Catholic Conscience and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccination At The Vatican
[Photo Credit: Vatican Media/Vatican Pool via Getty Images]

By Annamaria Cardinalli at Crisis Magazine:

On Thursday, Vatican News confirmed that both Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis have received the currently available COVID-19 vaccines, themselves providing an example, ostensibly, for the Church as a whole. In the world’s eyes, I suspect this spells the end of any claim a Catholic might otherwise make for religious exemption to required reception of the current vaccines. If abortion-tainted vaccines are mandated, either formally or by informal social incentives such as the widely-proposed possibility that the COVID-19 vaccine be a prerequisite for travel, conscientious Catholics could not say, “but my Church objects.”

Corporations and governments will not hear a careful explanation about the difference between, say, the magisterial authority of the Pope and bishops when they teach ex cathedra in contrast to the things our leaders might say or do as individuals. They simply won’t sell you a plane ticket or issue you a visa. The pope and former pope’s actions here may make life difficult for Catholics whose personal conscience recoils at the irreconcilable dissonance of the Vatican press office statement that “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and productions process.”

Yet, the Catholic conscience is resilient, if often misunderstood, sometimes even by those who possess it—and most certainly by the world. It bears two features which are especially misconstrued. First, it can not ask less than what the Church requires, but it can ask more. For instance, one person may feel bound to heroic charity in a situation where another does not. Second, in order to function at all, the conscience must be formed (and informed) by truth—the truth of Christ Himself and an accurate understanding of the surrounding world. Otherwise, we don’t have a conscience to follow, but simply our own inclinations.

A favorite exhortation of TV pundits lately is to follow the science, which is excellent advice if actually taken to heart, and exactly what the word con-science means—with science, or with knowledge. If we are to uphold our individual responsibility to form our consciences, we are obligated to actively pursue the knowledge of truth, which is ensured only by exploring and vetting a variety of sources and perspectives, even and especially while doing so has become increasingly difficult. Two truly excellent sources have come about in the past weeks to assist Catholics in the task of forming their individual consciences with regard to the vaccine. 

In the arena of formation in moral truth, the first is the letter from Bishop Athanatius Schnieder, which first appeared in Crisis on December 11, 2020. In regard to formation in scientific truth, the second is a recent interview with Pamela Acker, author of Vaccines: A Catholic Perspective from the Kolbe Center—a book I look forward to reading. It has been difficult for many faithful Catholics to inform their conscience with regard to the nuts-and-bolts science of how the vaccine industry makes use of aborted children’s bodies, because the information is not readily available, but this interview provides a great deal of help. However, its length might be prohibitive, and because its content is critical, I wish to share a few of the hard truths it contained, in light of the information otherwise made available to us.

In conversations with friends, I have noticed that many of us calm our consciences with certain facts. We know that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not use any cells derived from abortion in the production process. That is, we know that we are not being directly injected with fetal cells or their engineered descendants (though this fact differs with other manufacturers). We hear that the abortion-derived cell lines were only used in testing, which should somehow comfort us, though it still means that the vaccines from which we seek to benefit depend on the involvement of abortion. We are told that the cell line used in testing came from one abortion, which took place decades ago. These things are all true, but they do not serve to inform us fully.

What we may not know follows. The most prominent cell line, called HEK 293, comes from an abortion performed in the 1970’s. It’s labeled 293 because that’s how many experimental attempts the researchers needed to get a working cell line. Therefore, though the abortion-to-experiment ratio is not precisely one-to-one, hundreds of abortions went into the project, even if they didn’t result in the working line. 

HEK stands for human embryonic kidney. To harvest a viable embryonic kidney for this purpose, sufficiently healthy children old enough to have adequately-developed kidneys must be removed from the womb, alive, typically by cesarean section, and have their kidneys cut out. This must take place without anesthesia for the child, which would lessen the viability of the organs. Instead of being held, rocked, and comforted in the time intervening between their birth and their death, they have organs cut out of them alive.

