Let us begin with a prayer for our bishops entrusting them to Our Heavenly Mother.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
In this article I am coming back to the subject of vaccination and the moral position with regards to material co-operation in vaccines which have been produced by unethical means. This is a difficult subject matter because many people, who have serious moral reservations about taking the vaccines are coming under pressure get vaccinated. This article is not meant to be a judgement on those who have already taken the vaccines in good conscience, as much of the information coming from authoritative Catholic sources favours the vaccines or states that one can take any of the current Covid vaccines without any moral qualms.
Those Catholics who have taken the vaccines are not responsible for the erroneous information they have been given, they accepted this information in good faith and in most cases it was given in good faith. Therefore the question of culpability is not certain.
That the information given in relation to the moral acceptability of abortion tainted vaccines is erroneous comes from the fact that the eminent Catholics who favour this position have based their arguments on the false premise that the only grave evil that needs to be taken into consideration with regard to co-operation, is the evil of an abortion that happened many decades ago.
I recently responded to one of those eminent Catholics and whilst space does not allow me to publish the full response here, it can be found on Life Site News under the heading “Why I oppose the argument for the moral liceity of covid vaccination”. It is also available on our Lumen Fidei website.
One of the purposes of that article is to provide moral strength and courage to those who have a moral objection to abortion tainted vaccines. If you have studied this issue as I have, you will realise that a key aspect of the globalists plan to ‘reset’ the world and to take us away from Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church, is to get as many people as possible to accept routine vaccinations. These globalists are not acting out of a sense of Catholic morality, one finds that these are the same globalists who promote the right to abortion.
In the last issue we showed where one Church in Dublin was unjustly demanding that grandparents of children to be baptised had to be vaccinated if they wanted to attend the baptism.
Another country parish in Ireland recently published a notice in their weekly bulletin that said that preference for attendance at Holy Mass would be given to those who were vaccinated and that Mass times during the week would be held at times that favoured those age groups who were most likely to have been vaccinated. Thank God, there was a backlash against this proposal and the parish priest, seeing his mistake, dropped the plan.
The Irish government is adopting similar tactics with what they call a ‘vaccine bonus’. In reality, there is no bonus for those who are vaccinated. Living a normal life without undue government interference, is not a bonus. The real policy is to punish, threaten and frighten those who do not want the vaccine in order to break down their resistance.
It is important that, despite the differences in opinion, we have a robust discussion on this topic in order to arrive at the truth of the matter. The truth sets us free and allows us to make proper decisions that help us to serve God in how we live our lives.
The response I recently published was to Professor Roberto de Mattei, who has published a booklet which claims that one can morally take the abortion tainted Covid-19 vaccines. I strongly disagree with this position for the following reasons.
One of the foundational principles of moral theology is that one cannot do evil even though good may come of it. Another is that Catholics should seek to avoid all co-operation with evil.
The Catholic Church has long recognised that there are times when it may not be possible to avoid all co-operation with evil and has therefore enunciated an in-depth moral theology on this very point. Matters to be considered include the gravity of the evil in question, whether there are alternatives to co-operating in the evil, the duty to publicly oppose the evil in question and to do all in one’s power to bring the evil to an end, the necessity of the good that is being sought which may involve co-operation with evil.
When looking at these issues we must be careful to make accurate distinctions. In the first paragraph of Professor de Mattei’s booklet, he speaks of “the moral liceity of anti-Covid vaccines”. This is not the same as the moral liceity of taking a vaccination against Covid.
Vaccines and other medicines which use stem-cells from aborted babies in their production can never be morally licit as a deliberate evil is done – the procuring of organs from an electively aborted baby – to create the vaccines. This contradicts the first principle of moral theology – it is never licit to do evil, even though good may come of it.
As Saint Paul says, “And not rather (as we are slandered, and as some affirm that we say) let us do evil, that there may come good? whose damnation is just.” (Romans 3:8)
Professor de Mattei goes to great lengths at the beginning of the book to outline the moral question that faces us however, he errs because he only looks at the grave sin of abortion.
