Catholic Church leadership in the United Kingdom are encouraging people to receive vaccines developed to combat COVID-19, despite some ethical concerns regarding their creation.
The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales released a statement last Thursday regarding the coronavirus vaccine, which was recently approved by British authorities. The Rt. Rev. Richard Moth, chair of the Conference’s Department of Social Justice, acknowledged that there is some debate over “the use of the vaccines developed by Pfizer & BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.”
“Some have questioned the use of the Astra Zeneca vaccine since it has been developed from cell-lines originating from the cells of an aborted foetus in 1983,” stated Moth.
Nevertheless, Moth explained that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Academy of Life have both said that “one may in good conscience and for a grave reason receive a vaccine sourced in this way, provided that there is a sufficient moral distance between the present administration of the vaccine and the original wrongful action.”
“In the COVID-19 pandemic, we judge that this grave reason exists and that one does not sin by receiving the vaccine,” continued Moth. “Each Catholic must educate his or her conscience on this matter and decide what to do, also bearing in mind that a vaccine must be safe, effective, and universally available, especially to the poor of the world.”
“Catholics may in good conscience receive any of these vaccines for the good of others and themselves. In good conscience, one may refuse a particular vaccine but continues to have a duty to protect others from infection.”
The statement echoes an earlier stance by the Conference, released in September, in response to questions about a potential vaccine being developed through the use of aborted fetal tissue.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski