institute chart places Novavax into the same category of Pfizer and Moderna as I originally pointed out. It does not use fetal stem cells in the production, but it does do so in some of the testing. Your initial claim about Novavax in writing to Amori is “we already have a vaccine in end stage development that doesn’t use stem cells.”

            Did I misread your statement or do you have other information that contradicts the Lozier Institute Chart? Prior to the updated chart, the January Chart also listed basically the same thing about the Novavax vaccine: No fetal stem cells in production, but fetal stem cells used in testing. Under the last section of the updated March 3, 2021 chart is the category labeled as Confirmatory Lab Testing, and it contains the green square and red triangle symbol which indicates that some of the testing of the vaccine use fetal stem cells and other tests do not. What is written in the box is the following:


            HEK293 cells
            Bangaru et al., Science, 27Nov2020
            Bangaru et al., Supplement
            Bangaru et al., bioRxiv preprint, 6Aug2020

            From the above, it still looks to me like Novavax is indeed very much like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines regarding the use of fetal stem cells in some of its tests.

            And once more, in terms of a promising vaccine with no connection to abortion whatsoever, check the CureVac one also previously mentioned by yours truly.

  22. As a Dutch catholic I’m very grateful to Mrs Tracancos for standing for the truth. In Europe we are lacking such courageous and outstanding people who dare to speak out. Our own cardinal Eijk, known of his orthodox defending of church teaching, declared himself immediately in accordance with the pro-vaccin line. As a former docter he should know better. Is there a way to inform our church leaders? Or are they silenced?

  23. To bring the endless VII debate into this again, is it yet another ramification for selling out to secularity that it never occurs to contemporary Catholics, including and especially our shepherds, when God might be offering us yet another powerful opportunity to give a witness for moral truth to the world? What if Catholics had given a strong unified voice throughout this “crisis,” if it is what global elitists claim it to be, that medical cures must be derived in a moral manner and that Catholics are willing to suffer, even die, rather than compromise. But I suppose I often live in world that are my dreams of hope whenever I expect Catholics to be Catholic

  24. You should not be receiving an organ without the permission of the donor.
    You PROBABLY should not be receiving a heart transplant because vital organ transplant is not an ethical practice either. Because the donors are not really dead. Bishop Vasa and others wrote a great article about this. Vital organ transplant is an effect of acceptance of the “brain death” theory of death that was adopted in the same way as the lax views on fetal products in vaccines, by Pontifical Academies, at the beginning of their moral decline. The very seminal article on “brain death” in Journal of the American Medical Association states in the first paragraphs “We need a new definition of death because…organ transplants.” (and excessive prolongation of life by machines). It does not get more utilitarian than that. The pontifical academies used to debate the theory of brain death, but then suppressed the traditional view, that death was cessation of heart activity. They stopped publishing the relevant opinions during this period of decline.
    So NO, don’t profit from immorally derived biological products or organs.

  25. Sorry, nobody knows about the effects on fertility. And will not know for at least a couple years. Even the manufacturers say that reproductive age women need to be cautious. Not take the vaccine if pregnant and within two months of trying to concerive. Just citing statements of “Soros” influenced universities is not proof. The ACADEMY is VERY corrupted right now.

  26. Objecting is fine and all, but without offering an alternative, you will fail. Fr Schneider points out a huge chunk of modern medicine has been developed using these cell lines. Has the pro life movement or the Catholic Church funded research that is equally beneficial using standards it deems moral?

    It’s one thing to object and make noise. But if you have nothing productive to add, you will be ignored.

    • This is the same argument used to justify abortion. Pro-lifers should pay all future costs for having the child or butt out.

    • Yes.

      Pope Francis and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI have both received their second and final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, a Vatican source confirmed to CNA.

      Pope Francis and Benedict had received the first dose of the vaccine last month, as confirmed by Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, on Jan. 14.

      The Vatican began administering vaccinations against the coronavirus on Jan. 13.

      Vatican residents and employees and their families are receiving their doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine in the atrium of the Paul VI Hall.

  27. Thank you for your thoughtful article. The choices we face are difficult indeed. I cannot help but think that if Catholic Church leaders had protested from the start (when vaccines were being produced) and indicated that Catholics would not take any covid vaccine tainted with aborted cell lines, be that in “just” testing or more directly, that we in the U.S. may have had a different outcome. If the Lozier Institute table is to be believed, it appears that there are some vaccines available out of the U.S. such as the one in Germany that is not associated with any tainted aborted cell lines. If anything that this covid pandemic has done for me is open my eyes to medical research–how it’s conducted and how medicines & vaccines are produced. I was set to take the vaccine until I read the article from the Bishop in December. I understand the Church’s viewpoint but I cannot in my conscience condone it. Although I will not take the vaccine, I will do everything else in my power (and with God’s help) to not get infected.

