VATICAN (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Vatican has refused to grant conscience exemptions to its staff, arguing that the Pfizer jab it administers uses fetal cells from an aborted baby for testing but not in the production of the vaccine.
On Wednesday, Vatican secretary of state Cdl. Pietro Parolin claimed that Pfizer used "cell lines from aborted fetuses only in the preliminary stages of vaccine testing in the laboratory, but no cell lines from aborted fetuses are included in either the composition or production."
Approving the Pfizer jab, the Holy See's second-in-command argued that vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are "actually produced from cell cultures that were donated about 40 years ago for scientific purposes."
"Therefore, it seems that not wanting to undergo vaccination with this motivation cannot be justified, since the vaccine that is currently used is precisely the Pfizer that uses the mRNA method" of using fetal cells for testing, Parolin told the National Catholic Register.
Parolin's endorsement of Pfizer comes two months after Project Veritas released a devastating exposé of top company officials and leaked emails revealing Pfizer was using aborted fetal tissue in its vaccine program.
"HEK-293T cells, used for the IVE assay, are ultimately derived from an aborted fetus," Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Philip Dormitzer admitted. "On the other hand, the Vatican doctrinal committee has confirmed that they consider it acceptable for pro-life believers to be immunized."
"Pfizer's official statement couches the answer well and is what should be provided in response to an outside inquiry," Dormitzer said, echoing Vanessa Gelman, Pfizer's senior director of worldwide research: "From the perspective of corporate affairs, we want to avoid having the information on fetal cells floating out there."
Parolin's decree, dated Dec. 23, requires proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 for all Vatican employees. Failure to do so will be considered "unjustified absence with the consequent suspension of pay for the duration of the absence."
A fresh decree issued Jan. 5 compels all visitors and staff to get the booster as a condition of entry to the Vatican from Jan. 31. The decree extends the obligation to all Holy See personnel and to all its institutions within the extra-territorial areas of the Vatican.
Popular British writer Deacon Nick Donnelly told Church Militant "Cdl. Parolin's distinction between using abortion-derived cell lines in production and testing makes no sense. Testing is part of production. It is appalling to see Parolin grant Pfizer an abortion absolution."
"Pfizer's decision to use the HEK-293 cell line in the testing procedures is not morally neutral," Donnelly explained. "The Pfizer jab depends on cells harvested from a baby girl who was aborted and vivisected alive."
Donnelly also emphasized Parolin did not "have the authority or power to determine that our conscientious objections to the Pfizer jab is 'unjustified,'" since "conscience, correctly informed by the fullness of Catholic doctrine, has an inviolable authority."
Parolin cited as his authority the "Note on the Morality of Using Some Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines" issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in December 2020 and the document of the Pontifical Academy for Life issued July 2017.
However, the Note contradicts the Vatican's mandatory jab policy as it clarifies "vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary."
In comments to Church Militant, eminent Catholic ethicist Dr. Michael Pakaluk explained how "the only time it directly addressed the question, in Dignitas Personae (2008), the CDF taught that the use of 'cell lines of illicit origin' (as it calls them) in any aspect of medical research is contrary to the Hippocratic Oath."
Pakaluk, professor of ethics and social philosophy at the Catholic University of America, elaborated:
The CDF document drew no distinction between production and testing, and it recognized the moral unease that Catholics would feel. It is baffling that clerics will not recognize the right in conscience of the faithful to "take their business somewhere else" when faced with pharmaceutical companies which ignore these principles so necessary to fostering a culture of life.
Pakaluk noted how Parolin was ironically now giving Catholics permission to seek exemptions for the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson China virus vaccines:
Catholics should be grateful that the cardinal's comment now implies, by contrast, that Catholics would indeed be justified in seeking exemptions in conscience to any vaccine except the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as many have long thought.
Catholics might well quote Parolin's statement in their petitions for religious exemptions against political authorities. But then isn't a door opened to further difficulties in conscience, as regards the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as well?
Pro-life leaders responded with alarm to Parolin's arguments.
"HEK-293, so named because it derives from a Human Embryonic Kidney (belonging to a girl who was aborted in the Netherlands in the 1970s), was used only in the testing phase by Pfizer, this is true," agreed Dave Brennan, executive director of the pro-life project Brephos.
"But this testing phase was utterly essential for the jab to receive emergency authorization. Without getting through this phase, the jab would never have come to market. Hence the distinction between development and testing phases is, ethically speaking, irrelevant, since both were essential," Brennan argued.
In fact, I find that choosing to "merely" test an mRNA vaccine on fetal cell lines betrays a special apathy — or worse — regarding the baby organ harvesting that lies at the origin of these cell lines. Because, as in the case of Pfizer, it could so easily have been avoided. As for the other vaccines, I'm not sure how Johanna would feel about Cdl. Parolin's describing her kidney cells as "donated" for scientific purposes!
In his paper, "The 'Duty to Oppose' in Dignitas Personae" Pakaluk observes how in the use of abortion-derived cell lines "the crime of murder in the abortion is the most obvious, but there are other crimes as well."
"One is the assuming of ownership of what one has no right to own — to take cells and use them to produce a cell line for lab research, perhaps even selling them for profit, when the cells at the origin of that line should have been respectfully interred."
Lamenting the millions of dollars Big Pharma has made from the sale of HEK-293, Donnelly noted "it not prudent for Cdl. Parolin to associate the reputation of the Holy See with Pfizer, a company legally exposed as seriously corrupt."
Despite Pfizer's dubious ethics — having been fined $2.3 billion in 2009 for what was then the largest health care fraud settlement ever — the Vatican invited Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to address its May 2021 conference "Exploring the Mind, Body and Soul."
The vaccine oligarch spent over $21.8 million in 2019–20 and $6.7 million from January–August 2021 on lobbying the government, making it the biggest spender of any individual drug company during the COVID-19 crisis, according to Senate Office of Public Records data.
Pfizer's direct funding of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may have also influenced the regulator's biologics license application (its "BLA") approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty brand COVID-19 vaccine, Church Militant reported.
Pfizer was the biggest corporate spender on political lobbying from 1999 to 2018, with the vaccine oligarch accounting for $219 million in lobbying (93% of the industry total) and $23 million in campaign contributions (around 10% of the industry's giving to politicians).
A 2018 Oxfam report titled "Prescription for Poverty" blasted Pfizer for "systematically" stashing its profits in overseas tax havens. Pfizer's $199 billion held offshore was the second most of any U.S. corporation.
"The turnaround in woke opinion about Big Pharma must be one of the most astonishing things about this COVID panic," Pakaluk pointed out. "Given Pfizer's phenomenal record of corruption, it is totally moral to conscientiously object to using any of its products in one's own body," Donnelly asserted.
Ironically, in October 2021, Pope Francis told Italian pharmacists "conscientious objection is not disloyalty but, on the contrary, fidelity to your profession if validly motivated."