The Vatican has chimed in on its position on the COVID-19 vaccine.

In December of last year, Luis F. Card. Ladaria, S.I., Prefect, posted a "Note on the Morality of Using Some Anti-Covid-19 Vaccines" to the Vatican's website. The note was examined, approved, and ordered published by Pope Francis.

Social media pages lately have had people talking about the religious "exemptions" that can be used to refuse the vaccine. One of the people inquiring mentioned that they were Catholic, so I took to the internet to find out more.

Someone was asking where to find the form to apply for a religious exemption from taking the vaccine, with responses including online doctors, Canadian doctors, references to the Nuremberg Code, and even just a simple "It's against my religion".

As you know, some places of employment are now starting to require employees to be vaccinated to return to work, and that is not sitting well with some. So much so, they are willing to lie about their religion or make "convenient" claims.

Capture via Facebook

The issue some religious people have with some vaccines centers around the use of aborted fetal tissue during the research and development of a said vaccine.

Initially, the Church viewed abortion as a sin only if it was to cover up "fornication or adultery" (we're talking in the days of St. Augustine). Since 1965, though, the Catholic Church has considered abortion "the taking of life", according to the National Institute of Health, making it a grave sin.

Many advancements in modern medicine have come from studies done on embryonic tissue which, understandably, causes concern among the religious. It would be immoral, in their eyes, to use aborted fetus tissue to conduct experiments or develop medications or vaccines, especially for use on humans.

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DOES THE VATICAN APPROVE OF THE COVID VACCINE?

With that being said, the issue at hand is whether the Catholic Church approves of its members receiving the coronavirus vaccine, as it was developed using cell lines from 2 fetuses reportedly to have been (not spontaneously) aborted within the last century.

In regards to the morality of the coronavirus vaccine, the Note from the Vatican breaks it down into 5 areas:

RESPONSIBILITY

The responsibility for the cell lines being used does not lie on those who receive the vaccine; rather, the responsibility lies on those who decided to use those cells for research/development.

in organizations where cell lines of illicit origin are being utilized, the responsibility of those who make the decision to use them is not the same as that of those who have no voice in such a decision” - Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines" to the Vatican's website.

 

AVAILABILITY

During a pandemic such as this, when morally sound vaccines are not available, it is acceptable to receive the vaccine that IS available.

when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available ... it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses... - Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines" to the Vatican's website.

 

COMPLICITY

Just because you received the vaccine does not make you complicit in the sin of the aborted fetuses used to make the vaccine, as long as you maintain your belief that abortion is wrong.

...the morally licit use of these types of vaccines... does not in itself constitute a legitimation... of the practice of abortion... - Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines" to the Vatican's website.

 

THIS DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT

The Note from the Vatican goes on to say that receiving the vaccine "does not and should not imply" that you endorse the use of aborted fetuses for medicinal purposes.

... the licit use 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.  - Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines" to the Vatican's website.

 

MORAL OBLIGATION TO PROTECT HEALTH

The Vatican notes that, from an "ethical point of view", the vaccine should be taken for one's own health, and the health of others.

In any case, from the 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.Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines" to the Vatican's website.

According to the Vatican, you have a moral duty to protect the health of yourself and the health of those around you. The note does not say you must take the vaccine, but it does say that you must take other measures of mitigation to help stop the spread of the virus.

Those who, however, for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, must do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent. - Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines" to the Vatican's website.

In other words: if you won't get the vaccine, you have a moral obligation to mask up around others, maintain proper social distance, and do everything within your power to NOT contract or spread the virus.

BOTTOM LINE

Here's the bottom line from the Note from the Vatican: Catholics have a moral obligation to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Though the vaccine reportedly used aborted fetal tissue during development, the Vatican notes that Catholics will not be complicit in any way if they receive the vaccine. If a Catholic still chooses to forego the vaccine, he or she must do everything else in their power to help stop the spread of the virus.

Those who, however, for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses, must do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent. - Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines" to the Vatican's website.