The Vatican and the U.S. bishops have affirmed the morality of several of the recent anti-COVID vaccines, some developed using testing that involved embryonic stem cells. They have evaluated the methods employed for each of the vaccines currently approved and encouraged the use of those least morally compromised. But where options are limited, they say, the faithful will not be sinning by being vaccinated. This teaching follows the orthodox moral analysis that has existed for decades, including the papacies of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. There remain, however, a few loose ends.
We sin when we choose an evil action. We know it is wrong, and we freely do it anyway. We cooperate with the sinful acts of others when we approve of or facilitate their sin. When we vote for a politician because of his pro-abortion positions, we formally cooperate in the evil he promotes. If we oppose his pro-abortion policies and vote for him anyway, we materially cooperate in the evil he supports. If the material cooperation is avoidable (it’s possible to vote for a candidate that has comparatively more morally upright policy positions), we are guilty of the sin.
A nurse who disapproves of abortion but assists an abortionist during the medical procedure also shares in the guilt with “proximate material cooperation.” Hospital maintenance personnel who mop the floors of an abortion facility may or may not be guilty of sin. The clean-up is “remote material cooperation,” but there is an obligation to seek employment elsewhere then, if possible.
These moral analyses are rational, but there are hard cases. In 1972, for example, an airplane crash stranded the Uruguayan rugby team in freezing weather. The survivors ate the bodies of their dead comrades to survive. As grotesque as the situation was, their moral status is certain. There was no formal cooperation in the death of the passengers. Their circumstances were desperate. Finally, there was little or no chance that the cannibalism would encourage murder. But one could hardly blame a person who chose to die rather than to dine on a teammate.
Among the notorious Nazi experiments on concentration camp prisoners (see here):
- Doctors immersed prisoners into tanks of ice water for hours at a time, often dying of exposure, to discover how long German pilots downed by enemy fire could survive the frozen waters of the North Sea.
- To develop a vaccination serum against tuberculosis, doctors injected live tubercle bacilli into the lungs of prisoners. They also removed lymph glands from the arms of twenty Jewish children.
- Doctors amputated the shoulders and legs of inmates in futile attempts to transplant the limbs onto other victims.
- Thousands of inmates had their genitals mutilated to discover cheap methods of mass sterilization.
Is it morally permissible for us today to use Nazi research to save lives? Doctor John Hayward, a Biology Professor at Victoria University, justified his use of the murderous Nazi hypothermia data with the same logic as the bishops and Holy See have applied to some Covid vaccines: “I don’t want to have to use the Nazi data, but there is no other and will be no other in an ethical world. . . .But not to use it would be equally bad. I’m trying to make something constructive out of it. I use it with my guard up, but it’s useful.”
Moral analyses using formal, proximate, and remote material cooperation apply to all of these examples. Yet, there remains an emotional factor. Could we blame family members of the victims for torching the research papers and rejecting those who blithely promote using the findings in the service of the common good?
The American bishops suggest (statement here) that the use of the Covid-19 vaccines is not only morally permissible but a matter of Christian charity: it “should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.”
Still, is a spontaneous disgust and rejection of medical research and vaccines based on unborn baby body parts unreasonable – indeed, sinful? Granting that being vaccinated does not jeopardize our salvation, does refusal constitute sin against charity?
Conspiracy theories abound. Some vaccinations cause sterility. How do we know whether authorities are using the entire population as experimental guinea pigs for population control or other ideological purposes? Conspiracy theories are, sometimes, true.
In 1974, the National Security Council – under Henry Kissinger’s direction – released a classified National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM200). President Ford adopted it as official U.S. policy.
In this extensive secret memorandum was a plan for a massive cultural transformation of Third World countries: “The great necessity is to convince the masses of the population that it is to their individual and national interest to have, on the average, only three and then only two children.” Cultural subversion would occur by targeting “those who are now in elementary school or younger.”
So, given our culture of death, the bishops’ cautions are extremely weak: “[W]e should be on guard so that the new Covid-19 vaccines do not desensitize us or weaken our determination to oppose the evil of abortion itself and the subsequent use of fetal cells in research.” How do we register our protest? Absent large-scale protest, will researchers and pharmaceutical companies pursue alternatives to using aborted baby body parts in their work? Such alternatives seem easily available.
People must push back as they can, and that may include – in some cases – refusing to be vaccinated with a particular vaccine. But they could use the backing of the bishops – and other leaders who understand what is at stake. Our shepherds should show resolve to resist Big Pharma’s Nazi-like experimentation, imposing ecclesiastical censures on transgressing Catholics cooperating in the machinery of death, including pro-abortion politicians at the highest levels of government.
Of course, there would be a public-relations firestorm. But that’s the price to pay if we want to do more than just talk about a “new evangelization.”
The above comes from a Dec. 31 article by Father Jerry Pokorsky on The Catholic Thing website.
This argument is just so dumb. If you only knew the thread of evil that lead to everything you consume, you would lose your mind.
I’m not taking the vaccine for a myriad of reasons but this isn’t one of them. The bishops are weak on many issues but if you want to risk taking an “approved” vaccine you are not Hitler.
Agree. The PC most Catholic’s use has an Intel microprocesser. INTC is heavily invested in homosex support. Same for the OS and browser developers. Should we not fly in jets because the US and Britain used some of the jet engine and high temp metallurgy from German jets in WW2? PLS do not respond to this comment with “yes but…” as it is only intended to show the absurdity that David has pointed out.
