The Vatican has sparked a potentially divisive stand after it gave a clean bill of health on
administration of Covid-19 vaccines linked to abortion.
The Pope yesterday advised the Roman Catholics that it was morally acceptable to use the
vaccines even if their production employed cell lines drawn from tissues of aborted fetuses.
A note from the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith, said the use of such vaccines was permitted as long as there were no alternatives.
Both the Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc vaccines have some connection to cell lines that originated
with tissue from abortions in the last century, according to the US Conference of Catholic
Bishops (USCCB), which issued a separate note to American Catholics last week.
The Vatican note said the granting of moral legitimacy was related to the principle “differing
degrees of responsibility of cooperation in evil.”
“It is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted
fetuses in their research and production process”; the note said.
The statement was issued and signed by the head of the Congregation in response to several
requests for guidelines regarding the use of the vaccine.
But earlier this month, bishops in the U.K. and the U.S. gave the green light to vaccine use, on
the same grounds as the Vatican document.
The Vatican will begin providing the vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc. early next year to its
approximately 5,000 employees and residents and their family members.
It urged the pharmaceutical industry to develop completely ethical vaccines and governments
and international organizations to make them accessible to poorer nations.
The Vatican note said that while the use of vaccines was voluntary, “the common good may
recommend vaccination, especially to protect the weakest and most exposed”.
Pope Francis has repeatedly stressed the importance of distributing the Covid-19 vaccines
“If anyone should be given preference, let it be the poorest, the most vulnerable, those who so
often experience discrimination because they have neither power nor economic resources,”
Pope Francis said in September in a video message to the United Nations General Assembly.