  28. Since 1973 over 60 million abortions have occurred in the US involving a comparable number of women. Add to that number people closely associated with those women – her parents and siblings, close relatives and friends, and the essential men responsible for the pregnancy. This adds up to an enormous population of the country engaged in or faced with the moral status of abortion. It most certainly leads to some form of rationalization and defensiveness, if not empathy, including millions of Catholics. The evil of abortion is so pervasive in our culture that it is little wonder use of fetal cells and body parts in research and production of vaccines, and beyond, has few willing to challenge it. Apparently, PF1 and PB15 are not ready to stand in the way of vaccines alleged to stop the pandemic.

  29. A few comments may add to this important debate. These are the effects of technology, time, risks to others due to our choice, the Life Boat delima,and the law. We discuss homicide, not murder; one is killing the other is unlawful killing. We must discern the resulting differences between Cain killing with a rock, millennia ago, vs. the use of cells immorally taken 50 years ago vs permitting, or funding abortions next month. And as any combat commander knows, there are hard decisions on which innocents will die and how many more will live as a result. One key characteristic of this vaccine is that while it may protect me, it may not prevent me from infecting another weak, sickly person, the care giver delima. We live in an imperfect world where suffering and death are realities. These are issues worthy of prayer; the decisions are most difficult.
    After consideration, I took the Pfizer shots recently.

  30. If the bishops and Pope stated that Catholics could not morally receive the current vaccines, there would be a scandal. Catholics en masse would be seen as spreading, or at least cooperating in the spreading, of illness and death to unknown numbers of other people. In fact, that’s what they would be doing.

    On the individual level, the case is a little bit different. As an individual, I really don’t see how I can accept the death of an infant girl and use it to my advantage. I can’t. And so I must isolate myself from the rest of society … in case I might have this mysterious virus and in case I might pass it on to others. I don’t know how long this isolation should last, but I’m willing to endure it. In the meantime, however, I’m still benefiting from the aborted infant girl’s death as I wait for her cells to be distributed to others and bring about the herd immunity that will let me emerge from isolation.

    Even in this case, I have to hope that I don’t come down with the virus or any other illness that would force other people — medical workers — to interact with me and possibly catch the virus from that contact.

    Therefore, refusing to take the vaccine is not an ethically pure decision either.

    I’m 74 and in good health with a touch of asthma. I have a husband but no children or grandchildren who need me. I offered up some prayers for Little Girl HEK-293, asking that God in His mercy welcome her into his eternal kingdom. Then I received the first dose. I was surprised to feel a surge of joy during the process, seeing so many people in a large auditorium receiving the blessings of life. I hoped that Little Girl HEK-293 (and the others) might know know that their brief lives were not useless.

  31. The use of aborted children to make human medicine/vaccine in a high level of devil’s temptation to Catholic Faith. It is time the Church should stand against evil at whatever cost. A Catholic should be ready to die for the truth. What shall it take to gain the whole world at the cost of our souls. I believe that let people die for a good cause than commit such a great sin: Aborted souls will be appealing to God. Many people think that COVID-19 is part of the devil’s plan to destroy the Church. That is my prayer Catholic Church remains firm. It is the only institution that PROTECTS LIFE. I APPEAL TO CHURCH LEADERS NOT TO SUCCUMB TO DEVIL. WE SHALL BE CRUCIFYING JESUS AGAIN!

    • “It is time the Church should stand against evil at whatever cost. A Catholic should be ready to die for the truth. What shall it take to gain the whole world at the cost of our souls.”
      St. Thomas More did just that.

  32. Still, I don’t feel very good about getting this vaccine.

    Take away the distance in time and space … take away the global considerations … the question for me alone is simple.

    If the mother of HEK-293 came to me and offered to abort her infant and let it be killed and maimed in order that I would be protected against an illness that I might or might not get, and that might or might not kill me if I did get it, and that I might very well pass this illness on to someone else whom it would kill, could I accept this mother’s offer?

    No. Of course not.

    And yet I did.

    • How did you get along before Influenza? My healthy son was hours away from being killed by The Flu. Or any bacterial infection. MRSA is all over. You probably pass it along everyday just like we all do. Nursing home residents do die of the “common cold” everyday.

