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Internal note from the American bishops: Catholics can be vaccinated against Covid-19

Days after some Catholic bishops shared misinformation on social media about Covid-19 vaccines that may soon hit the market, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops distributed a memo to all U.S. bishops stating that at least two of the vaccines are considered ethically sound. The memo also reminded the bishops that church teaching even permits the widespread use of vaccines whose origins are considered ethically questionable when other treatments are not available.

The Catholic Church teaches that it is unethical to use stem cells derived from aborted fetuses in medical research. Earlier this month, two bishops questioned the moral legality of using two vaccines created in the United States by Pfizer and Moderna, both of which appear to be heading for regulatory approval. But the memo rejects those claims.

“Neither the Pfizer vaccine nor the Moderna vaccine involved the use of cell lines derived from fetal tissue taken from the body of an aborted baby at any stage of conception, development, or production,” it reads. in the November 23 memo, signed by Bishop Kevin. C. Rhoades, who chairs the bishops’ committee on doctrine; and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, the head of the committee on pro-life activities.

The internal memo corrects “some confusion in the media regarding the moral legality of vaccine use.” But at least two bishops have questioned the moral legality of vaccines.

The internal score obtained by America corrects “some confusion in the media regarding the moral legality of the use of vaccines”. But this confusion is not limited to unspecified media reports. At least two bishops have questioned the moral legality of vaccines.

Bishop Joseph Strickland, head of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, tweeted November 16: “The Moderna vaccine is not morally produced. Unborn children died in abortions and then their bodies were used as “laboratory samples”. I urge all who believe in the sanctity of life to reject a vaccine that was produced in an immoral way. Bishop Strickland is also listed as a speaker at an online anti-vaccination conference this fall, giving a talk titled “Rejecting the Culture of Death to Embrace the Sanctity of Life.”

On the same day as Bishop Strickland’s tweet, Bishop Joseph Brennan, Head of the Diocese of Fresno, said in a video, “I will not be able to take a vaccine, brothers and sisters, and I encourage you not to, s ‘it was developed with material from stem cells derived from a baby that was aborted, or material that was derived from the artificial insemination of a human embryo.

“Some claim that if a vaccine is linked in any way to contaminated cell lines, it is immoral to be vaccinated with them. This is an inaccurate representation of Catholic moral teaching,” the statement reads. memo.

But the USCCB memo rejects both claims, pointing to a report from the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, which called the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines “ethically uncontroversial.”

The Bishops’ memo says some of the vaccine tests were done with what they call a “contaminated cell line,” but says the link between the two vaccines and abortion is “relatively remote.”

“Some claim that if a vaccine is linked in any way to contaminated cell lines, it is immoral to be vaccinated with them. This is an inaccurate representation of Catholic moral teaching,” the statement reads. memo.

The memo explains that Catholic teaching prohibits the use of stem cells from aborted fetuses, but it notes that there are varying levels of moral responsibility, ranging from the creator of the vaccine to the recipients. Even if a vaccine is linked to controversial stem cells, the memo states that “it is morally permissible to accept vaccination when there is no alternative and there is a serious risk to the health”.

Catholics should protest the use of stem cells derived from aborted fetuses by pharmaceutical companies, the memo says, citing the teaching of the Pontifical Academy for Life. But, the memo says, “public health should not be sacrificed.”

The USCCB has published a similar memo in 2007 (updated 2015), which stated that “Catholics may licitly accept vaccination for themselves and their children using aborted tissue vaccine”, citing the case of pregnant or extreme risk women for public health. Yesterday, the Pontifical Academy for Life tweeted that he found nothing morally wrong with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Brian Kane, senior director of ethics for the Catholic Health Association of the United States, said Catholics should be aware of the origins of vaccines, but added that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not ethically compromised.

“As far as the moral principles of being concerned about the use of any pharmaceuticals developed from aborted fetuses, this is certainly an issue that we all want to be aware of and try to avoid their use,” a- he declared. “With that in mind, the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines that are coming out aren’t even tainted with that moral issue.”

Kevin Robles contributed to this report.