There is no way that a spontaneous abortion could result in the cell line (as the kidneys cannot remain viable past the brief window in which they must be harvested) or that some brilliant researcher found a way for great good to come out of a rare tragedy by making use of a child’s body donated to science after it was aborted. The deliberate killing of an unwanted child (a little girl, in the case of HEK 293) took place in the tortuous manner it did precisely to obtain her organs for research. The harvest of her organs was the direct cause of her death, prior to which, she was a living child, outside the womb.

I fear that Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict may not have had this information when they received the vaccines. If we re-examine the Vatican statement that “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and productions process,” we see that it does not apply here. It does not imagine this scenario. To approve of the currently-available vaccines, it would have to read “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from living persons, killed by the harvest of their organs for use in medical research and productions processes,” but the Church’s moral teachings could never truly bend so far.

Similar to the human rights abuses exposed by international tribunal in today’s China, where unwanted individuals such as religious and political dissidents are executed by the harvest of their organs for profit, the little girl whose cells gave rise to the COVID-19 vaccines was brutally sacrificed for the purpose, as were all the children whose cell lines failed before her. 

Still, many rightly argue, when we discuss the COVID-19 vaccine, there are more lives at stake than even those of the hundreds of children who suffered and died for one specific cell line in the past. Concern for these lives must most certainly bear our consideration as well.

The information about how HEK 293 was created may call vividly to mind the current scandal of Planned Parenthood, who is selling human tissue to the highest bidder, and performing abortions in specific ways to obtain organs and preserve their viability—for the right price. Put more bluntly, the abortion industry performs vivisections on viable, healthy, and well-developed living children for massive profit, on a massive scale. What we are seeing now is the explosion of an industry trafficking in children’s bodies, which began with experiments in the 1970’s, including those on which the available COVID-19 vaccines rely.

Why does this go on? Money is a central motivator in any industry, and it goes on because we support it. We are consumers. If we boycotted, science would be forced to pursue alternative solutions. Even remotely, every one of us who benefits from an industry that functions this way plays our part in its perpetuation. This is why Pope Francis encourages Catholics to voice our dissent, even while receiving the vaccine. Unfortunately, when money is the motivator, voiced dissent does not speak as loudly as refusal.

However, we now find ourselves in a situation where put before us is either concern for our vulnerable neighbors who, we are told, might catch COVID-19 if we ourselves are not vaccinated, or concern over perpetuating an industry we know with certainty very deliberately and brutally kills the most vulnerable among us. 

If concern for our neighbors does not burden our hearts into the acceptance of evil as a means to an end, even a good one such as the prevention of COVID-19, there exist other mechanisms of coercion that appeal to our own self-preservation. These are the social disincentives to refusal of ethically-tainted vaccines, from which our Church will now not protect us. Instead of saying, “my Church objects,” those whose informed Catholic conscience now binds them to refusal of the vaccine must now only say, “I object.” 

In accepting these persecutions, conscientious Catholics’ choice to refuse an ethically-tainted vaccine may be a source of assurance to their neighbors that they do not lack care for their welfare, as they are themselves willing to assume a degree of self-sacrifice to avoid the deliberate murder of newborns rather than the possibility of infection from a disease primarily affecting adults. It is a dark parallel to the Eucharist—Christ’s perfect sacrifice by which we receive, in our own bodies and for our salvation, the innocent Divine Victim Himself. In the end, this chilling reflection frames the question that now conscience alone must answer.

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4 Responses to Catholic Conscience and the COVID-19 Vaccine

  1. Kate M says:

    Another great resource: the “May we? Should we? Must we?” homily in this Sensus Fidelium video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMnP70jh57k&t=39s
    Great understandable analysis and coverage of the issues.

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  2. Jan 16th video, NIH updates its stance on repurposed drug, Ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19.

