WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - America's bishops are saying "yes" to Wuhan virus vaccines even though the cell lines used for research and testing are connected to abortion.
On Monday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) declared in a document titled "Moral Considerations Regarding the New COVID-19 Vaccines," "In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines."
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency-use authorization to Pfizer — making it the first vaccine to be approved. On Friday, it's expected the FDA will authorize Moderna's vaccine, making them the first two available in the United States.
The document also calls receiving the vaccine "an act of charity toward the other members of our community," adding that having family members vaccinated is "morally permissible and can be an act of self-love and of charity toward others."
The USCCB document is signed by Fort Wayne-South Bend's Bp. Kevin Rhoades and Kansas City's Abp. Joseph Naumann. In November they issued a memorandum remarking that it was "an inaccurate portrayal of Catholic moral teaching," for some people to declare it is immoral to be vaccinated "if a vaccine is connected in any way with tainted cell lines."
The memorandum specifically discussed the vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer, remarking they are not "completely free from any connection to abortion." It goes on to note they use "a tainted cell line for one of the confirmatory lab tests of their products," adding, "there is thus a connection, but it is relatively remote."
The USCCB, however, calls the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca as "more morally compromised," noting that fetal cell lines were used "in the design, development and production stages of that vaccine, as well as for confirmatory testing."
Despite that warning, it allows for people to use AstraZenica's vaccine if "one does not really have a choice of vaccine, at least, not without a lengthy delay in immunization that may have serious consequences for one's health and the health of others."
The USCCB is cautioning that people could become "complacent" about the evil of abortion, adding "we should be on guard so that the new COVID-19 vaccines do not desensitize us or weaken our determination to oppose the evil of abortion itself and the subsequent use of fetal cells in research."
Not everyone, however, agrees with the USCCB's assessment of the situation. On Nov. 16, a research organization called Children of God for Life condemned Moderna's vaccine as "immoral."
The organization stated, "There are no aborted fetal cells used in the production of the Pfizer vaccine; they tested the completed product."
"This is completely unlike Moderna's vaccine that used aborted fetal cells in the spike protein production, which is part of their vaccine," it confirmed, adding "and they have done extensive research, development and testing using aborted fetal cells as well."
Texas bishop Joseph Strickland commented "Moderna vaccine is not morally produced. Unborn children died in abortions and then their bodies were used as 'laboratory specimens.' I urge all who believe in the sanctity of life to reject a vaccine which has been produced immorally."
Exorcist and moral theologian, Fr. Chad Ripperger, addresses the use of fetal cells in light of the virtue of justice. He declares, "It's an aborted fetal cell line, a part of the body belonging to a child which was robbed from him by murder. It is still part of his remains ... it's his DNA, it's his cell line, hence it must be buried. That's the only way to fulfill justice."
"The temporal distance [the number of years since the abortion] has no bearing ... you're using it now. It's an ongoing theft in relationship to this kid. It still belongs to him [the aborted fetus]. It's his DNA. You stole it from him. This is how you got it, and the fact that you've replicated it doesn't change the quality of the thing. That new cell which came from him, which ultimately belongs to him, still carries that quality."
On Sunday, in a homily for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Cdl. Raymond Burke referred to the "mysterious Wuhan virus," remarking "about whose nature and prevention the mass media daily gives us conflicting information."
"What is clear," he adds, "is that it has been used by certain forces inimical to families and to the freedom of nations to advance their evil agenda."
Burke went on to slam bishops, priests and laity for manifesting "a woeful lack of sound catechesis," declaring, "now we are supposed to find in a disease and its prevention the way to understand and direct our lives rather than in God and in His plan for our salvation."
"So many in the Church seem to have no understanding of how Christ continues his saving work in times of plague and of other disasters," he added.