      How do you drive a car for that matter?
      Covid isn’t any different.

  33. Im not surprised Dr. Melissa Moschella at Catholic University of America has no problem with aborted fetal cells the University uses the HEK 293 in their research Preparation of a Bacteriophage T4-based Prokaryotic-eukaryotic Hybrid Viral Vector for Delivery of Large Cargos of Genes and Proteins into Human Cells (under Materials and Reagents >>>> 14. HEK293T cells (ATCC, catalog number: ACS-4500 ) ) https://bio-protocol.org/e3573
    Please help get the word out about prolife vaccine research
    JP2MRI Ethical and Cutting-Edge COVID-19 Vaccine Research
    This video describes the Institute’s COVID-19 vaccine research platform, timeline and funding requirements to complete the vaccine preclinical stages. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf1oSWnjf3ohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf1oSWnjf3o

  34. Amazingly, the local news had on it a brief story about the fact that cells derived from an aborted fetus was used in the development of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Wow, I thought. But it was only as an introduction to having the Bishop of Owensboro, Kentucky, who I am glad to say is not my bishop, to say it’s just fine to get the vaccine, and in fact it’s an act of charity.


    • And now my elderly mother, who has had the Pfizer one, is ellingme that she is really diappointed that I am not getting the vaccination, and that I am endangering her life.

  35. Back when the public schools in the U.S. were really Protestant schools, Catholics started their own school system to keep their kids from being taught anti-Catholic nonsense in school. I think we need to do something similar for these medical ethics problems, and stop relying on the Culture of Death to provide ethical alternatives.
    The John Paul II Medical Research Institute noted above is a nice start, but we need more, and we need STRONG MONETARY support from the Church. The bishops take up collections for lots of other causes, why can’t they do the same for ethical medical research? After all, if fighting abortion is really a “pre-eminent” issue, this would be a good way to demonstrate that. We can get notices into our parish bulletins about JPIIMRI individually, but the bishops can do it in EVERY parish.
    I’ve been giving money to JPIIMRI for several years, and increased it last year when I learned they were working on ethical COVID vaccines, but I think we need institutional support to raise the kind of money needed to make a real impact. Is there an orthodox Catholic university somewhere that does medical research that could be added to the mix?

  36. COVID Prevention Alternative to Vaccines

    Joel S. Hirschhorn

    The massive global effort to get COVID vaccines used plays on fears of getting the disease, despite the fact that they are experimental. Meaning that they have not gone through the rigorous, time-consuming and expensive randomized clinical trials that so many experts say is the gold standard for evaluating drugs. This absence was used by the government to condemn and block the use of generic medicines, namely hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. Vaccine testing and regulatory approval have been rushed. Missing from nearly all information reaching the public are some key facts.
    The vaccines still allow the virus to stay in the body and the virus can shed and pass on to others. In other words, the virus can stay alive in the community. Moreover, all kinds of ugly side effects can and do hit some vaccinated people. What vaccines are engineered to do is prevent serious disease impacts and death, but not truly and entirely keep the virus out of living in your body. In other words, unlike most older vaccines for other viral diseases, they do not actually kill the virus, but aim to kill the viral impacts.
    Vaccine advocates are selling serious COVID disease prevention. But is there another, very different prevention strategy? There is.
    As detailed in my recent book Pandemic Blunder, there are mountains of strong medical data showing that a number of cheap, safe, proven and effective medicines, vitamins and supplements have been used worldwide to stop COVID when the protocols are used very early. In a number of countries where they have been widely used COVID hospitalizations and death rates are markedly lower than in the US and other nations that have blocked their use. Overall, they have prevented from 70 to 80 percent of COVID deaths. The chief requirement is that they are used within days of getting symptoms or a positive test. Just as important, huge amounts of data show that these medical solutions also act as prophylactics, meaning prevention, to keep people healthy when they have not been infected by the virus.
    In other words, people have a right to choose between COVID vaccines and the multitude of protocols that have been classified as components for early home COVID treatment.
    This choice is all the more relevant when one acknowledges that a vast number of people do not need a vaccine to get COVID immunity. Why? Because large numbers of people have either natural immunity or immunity achieved because they have contracted COVID, but without serious impacts. Proof of non-vaccine immunity is everywhere, including children and elderly people in nursing homes who remained healthy unlike others living with them who were struck down and all too often died.
    Yes, there are some groups that have a good case for taking a vaccine. They include people like me who are elderly with serious underlying medical problems, and even younger people who also have serious medical conditions, including morbid obesity. I have taken the COVID vaccine because I am 81 with a very serious heart condition. But I still take twice a day one of those protocols with strong evidence for effectiveness: zinc, quercetin, vitamin D and vitamin C. Where people have access to hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, including some Americans who have doctors willing and able to prescribe them, they take regular doses for prevention, typically along with zinc and vitamins D and C.
    It all comes down to science-based choice on how to best stay safe in this pandemic. Even if they do not follow the data, it seems like the roughly 40 to 50 percent of Americans who do not want to take the vaccine have seen first hand that vaccines are not the only path to stay safe from COVID.
    The push for vaccines is also linked to many politicians arguing to maintain discredited contagion controls (such as masking, school closings, and lockdowns) until everyone gets vaccinated. This thinking has nothing to do with the widely opined “follow the science” and much more to do with maintaining public fear and political power. And never forget the wisdom of “follow the money.” The push for COVID vaccines has everything to do with drug companies making many billions of dollars.