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  3. You speak about conscience here and let me tell you this from my clear perspective mostly derived from my first hand horrific experience with other human beings over the last 15 years. People are for the most part divorced from such great humanity of true genuine conscience in today’s world and most are on the diabolical ride of self-aggrandizement and stupidity or even worse than that true hate of others and even self! This world is so ugly and corrupted with sin now that you can’t tell me that any rational and sane person shouldn’t watch his or her back continually even when turned to coworkers, neighbors and sadly in many cases even family or kin folk! Like you now, are a stranger to me and even these Pope’s are strangers to me, so I don’t care one bit or Iota what they are purported to have done or not! Maybe they were tricked to take the vaccine but because the diabolical is at work now at a fever pitch, as we now; I’m quite sure are in the End Time, we have clearly seen how Bergoglio is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing and a real monster, who even made a big push for Biden a truly evil man, a man to me whose soul is as corruptible as Adolph Hitler’s was! And during a major life threatening crisis and a scandalous local tribulation that took place here a few years back; when I wrote to Bergoglio a very genuine from my heart plea letter with specifics, which he didn’t even acknowledge, and do you know why; because I was dealing with the same Freemason devils of which he is a partner with, so they turned up the heat on me instead; go figure! Do I care one Iota what he thinks does or says; absolutely not, he is a devil to me and so this illustration you present means nothing but more smoke and mirrors! The whole reason for vaccines now was concocted by an evil diabolical alliance between the CCP and various nefarious agents here in the US along with others in the WHO with the roll out of the Pandemic Hoax to start a manipulation of the world’s peoples to submit to the NWO Global Reset. This Wuhan Corona Virus or COVID-19 is less virulent a strain of virus than the annual flu and the survival rate is near or approaching 99.97%! Why in the world would I take a vaccine for such a thing when common sense dictates to me that I catch a cold nearly every year, which I just did and within a few days using my home remedies and rest was over it no more sneezing and feeling ill? God gave me the immune system and raw botanicals along with foods to keep the immune system functioning well enough; so o me this vaccine is totally unnecessary and a trick by the most nefarious humans on the planet to make people sheeple, and prepare them for the antichrist’s arrival on the world stage which I think is coming quite soon, a matter of a few years or less. Take what I say in conjunction with what just happened here in the One Nation under God the United States of America with all of the evil trickery and lies going on in Washington D.C. the hub of its governmental or earthly power, where now we see the betrayal of the Good President Trump not just by so many dirty crooked even criminal politicians during his whole term in office but even the so called Christian V.P. Pence who started in life as a Catholic and went onto be a born again Christian or whatever, so he says; but in the hour of reckoning to deal with the obvious fraudulent laden rigged or fixed election to “install” a false POTUS Puppet, the sinister most despicable candidate in history Biden, as the President Elect! But Pence didn’t do his sworn duty and oath of office to protect the US Constitution and the Republic by asking for a fully certified audit of all legal votes which is in the laws and he being the President of the Senate could have requested, to make sure all is in order, and that would be a normal thing to do but instead he stabbed the President and nation in the heart like some monster who was lying in wait for his big chance to do evil which he did in spades; a Judas Priest if you will! All of which is in alignment with the “diabolical global plan to usher in the antichrist;” and to anyone with a real conscience which obviously hundreds of millions of people lack just by the sheer fact that they don’t see anything wrong with this fiasco and don’t really care! So cliché as it is; the expression now of, “the world going to hell in a hand basket,” but it fits perfectly never having been more fitting than now! We are all sitting and staring into the precipice and hell is beckoning to pull in as many as will be willing or can be “tricked” into its eternal damnation!
    So, no I will not accept any vaccine as a matter of fact I never take any annual flu shots so why would I suddenly jump on board with this big lie? With all I have gone through personally with local politicians, doctors, lawyers and chiefs when I was the only person to speak up and write about corruption by many of them regarding their nefarious dealings and plans, because the news people which I used to be a part of once upon a time were not saying a word about the corruption by the powerful and corrupt minions; I became a target for them all, and they worked in earnest to destroy me but they only failed because God Almighty wouldn’t allow it and brought a couple of the right people to my aid in order to help save my life when I needed them; in the nick of time. So there is where my trust has been and will remain; in God through Jesus Christ not science or any fake Pope or totally lying Media! I turn my back on this world of evil rampant corruption and decadent sin of what you even mention about using fetal cells harvested for commercial purposes what it’s really about coupled with other ulterior motives, let alone the full term day of delivery abortions now taking place on a massive scale; so I turn my back now on a fully perverse world; just like they did to Jesus long ago and now repeat with that same evil hate and pretend to care or believe when in their hearts they are lying fakes like Bergoglio or Pelosi, Pence and the rest on down the line! I see no reason to trust any vaccine or the rhetoric which accompanies it so I will never take them and not trust the crooked ways of this world ever again; this world is dying fast and “Armageddon” is fast approaching believe you me; I know it in my bones! We have one choice and decision to make; heaven or hell; which of these do we choose; because we must, should even be willing to die for it? I know all of this doesn’t sound uplifting or is rather very negative in tone but I’m not here to give lip service or be a cheerleader giving some pep talk. Coming from a fairly large family I was the constant eternal optimist and the one watching after all the others even my mother at times trying to always mend fences and help others to understand things whether science or personal problems, especially