The Vatican on Monday (Dec 21) declared that it is “morally acceptable” for Roman Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccines that use cell lines from aborted foetuses.
The Catholic Church’s teaching says that abortion is a grave sin.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's watchdog office for doctrinal orthodoxy, said that when alternative vaccines are not available, it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines developed or tested using cell lines originating from aborted fetuses.
The note “on the morality of using some anti-COVID-19 vaccines” had been reviewed by Pope Francis Dec. 17 and he ordered its publication, the doctrinal office added.
The Vatican however stressed that the “licit” uses of such vaccines “does not and should not in any way imply that there is a moral endorsement of the use of cell lines proceeding from aborted fetuses."
The use of such vaccines “does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive”, it said.
The congregation repeated the Vatican’s call on pharmaceutical companies and governmental agencies to produce, approve and distribute ethically acceptable vaccines, that is, without using morally compromised cell lines at all.
The doctrinal office also said that “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.”
From an ethical point of view, “the morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one’s own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good,” it added.
Weeks earlier, two U.S. bishops, one in Texas and one in California, had denounced vaccines using cell lines from the tissue of aborted fetuses as immorally produced. One of the bishops said he refused to receive such a vaccine and encouraged rank-and-file Catholics to follow his lead.
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