“Does the receipt of, or if I am a doctor, the injection of vaccines, render me complicit in abortion, hence committing a grave sin?” (MLV pg.7)
There are other grave sins involved in the making of these vaccines and co-operation with these other evils must be morally assessed separate to the co-operation with abortion. These other evils are not addressed in Professor de Mattei’s booklet which renders his arguments defective.
That these other issues must be addressed is confirmed by the instruction ‘Dignitas Personae’ of the Congregation for the Doctrine and the Faith.
“The use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person”. These forms of experimentation always constitute a grave moral disorder.” (DP 34)
“Proposals to use these embryos for research or for the treatment of disease are obviously unacceptable because they treat the embryos as mere “biological material” and result in their destruction. The proposal to thaw such embryos without reactivating them and use them for research, as if they were normal cadavers, is also unacceptable.” (DP 19)
“Therefore, it needs to be stated that there is a duty to refuse to use such “biological material” even when there is no close connection between the researcher and the actions of those who performed the artificial fertilization or the abortion, or when there was no prior agreement with the centres in which the artificial fertilization took place. This duty springs from the necessity to remove oneself, within the area of one’s own research, from a gravely unjust legal situation and to affirm with clarity the value of human life.” (DP 35)
The instruction ‘Donum Vitae’ of the congregation also confirms this.
“The corpses of human embryos and fetuses, whether they have been deliberately aborted or not, must be respected just as the remains of other human beings. In particular, they cannot be subjected to mutilation or to autopsies if their death has not yet been verified and without the consent of the parents or of the mother. Furthermore, the moral requirements must be safeguarded that there be no complicity in deliberate abortion and that the risk of scandal be avoided”. (DV section 4 para 3)
It is therefore sad to read Professor de Mattei dismiss this concern as being ‘peripheral’.
“Here, however, we are discussing the murder of innocents, not possession of the mortal remains of a victim, a problem which is entirely peripheral.” (MLV pg.52)
Professor de Mattei also compares the corpses of aborted babies to stolen treasure buried in a field, and to stolen goods (MLV pg.52). To speak of the human body of a murdered innocent child in such crass terms, is disrespectful and not worthy of the eminent professor.
He also cites Professor Danilo Castellano on the use of cadavers who in turn cites the case of the air accident of the Andes in 1972, where the survivors were obliged to feed on the bodies of their deceased travel companions.
As previously noted in the instruction ‘Dignitas Personae’ of the Congregation for the Doctrine and the Faith, it is not acceptable to treat the bodies of murdered innocent children “as if they were normal cadavers” (DP 19)
The comparison is not valid for another reason. There are no pilots deliberately crashing planes in the Andes so that the survivors can eat off the dead corpses of their fellow passengers. There are abortionists however, who are deliberately killing children in order to sell their organs to universities and to pharmaceutical laboratories and it is quite probable, given that the demand is for ‘fresh’ organs, that some of these children may not be dead when their organs are taken. We are dealing with a whole industry that is abominable and we must take cognizance of all of the evils being committed, not just the act of abortion which facilitates the other evils.
To understand the great dignity of the human body one has only to look to Our Lady. After her death, Our Lord did not allow corruption to touch her sinless body. She was assumed body and soul into heaven. Our Lady was conceived without original sin and, whilst the bodies of the innocent aborted children are tainted by original sin, they are not tainted by actual sin and therefore they have a dignity that is greater than the bodies of those whose lives have been tainted by actual sin.
One cannot treat the remains of aborted children ‘as if they were normal cadavers’, because they are not ‘normal cadavers’. They are still to be respected because of their great dignity, having been created in the image and likeness of God. This is not a peripheral issue because the use of ‘biological material’ from a deliberately aborted baby is also a grave evil, therefore unacceptable and a Catholic cannot have formal co-operation in the desecration of the corpse of a deliberately aborted human child regardless of whether they had formal co-operation in the abortion itself.
Another weakness in Professor Roberto de Mattei’s analysis is that he does not seem to see the shift in emphasis that has occurred within the Vatican documents he cites in relation to the vaccination issue. He sees it in other areas, including in the document Amoris Laetitia.