of the mind and heart; and of course to know Jesus and His words as to what they teach us. So one must ask why this man would talk this way coming from that background, is he angry at the world or hates too. No not at all, it all just bothers me too much as I see how limited the time is to prepare for the inevitable and people are not diligent enough or multitudes either don’t care to see the light and truth or they are so messed up they don’t have a clue. I should be frightened by all this mayhem but that is not my overwhelming emotion, but rather I feel compelled to try harder to speak truth where and when I can to help anyone who will listen and wants to find God’s will in their own life; before it’s too late! I’m more of an announcer I guess we can say, maybe ringing a bell and sounding an alarm; but it’s all I’ve got. I wrote a couple of paragraphs to another theological site last night speaking candidly about the coming tribulation and this person thought I was saying something amiss regarding the time table to End Time, so I did a bit of clarifying which I want to share here as well. I didn’t plan any of this it was just all spontaneous as I feel deeply in my heart; so just discern all I say and pray to God through Jesus Christ to guide you to the absolute Truth; God’s truth, and you will be fine, please do that.
    Hi and you’re welcome! Believe me I’m no expert about anything to do with End Time but I see many component parts that will be necessary to bring on the events spoken of in the Holy Scriptures! I think President Trump was put in place by God to bring into alignment certain pieces of the puzzle if you will, mainly the recent “Middle East Peace Accords” between Israel and neighboring Arab Nations; something Obama and Biden didn’t scratch the surface on for those eight dark years of the Obama administration; the time period when I had my worst personal trials in my life brought on by very evil, nefarious politically corrupted minions who were huge supporters of him; in my locale. Obama, Trump’s nemesis was doing all the opposite things Trump has done and was hiding the fact that he wanted to crush Israel while ruining America, and who knows he might be the Anti-Christ or at least a huge facilitator with Biden; but I’m positive Obama is at least a very diabolical man having much to do with End Time along with Biden. This to me is a clear sign that the clock is counting down when taken into account with the strong buildup of anti-Israel forces namely Turkey and Iran with even Russia “the Bear” from the North cooperating while Iran this week just announced they have nuclear warheads or at least plenty of enriched uranium to place in missiles; and with Erdogan who has a very bellicose nature on the world stage and his wanting to hurry and bring Turkey back to past Ottoman Empire Stature throughout the Middle East; as well on into Europe, ushering in a giant Islamist Caliphate, and he along with the Ayatollah in Iran want the destruction of Israel, both having even recently said as much! Tying into this is the fact that a wicked highly corrupted man Biden, a puppet for China, who I believe is demonically influenced or even possessed has been illegally installed as President to help facilitate this climate of hate toward Israel, which of course is the key here; to attack God and his chosen children via the birthplace of the Messiah, in these next few years during Biden’s term in office. This may very well match up with the coming “abomination of desolation” when antichrist enters the temple in Jerusalem and declares that he is God. Being that, to me, the man of perdition Biden; has a four year term in this elected office, the commencement of the tribulation could have started with the recent Peace Accords, and this false Presidency in the Nation under God; America. I tend to think this means that Jesus will be coming soon in the next several years but those spared the horrific time of tribulation which will be the 2nd half of this current seven year period under way means the spared faithful will be taken away in the rapture just before the horrors brought by the horses of the apocalypse, which I believe in Scriptures is pointed out when “the abomination of desolation will stand in the holy place of the temple;” the antichrist. Matthew 24:15 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
    Daniel 9:27 indicates that the seven year tribulation period starts with a peace treaty. In conjunction with this now, is that the false Pope Bergoglio has strayed from his real church duties and inserted himself into powers and principalities or corrupted ways of the world, namely the UN and China’s CCP; further throwing the Geo-political stage into further disarray while he encourages these already mentioned events; I see the evil working in him as in these other key world figures as the definite beginning of the end, as they are all diabolically influenced leaders and circumstances! Armies of the nations of the world will be defeated at the Battle of Armageddon. This period of time which we know is called the Great Tribulation by Christ (Matthew 24:21). The Second Coming of Jesus Christ occurs in verses 29-30
    I’ll just say I know from my own personal trials and the ugliness I’ve witnessed or had to suffer due to evil people around me over the last 15 years, the lack of real genuine humanity, while seeing these frenzied evils growing around the world; I can tell without a doubt that we are all on the precipice of hell! We know from WWII history how ugly a turn the world took back then, but they didn’t have anywhere near the technologies and totalitarian capabilities that we have now along with nuclear and biological weapons that will destroy the entire planet and all life on it! We are close to the end believe me! Humans are way too flawed and diseased to fix this nightmare they are building; which is spawned from Satan. This is a frightful time and so many people are wicked; just look at those politicians in Washington, so vile and serpentine in their self-righteous ways! Forked tongue devils on steroids! No, I don’t know enough to be any expert, but, I know hell is close now! Those who want to be saved had better get their affairs in order fast! Turning to the Lord and washing their robes daily in order to not be left out of the wedding banquet.
    …11″But when the king came in to see the guests, he spotted a man who was not dressed in wedding clothes. 12‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But the man was speechless. 13Then the king told the servants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”…Matthew 22:11-13
    I hope my point of view will help you & others who are so tired of all the terribly rotten things that have been going on & still are in our Great Republic under God! God is watching & His plan is perfect even though the best of men’s must eventually fail. Our hope is in Him!

