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Catholic scholars resist push for taking abortion-tainted vaccines in ‘Statement of Conscience’

- LIFE SITE NEWS - Mar 11, 2021 -

David McLoone -

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas.

March 11, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In a newly released “Statement of Conscience,” five prominent Catholics in the U.S. (including Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas) have argued for refusing to receive any vaccine derived from abortion in good conscience. They also pushed back against attempts to qualify taking such vaccines as morally binding.

Among those who penned the statement are Catherine Pakaluk, Ph.D., and Michael Pakaluk, Ph.D., both of the Catholic University of America; Stacy Ann Trasancos, Ph.D., of the St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization; Jose Luis Trasancos, Ph.D., who is part of pro-life group Children of God for Life; and Strickland.

The statement emerged as a response to “a growing consensus among Catholic ethicists that vaccines derived from aborted fetal tissue are not only morally permissible (licit), but also (nearly) morally obligatory for the sake of the common good.” The authors point to public statements affirming a requirement to take the available COVID-19 vaccines from Catholic scholars at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), the Catholic Health Association (CHA), and, indeed, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the latter two of which directly point to a moral “responsibility” to be vaccinated.

Notably, the bishops’ statement makes reference to the 2008 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) document “Dignitatis Personae.”

According to the authors of the “Statement of Conscience,” the principles of conscientious objection is being violated by the bishops’ instruction. The group argues that all three of the above statements “seem to run afoul of our rights of conscience” to reject abortion-tainted vaccines, and that the CDF, in both Dignitatis Personae and the more recent “Note on the morality of using some anti-COVID-19 vaccines,” defend this right.

Rather than flip the argument of the USCCB and others in the opposite direction, contending a moral obligation to forego such vaccines, the authors stake a simpler position: “[W]e do not wish to benefit from abortion.”

They posit that there is a religious conviction found in the “natural disgust felt by persons who wish to remain separate from the crime of abortion in every way possible.” At the same time, the group admits the possibility that it is “not always morally illicit to use such abortion-tainted vaccines temporarily, in extreme necessity, and even then under strenuous protest.”

Even so, they qualify that “the use of such vaccines must never be advanced as mandatory, or as a universal duty. Because some of us in conscience believe that we are called to refuse to take them.”


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