  37. I am not a Catholic, however I respect and admire the thoughtful opinions and reasoning of many of the contributions to this discussion. One thing interests me especially — that the word “miscarriage” can be found only one time in this thread, and that no one seems to mention or question the morality of using stem cells for life-saving research which have been obtained from feten which have miscarried to the dismay of the mother but as a result of the will of an infinitely benevolent God. The voluntary donation of one’s body to science is approved by the Church, but seems to me as being a grisly mutilation of a temple of the Holy Spirit, compared to the use of a few tiny cells from a miscarried fetus.

    • Happy Easter Frank.
      Perhaps miscarriages are mentioned less frequently because they are not typically a source of the sort of tissue required for this type of research.
      It’s not a pleasant subject for Easter Sunday though but you can find more information about the details online.

  38. Whether you accept a tainted vaccine or not, you should consider writing your civil leaders a short note/email, letting them know that if they wish more people to be vaccinated, they should take whatever steps are in their power to make an ethical COVID vaccine available in the United States.

    CureVac is on schedule to be approved in Germany next month. They have an office here in Boston. Many Americans have donated to them and bought their stock. If our leaders begin conversations with them, CureVac could be approved and available here too. There is a very good chance that they will also produce other ethical vaccines, such as the childhood ones and the seasonal flu shot. There is hope.

    I urge all of you to shoot off a quick note to your civil representatives.
    Find out who your local state senators and assembly persons are. Look up who your Federal senators and House representatives are. Most of them will have a contact button on their websites. Don’t worry so much about their political affiliation, just let them know that you want access to an ethical vaccine.

    • We need a list of ethical products. It would be such a blessing and hope. I was happy to discover that Floradix, my vitamin source is ethical, but I’m still waiting to hear back from various aspirin companies like St. Joseph Aspirin. It sure would be comforting to have an ethical aspirin. Many take low-dose aspirin for their heart…

  39. I am not a Catholic but I agree Christians should avoid the currently available Covid vaccines. Their connection to abortion makes them a nonstarter for me. My understanding is that the soon to be released Novavax vaccine is not in any way connected to abortion so I am waiting for it unless I learn otherwise.

    • What is your source? I have seen conflicting information on this claim that Novavax did not even test with fetal cells. Lifesite news and and Lozier institute claim they did (but also falsely claim it is used in the production. This can’t be true since they are derived from moth cells). Dr Been and an article in Seeking Alpha indicated that it was not tested on fetal cells. Not sure what to believe.

  40. If the Johnson and Johnson vaccines is compromised because of its use in abortion cells, then what else is ‘compromised?’ I mean, is it wrong for me to buy from companies that support lgbt, abortion, make use of exploitation of the poor, etc? Is it now wrong for me to order from Amazon because it supports lgbtism? I don’t get why the vaccine is singled out, when there are SO many ways a catholic can “remotely cooperate” with evil in his daily life, and all of this seems to be ignored or not considered in discussions about cooperation with evil… seriously I need answer quick. I’m thinking about getting the vaccine and I would rather get the J&J one because it only has one dose, and more importantly doesn’t have the myocarditis side effects of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. If it isn’t wrong for me to patronize companies with problematic donation list or which creates sinful items in addition to licit items, it shouldn’t be wrong for me to get the J&J vaccines, even if I have the choice to get Moderna or Pfizer.