“However, it could be objected that fifteen years is not sufficient time to attribute infallibility to the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church as expressed in these documents, or for its being closed to reform, especially since over recent decades we have seen the ecclesiastical authorities adopt ambiguous and, at times, erroneous moral positions. It suffices to recall the debate prompted by Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia of 19 March 2016.” (MLV pg.9)
The position adopted in recent Vatican documents from the Congregation for the Doctrine and the Faith, most notably those of 2017 and of 2020, contradict the position of the 2005 letter of the Pontifical Academy for Life which was approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The 2005 letter states:
“As regards the preparation, distribution and marketing of vaccines produced as a result of the use of biological material whose origin is connected with cells coming from foetuses voluntarily aborted, such a process is stated, as a matter of principle, morally illicit, because it could contribute in encouraging the performance of other voluntary abortions, with the purpose of the production of such vaccines.”
“Therefore, doctors and fathers of families have a duty to take recourse to alternative vaccines (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available. They should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection with regard to the use of vaccines produced by means of cell lines of aborted human foetal origin. Equally, they should oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting rigorous legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.”
“In any case, there remains a moral duty to continue to fight and to employ every lawful means in order to make life difficult for the pharmaceutical industries which act unscrupulously and unethically.” (above quotations from the Pontifical Academy for Life’s 2005 letter)
All of this was dismissed in the 2017 and 2020 documents which, contrary to the 2005 letter, endorse the use of these immorally produced vaccines.
“Especially in consideration of the fact that the cell lines currently used are very distant from the original abortions and no longer imply that bond of moral cooperation indispensable for an ethically negative evaluation of their use.” (2017 note)
“As for the question of the vaccines that used or may have used cells coming from voluntarily aborted fetuses in their preparation, it must be specified that the “wrong” in the moral sense lies in the actions, not in the vaccines or the material itself.” (2017 note)
“The technical characteristics of the production of the vaccines most commonly used in childhood lead us to exclude that there is a morally relevant cooperation between those who use these vaccines today and the practice of voluntary abortion. Hence, we believe that all clinically recommended vaccinations can be used with a clear conscience and that the use of such vaccines does not signify some sort of cooperation with voluntary abortion.” (2017 note)
“In this sense, when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available (e.g. in countries where vaccines without ethical problems are not made available to physicians and patients, or where their distribution is more difficult due to special storage and transport conditions, or when various types of vaccines are distributed in the same country but health authorities do not allow citizens to choose the vaccine with which to be inoculated) it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.” (2020 note)
The “grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems;” (2005 letter) has unfortunately been abandoned in the later documents.
As noted above, Professor Roberto de Mattei raises the question of infallibility and bases his moral support for vaccines on the position that it is the magisterium of the Church that is speaking. But, because these documents are saying contradictory things, it clearly shows that they cannot be part of the infallible magisterium of the Church and that they are indeed open to question. In 2017, the duty not to use these vaccines if possible and the duty to oppose these immorally produced vaccines “by all means”, is no longer stated and there is a suggestion that the passage of time can somehow change the morality of the production methods and lessen the immorality of the origins of these vaccines. Such a position is incompatible with Catholic moral thinking. Professor de Mattei has not picked up on this point.
On page 41 of MLV, Professor de Mattei begins a section titled “Moral co-operation with the past?” Once again, because he is solely focused on the immorality of abortion to the exclusion of other gravely evil matters, he consigns the immorality connected with these vaccines to the distant past. This is not the case. Just last year, in 2020, vaccines were immorally developed using cell-lines from an aborted child and these vaccines are being produced in the current year. We are not dealing with long past immoral actions and so this section of Professor de Mattei’s work is deeply flawed.