    I want to leave something I find very insightful by a man we all know was a remarkably brilliant person who I think even though his head was immersed in the world of science and theories he had a keen insight into God’s presence and reality like few people can achieve with our limiting cognitive faculties.; and his respect and love of God was present and genuine; therefore we can say God will judge accordingly, I know for myself Einstein was a good and respectful soul in this world, so I do wish him well. What follows I was writing about back at this mentioned date.
    Sunday, May 03, 2009
    Einstein on Self and the Mystical
    “A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.”
    -Albert Einstein, 1954

    “The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the centre of true religiousness.”
    -Albert Einstein – “The Merging of Spirit and Science”

    This man the father of physics had said a few great one liners but two that stand out are these. He referred to God as the “Old One.” He speaking to other physicists was known to have said during a discussion about the Big Bang Theory in which one scientist said that with enough random events occurring in this pre-millisecond before it happened eureka the right combination occurred; Einstein just plainly said; “God doesn’t roll dice.”

    God bless you all.
    Lawrence Morra III

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  4. planechant2 says:

    both Pfizer and Moderna use foetal stem cells in the testing and production of Covid 19 vaccine. See recent post from ‘Children of God for Life’ ,re-posted by ‘Abyssum Abyssa’
    and by ‘umblepie’ on January 8 this year. – https://umblepie-northernterritory.blogspot.com/

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