TYLER, Texas (ChurchMilitant.com) - The bishop of Tyler, Texas has issued a pastoral letter rousing Catholics to understand the mortal danger of any coronavirus vaccine developed using stem cells from aborted babies and is urging them to fight.
Announcing his April 23 letter, Bp. Joseph Strickland encouraged "all who believe in the Sanctity of Life in the womb" to reflect on his message, as "it is critical for the whole human family."
In the letter, Strickland explained that the pandemic has opened his eyes to the dangerous reality of the "use of in line stem cells from aborted babies in developing vaccines."
"I urge you to join me, NOW, in passionately but prayerfully speaking out against this practice," he urged.
"We must insist that legislators create legislation which establishes the illegal and immoral nature of any use of the remains of aborted babies for research," said Strickland. "Further, we must insist that pharmaceutical companies comply with such legislation." he said.
"I believe this can be a significant building block in a culture of life which eliminates the taint of economic gain that too easily infects the abortion industry," the bishop added.
Strickland stressed that there are ethical ways to develop vaccines. "Scientists I've spoken with assure me that there is no medical necessity for using aborted children in order to develop the much-needed vaccine to protect us from this particular strain of Coronavirus," he noted. "Thankfully, ethical means are available and can prove to be just as effective in developing vaccines; umbilical cells, placental cells, adult stem cells and other sources of cells, including even those of insects, provide completely viable paths to an effective vaccine.""We all know the sad saga of abortion in our nation and throughout the world which continues to grow more diabolical even as we energetically proclaim, with ever deeper clarity, the precious gift of every unborn child," he lamented.
Strickland declared that this new threat — a coronavirus vaccine fashioned from the cells of murdered children — must be countered.
"Just because the crime of abortion is considered legal in our nation does not mean it is morally permissible to use the dead bodies of these children to cure a global pandemic," he warned. "Emphatically, this practice is evil."
The bishop recalled how recent popes have raised their voices in defense of life from conception to natural death and to warn about the dangers of scientific research unchecked by moral truth.
Pope St. John Paul II's 1995 encyclical "The Gospel of Life" (Evangelium Vitae) warned of the growing clash between the "culture of death" and the "culture of life," reiterating, "The killing of innocent human creatures, even if carried out to help others, constitutes an absolutely unacceptable act."
Bishop Strickland also pointed to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's 1987 "Respect for Human Life" (Donum Vitae), which gave clear warning that "what is technically possible is not for that very reason morally admissible."
He noted these historic pontifical pleas have gone largely unheeded.
Twice in the letter — in both his opening and his conclusion — Strickland promised to help those who join their voices with his, vowing to help them "navigate the storm" of the current troubled times "as best he can."
The bishop also pledged that in the upcoming week he will provide a guide to assist the faithful "in speaking the truth to your elected officials, the pharmaceutical industry, and your local community." The guide will be posted on the St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization website, a resource center dedicated to teaching the Faith.
Speaking with Church Militant, Dr. Stacy Trasancos, Executive Director of the St. Philip Institute, summed up the significance of the bishop's historic call:
If we stand with Bp. Strickland and let it be known that we will refuse a vaccine made from the exploitation of aborted children, then we can influence the research, development, and market. I don't want to find myself a year from now being required to accept an immorally produced vaccine knowing that I did not speak up when I had the chance. I won't leave that legacy to my children and grandchildren.
Trasancos added, "Bishop Strickland is asking us all, the entire human race, to stand up with him and say, 'I will not kill children to live.'"