Professor de Mattei quotes Professor Stefano Kampowski, who says “The past cannot be changed. No one today can assist in the performance of someone else’s past action any more than he or she can prevent it.” (MLV pg.47)
Whilst this is true, present immoral actions can and must be changed. Vaccine manufacturers can and must stop using all cell-lines obtained from aborted children, but they will not do this as long as there are Catholics who defend the products they make through the immoral use of the bodies of aborted children. One can assist in these present actions and indeed one is assisting by taking the immorally produced vaccines. It would seem to me, that because one is actually taking the immorally produced product, that the co-operation with this evil is proximate and not remote.
To explain proximate co-operation in evil, Professor Roberto de Mattei gives the example of a man holding a ladder for a burglar. But to make the analogy more relevant, in this case, the burglar has murdered the woman of the house and has cut off her hand because it is reputed to have healing properties. He has then made a potion from the severed hand and offers it to the man holding the ladder. I would argue that the man holding the ladder, is in danger of formal co-operation in the evil because he knows the origin of the potion he is given.
The current Vatican position, supported by many eminent Catholics, is exacerbating the situation of immorally produced vaccines and medicines because it creates a potential market for billions of tainted, immorally produced, vaccines and other medicines. The level of scandal being given is huge, especially for those women who have had abortions and who have returned to their faith. The Vatican is telling them that it is acceptable to have medicines injected into their bodies which may have been produced using the dead bodies of their own children.
Professor de Mattei also joins those who seem to misunderstand the concept of the ‘common good’ and speaks of the common good only in terms of this world and the health of the body.
St Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologiae, addressing the question of whether God is the final cause of all things tells us:
“But it does not belong to the First Agent, Who is agent only, to act for the acquisition of some end; He intends only to communicate His perfection, which is His goodness; while every creature intends to acquire its own perfection, which is the likeness of the divine perfection and goodness. Therefore the divine goodness is the end of all things.” (Summa Theologiae, First Part, Question 44, Article 4)
The ‘Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church’, published by the ‘Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’ in 2004, has this to say about the common good.
“The common good of society is not an end in itself; it has value only in reference to attaining the ultimate ends of the person and the universal common good of the whole of creation. God is the ultimate end of his creatures and for no reason may the common good be deprived of its transcendent dimension, which The Catholic Response moves beyond the historical dimension while at the same time fulfilling it. This perspective reaches its fullness by virtue of faith in Jesus’ Passover, which sheds clear light on the attainment of humanity’s true common good. Our history — the personal and collective effort to elevate the human condition — begins and ends in Jesus: thanks to Him, by means of Him and in light of Him every reality, including human society, can be brought to its Supreme Good, to its fulfilment. A purely historical and materialistic vision would end up transforming the common good into a simple socio-economic well-being, without any transcendental goal, that is, without its most intimate reason for existing.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church – 170)
Abortion denies the common good of those aborted by depriving them of the grace of Baptism and of the beatific vision. We should not profit on the bodies of these poor unfortunate souls simply because we seek to protect ourselves from diseases which can be countered in other ways and which, in the case of covid-19, do not represent a significant threat to the vast majority of the population. As the Pontifical Academy for Life reminded us in 2005, we still have “a moral duty to continue to fight and to employ every lawful means in order to make life difficult for the pharmaceutical industries which act unscrupulously and unethically.”
The best way to stop the production of these immoral vaccines is to ‘kill’ the market by refusing to accept ethically compromised vaccines. The immoral production of vaccines and other medicines continues to increase in our world precisely because the market for these morally compromised products is still growing and sadly, this market is now being fuelled by the statements coming from certain sections of the Catholic Church.
This situation is also being used by malevolent forces to divide the pro-life community with conflicts arising between those who accept the vaccines and those who do not accept them. From what I have seen, and I count myself in the group that does not accept the vaccines, the Catholics on either side of this issue seek to live their lives according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
In any area of conflict, both parties cannot be correct, either one or other of the parties is right and the other wrong, or both are wrong. Let us strive to maintain charity in our dealings with those who disagree with us on this issue and let us continue to have robust discussion whilst maintaining respect for all involved in this sad situation, where the bodies of aborted babies are being unjustly used for commercial and other research purposes and let us pray and work for an end to abortion and for the creation of a Catholic society founded on the family which consists of the marriage of one man and one woman and their biological children.