    • Normally they take 2 years to track side effects in trials. Maybe you should think about all that before rolling those dice. Me, no way I or anyone I have authority over is getting these frankenjections. Even if Covid were a serious risk to us, which it isn’t, there’s no way to avoid the risk of illness in life, but we can avoid the risk of letting someone stick an experimental gene manipulation cocktail in our arms. (And by their own admission, they don’t stop you from getting Covid, so what’s the point?)

    • I have not seen anywhere in scripture where we are instructed to only purchase products from Christians. Though, personally, I prefer to mostly support businesses that honor God, or at least don’t show obvious signs of dishonoring. Most of the time I have no awareness of the business owner’s status with God.

      The use of aborted children to produce a specific product is a different issue. In this case, the product itself is tied directly to the murderer himself.

  41. Is there a COVID vaccine in the works that did not use fetal cells for testing? I have seen conflicting information about whether that is the case with Novavax. Anyone have solid information on this?

    • Yes, Novavax has a vaccine in 3rd stage trials, not using aborted human fetal tissue. Make no mistake though, not just a vaccine but just about every drug that is used today was developed using HEK 293. So if your taking medication of any kind it has probably used HEK 293 either in development or the actual medicine itself.

      Know this though, when it comes to the covid vaccine.

      Revelations 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

      I’m sorry but when you are telling people if you don’t get vaccinated then you can not work, or go to the store to buy food. This is to close to that verse. Also in Mathew 24, Jesus says in the last days let no man decieve you.

      So while it is admirable not to take the JAB because of it being developed and is using HEK 293, know that if you have taken any medication you have already partaked in the exploitation of aborted fetal tissue.

      May the Lord bless you and keep you, in these days.

    • Yes the following vaccine are potentially not used fetal cell lines
      * Sanofi
      * Inovio-480
      * JP2MRI (for sure don’t use fetal line at all, even on testing)

  42. I think another useful analogy to help change hearts, is the fact that ISIS (Islamic State) has authorized the selling of organs harvested from their victims, to be used for transplant.

    I would ask a debate opponent if they feel it would be moral to take ISIS up on their offer. And though ISIS may not yet have a medical research organization, they may in the future. So, would they feel it is OK to use drugs that ISIS developed using their victims?

    There are some lists out now, that make claims about many drugs that were supposed to be developed using cell lines from murdered children. But, they include drugs that have been in use for thousands of years. So, the list seems suspect. But, still I would love to see such a list.

    And I would also love to see a pharmacy started up that made its purpose to only sell ethically produced and developed drugs.

  43. Yes, if we accept covid vaccines developed, tested, or manufactured using fetal cell lines, there will be little future incentive for pharmacutical companies and rearchers to seek out ethical ways of doing science. Researchers have already developed humanized mice and pigs for medical research. Human organelles have been made as well(small organs similar to human organs). Scientists cannot create human cells and tissues, they can only manipulate them and grow them. For this they need a supply. That supply can only come from a human source, either ethically donated by consenting adults or taken from unconsenting fetuses and embryos.

  44. I see compassion is dead.

    Do anyone of you think of what Jesus would do?
    Because He didn’t spew vitriol and hatred at Mary Magdalene, nor did He agree to stone the woman found guilty of adultery. And dehumanizing women who are likely abandoned, have little to no hope of financial or other support and are scared is the least Christian or Catholic action one can take. Yet here you are doing it again.

    Now Pro-life.
    That title means that you should value life, all lives.
    It is whatever to advocate for ethical practices. By all means, work away.
    It is another matter to encourage people to put themselves into harm’s way by going against Pope Francis’s own advice. By encouraging people not to get vaccinated, you are being completely against life. You are being the ultimate hypocrite. What’s better is that it’s a conspiracy theory that is based on lies. So you are spreading lies, and contributes to death, long-term illness, disease, the fall of the economy…the list goes on.

    So how are you, by promoting lies and death, being Pro-life?

    As one who actually understands and has worked in laboratories, your article illustrates that you haven’t the foggiest clue what you are talking about.

    I know someone will screen this, it’ll go against a narrative, and it won’t be posted because it’s the truth. This publication has a problem with truth, ironically. But in case someone remembers that God is the truth and posts it, for anyone who reads this article, please don’t take it seriously. It’s foundation is a bed of lies.

    • “I see compassion is dead. … By encouraging people not to get vaccinated, you are being completely against life. You are being the ultimate hypocrite.”

      I see that emotive, unreasonable judgmentalism is alive and well. Well, I think you are wrong. Time will tell.

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