Why did 50% of California health care workers refuse to be vaccinated even though they were priority 1 recipients? Because they know the pandemic is a scam and the vaccine is a scam. If this were a true medical emergency, nurses wouldn’t be making dance videos for TikTok and Twitter, and they would eagerly receive the vaccine. It’s scam, folks. Open the churches, restaurants and businesses. Go about your normal lives. Stop wearing the face diaper of submission. You’re being conditioned for totalitarian rule, and most of you are showing you’ll put up no resistance when totalitarianism is enforced. Don’t be a sheep of the Democrat elite.
Regarding your comment that 50% of healthcare workers have refused the vaccine, do you have a source that you can cite?
Steve, perhaps this may help enlighten:
“I don’t want to be a guinea pig,” Sheena Bumpas, a certified nursing assistant at a home in Duncan, Okla., told The New York Times last month.
Since then, thousands of health care workers across the U.S. have refused to get COVID-19 vaccines. “Up to half of health care workers in one California county and a Texas hospital say they will not get the shot, 60 percent of nursing home staff in Ohio are turning down the jab and 40 percent of frontline workers in Los Angeles won’t get it either, polls reveal,” The Daily Mail reported.
Anon at 0:39 AM: You seem like a pretty omniscient chap. Otherwise why would you pretend to speak for people who decide to postpone vaccination?
Maybe they want to see more data about how it affects a population they belong to: pregnant or soon to be pregnant women, African Americans, younger people. Maybe they know they have an allergy to one of the inactive ingredients of the vaccine and want more data about that. Maybe they don’t think they should get the vaccine before their elderly grandparent gets the vaccine.
Because they decline today to receive a vaccine today doesn’t mean they think the virus and the vaccine is scams. Unless you are so omniscient that you can read their minds.
I’m confused. Can someone please explain, in 100 plaIn American English words, the relevance of Nazi data to Covid vaccines?
It’s an analogy. There, that was only three words.
The author appears to change his topic in mid-essay. He starts off questioning the moral legitimacy of some vaccine research, then suddenly concedes the licitness of the vaccines and changes topics.
“Granting that being vaccinated does not jeopardize our salvation, does refusal constitute sin against charity?”
Why take such a wandering path to get to his real point? The Church won’t force him (nor the federal government) to get a shot he doesn’t want. How does he expect the bishops to take the “moral high ground” on a point he’s just conceded? If he’s really just trying to say: “From this point on, we must insist that all new research, etc.”, why all the verbiage?
In charity, I won’t touch the weird conspiracy theories he shoves in the middle of this dog’s dinner.
If God doesn’t provide another way, then why not? Why should I suffer through no fault of my own when a remedy is available? If God thinks the vaccine or the research is evil or tainted, then he has to provide a better way otherwise the current way is the only way.
If this is an occasion where faithful Christians can raise the issue of use of aborted fetal tissue, then, good. We did it with the polio vaccine through informational campaigns that targeted health care organizations and pharmaceutical companies.
Yes we need to be raising the issue. After all, these aborted children never signed the mandatory consent required by law to offer their living bodies or parts of their body for research purposes. Who would of ever dreamed we would live in a society that promotes the killing of innocent human beings for any reason or no reason at all.
….because we want to, because you are inconvenient and because I can, the law says so.
Amazing how bishops who support receiving questionable Covid vaccines as the lesser of two evils would not endorse Trump using the same moral analysis. only in the case of Trump it was more clear what the benefits would be to vote for him than it is what the benefits would be from receiving a rushed vaccine that could sterilize you or even kill you as side effects. Any bishop who opposed Trump but supports the vaccines has lost total credibility.
Trump is hardly the lesser of two evils. His evils are very many, both in his personal life and in the policies he puts out. By the way, the vaccine is only rushed in that they didn’t wait for the results of one stage before initiating the next stage. For example, they have been manufacturing vaccine all this while. Had the stage results not warranted distributing the vaccine, they would have had to destroy the vaccine doses. And it doesn’t sterilize you or kill you. It just doesn’t. We don’t say this because we hope its not true, we say it because we know it’s not true.
I have to laugh when I read these sly continuing attacks on Trump even though the Left believes he’s leaving office and he very well might be. But they cannot help themselves by throwing in disparaging remarks whatever the conversation is. Be careful people the Left is infiltrating all Christian and Catholic sites. They pretend to be something they are not (religious or conservative) and then throw in their hatred for Trump and anything about abortion or same gender confusion they defend and try to convince you of that. They call you hateful for standing up for basic decency or against killing the most innocent. They take both sides to confuse you.
Let’s be honest, in the end we will all stand alone before the Almighty and All Powerful Creator. We will be allowed no excuses or justifications. So we all should get our houses in order. Good thing the Catholic Faith has so many ways to prepare us to take this journey . Me I would rather lose my life here if it means I save my soul. Nothing here is worth losing your soul over. We are accountable to God for all our thoughts, actions and deeds, or lack their of.
We just heard this week from the Church that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.
This article from a good Catholic publication made me sick. I think all of the Nazi research data should be forever destroyed– let no one ever again have access to such Satanic material. Worthless. Horrible. Destroy it all. And honor the poor Jews who were evilly harmed by this Satanic “research.” As for cannibalism– that should be forever and ever against the law. The families of the rugby team members who were eaten, with no respect nor dignity — should have sued the cannibalists– and that rugby club should have been ended. No excuses. Unmanly. Un-Christian. Die with honor, in the freezing cold, alongside your poor dead teammates– and never act like a wild, rabid, uncivilized, Godless, lawless, ignorant animal, eating your teammates’ flesh to “stay alive.” No way. If God wants you to live, you will live. Otherwise, die decently and honorably.
The Japanese had Unit 731, where they performed horrible experiments on prisoners during World War II. In exchange for the experimental data, U.S. occupying forces chose not to prosecute the perpetrators for war crimes.