By Judie Brown
As we have noted elsewhere, the COVID-19 pandemic has created hysteria, panic, and opportunities for what was once considered evil to be passed off as good, all under the guise of doing what is best for the majority of our human family members.
Perhaps it is the combination of all these factors that caused the American Catholic bishops to say in a December 14 statement:
In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines.
Receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community. In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.
The bishops refer to the directly murdered preborn babies whose bodies provided those cell lines as “morally compromised.” We would suggest that the murder of babies is clearly grave and immoral, not merely morally compromised.
Further, the bishops tell us that receiving one of these tainted vaccines is actually an act of charity. But the last time we looked in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we found that “charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.”
The preborn child is our neighbor. He or she is not expendable.
In truth, since these vaccines are not only tainted but far too hastily produced, and in some cases genetically engineered, wisdom dictates that the potential user should weigh all the facts in consultation with a physician, not a group of Catholic bishops.
Three weeks prior to the bishops’ press release, a memorandum, written by Bishop Kevin Rhoades—chairman of the Committee on Doctrine—and Archbishop Joseph Naumann, was circulated to every bishop in the country. In that memo, the bishops laid out the case for their subsequent press release. This memorandum was lacking.
In searching for guidance on this matter, we did not rely on our own interpretation of the words in those documents. Instead, we listened to Bishop Joseph Strickland and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, two men of God who see things differently.
Strickland declared: “We must denounce any COVID-19 vaccine that is developed using the body parts of aborted children and demand that the pharmaceutical industry use ethical practices. Protect the gift of human life at all ages and stages.”
Any link to the abortion process, even the most remote and implicit, will cast a shadow over the Church’s duty to bear unwavering witness to the truth that abortion must be utterly rejected. The ends cannot justify the means. We are living through one of the worst genocides known to man. Millions upon millions of babies across the world have been slaughtered in their mother’s womb, and day after day this hidden genocide continues through the abortion industry, biomedical research and fetal technology, and a push by governments and international bodies to promote such vaccines as one of their goals. Now is not the time for Catholics to yield; to do so would be grossly irresponsible. The acceptance of these vaccines by Catholics, on the grounds that they involve only a “remote, passive and material cooperation” with evil, would play into the hands of the Church’s enemies and weaken her as the last stronghold against the evil of abortion.
There is nothing debatable in what these bishops have said. But, as we realize, in the age of mass hysteria and panic, sometimes there are those who believe that the ends do justify the means, no matter how deadly the means.
Understanding that, we ask you to consider these profound words from the patron of Catholic priests, St. John Marie Vianney: “Do not try to please everybody. Try to please God, the angels, and the saints—they are your public.”
Reflect on those words and please be strong, be vigilant, and pray for the bishops and for our nation. None of us is called by God to dabble in death.