Many Catholics have been horrified to learn that some highly-respected pro-life fellow-Catholics have thrown their support behind the fast-tracked abortion-tainted coronavirus “vaccines.” Many of these adherents base their reasoning on the latest document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith[1], but as has been pointed out elsewhere, the guidelines given in that document can more easily be applied to the opposite position, that is, it is against Catholic teaching to make use of these novel treatments in a bid to protect oneself from contracting COVID-19.

The Holy See‘s latest guidelines draw on two earlier documents relating to the use of aborted fetal tissue in medical treatments: a 2005 document from the Pontifical Academy for Life[2] and  Dignitatis Personae[3], a 2008 document from the CDF. Both of these documents point to four main criteria which need to be met before Catholics may consider the use of abortion-tainted treatments.

Those four criteria, posed as questions, are:

1.    Are there any other treatment available for this condition?

2.    Does the severity of the illness justify the risks of the treatment?

3.    Does my non-acceptance of the treatment jeopardize the health of others?

4.    Have I made known my objections to the use of aborted fetal tissue in medical treatments?

Of these four, one matter is more easily dealt with; that Catholics are obliged to make known their objection to abortion-derived medications. This is achieved, at least in part, quite easily with the proliferation of online petitions that have been circulating since the public were first made aware that abortion-tainted COVID-19 vaccines were in development. The other three issues deserve a closer look, and it needs to be said that – according to at least one commentator, Fr Elias[4] – unless all four of the criteria are met, then the use of an abortion-derived treatment is mortally sinful.

Fr Elias goes on to say that COVID vaccines are illicit based on the very first criteria, “when a safe and effective health intervention that is not tainted by abortion is available to neutralize the health threat”, speaking here of ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and other proven remedies, “it is sinful to use an abortion-tainted health intervention for the health threat.”[5]

The priest then demonstrates that the second criteria is likewise not being met because of the risks posed by COVID vaccines. These risks, which are inherent in the experimental gene therapy that forms their basis are explicitly mentioned in the aforementioned Dignitatis Personae. This states that if a patient is “exposed to risks to his health or physical integrity which are excessive or disproportionate to the gravity of the pathology for which a cure is sought,”[6] then the treatment is not licit.

With daily reports of severe side-effects and even death being linked to COVID vaccines, and with no way of knowing the long-term effects of this kind of treatment, it is quite clear that these therapies present too great a risk. This is especially true in the case of a disease like coronavirus which has an infection fatality rate of less than one per cent for most of the population. The low death-rate from COVID coupled with its targeting of only specific vulnerabilities (age and existing medical problems) also rule out its use based on the third criteria. Thus according to Church documents, it is not licit to use this vaccine.

It should also be noted that even the CDF’s 2020 statement[7] that allows for the use of abortion-tainted treatments in no way condones mandatory vaccinations.

The willing acceptance of abortion-tainted vaccines in some quarters of the Church could never have occurred had the correct moral order been maintained in the response of Her pastors to the spread of coronavirus. From the very beginning, the closure of churches and denial of the sacraments pointed to an elevation of the perceived needs of the body over the needs of the soul.

Christiana de Magistris suggests that, in the name of prudence, the hierarchy of charity has been overturned by the world’s response to the pandemic. Quoting Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, “First, we must love God above all else, then our soul, then our neighbour, and finally our body,”[8] De Magistris points out that what has come to be seen as “care for our neighbour” is such a perversion. True charity seeks the ultimate good of the other. Lockdowns and social distancing, denying visits to the elderly and above all, denying the sacraments are all sins against charity of the greatest magnitude and for the sake of this misguided love of neighbour, souls have been neglected. This is an inversion of the moral order established by God.

The same profound lack of charity is at the heart of the use of abortion-tainted medical treatments. By availing ourselves of these vaccines, we place the perceived needs of our own body above the needs of the children who require that we consistently abhor abortion. While it may be too late for those who have already been killed, there are thousands of other babies who now and in the future rely on adults to oppose the evils of abortion.

Thus the tendency to insist that Catholics – and non-Catholics – present themselves for vaccination poses more than a serious health risk; it is a dangerous new theology of the moral order.

This new “doctrine” teaches that the primary obligation of the Church is to save bodies, and not souls – even at the cost of supporting the abortion industry. By condoning or in some cases, mandating the use of abortion-tainted vaccines, pastors have taught the faithful, and by extension, those outside the Church, to be grateful for gravely immoral actions.

Don Pietro Leone[9] explains that the direct and deliberate killing of a child is only one, gravely immoral act in a whole series of immoral acts and writes of ten different sins involved in developing a vaccine from aborted baby parts. These include torture, desecration, denial of baptism, (so debarring a child from Heaven); theft, manipulation and marketing of body parts; and the violation of the child’s rights.[10]

There are several other principles of moral theology that can be employed to show that the use of the COVID  vaccines are illicit. Fr Phil Wolfe and Fr Michael Copenhagen are two priests to have published papers condemning the use of aborted fetal tissue in medical treatments. Fr Copenhagen refutes the idea that in using abortion-derived vaccines, the cooperation in the sin by the user is remote. He cites the ongoing nature of sins such as theft, desecration and the refusal to bury as proof that there is not enough moral distance between the consumer and the initial murder that provided the tissue.[11]

Fr Wolfe calls on the principle of integral good, ie, an action is good only when all its parts are good[12]. This is commonly invoked as “the ends do not justify the means” principle, and he concludes that it is not licit to use a gravely immoral means to obtain the good end of protecting one’s health or that of one’s child.

Fr Wolfe describes three reasons why we can never escape from the evil inherent in the use of aborted fetal cells. The first is that the vaccine only exists due to the gravely sinful act of abortion. The second is that the vaccine consists of ingredients that were obtained illicitly from their owners – that is, they were stolen from the aborted children. The third principle he cites is that of transcendental justice, that is, the justice owed to God is transgressed. He further argues that although restitution can never be made to the child in this situation, at least transcendental justice can be satisfied if the child’s tissues are allowed to die. This act would break the cycle of ongoing complicity.

This principle is affirmed by Fr Chad Ripperger, a moral theologian, who believes all fetal remains should be buried as their true owner is God. Fr Ripperger demonstrates that all vaccinations tainted by abortion should never be used as medical treatments but should be buried.

Another consideration made by Fr Ripperger is the economic aspect: the use of aborted fetal remains in research, development and testing drives the market for such products. Pamela Acker writes, “As a researcher whose own scientific career was derailed by a refusal to participate in the use of aborted fetal remains, I can validate Father’s supposition. There is an entire industry built around supporting the growth of aborted fetal cells in the laboratory, with special growth media, transfection reagents, analysis kits, and other laboratory paraphernalia all geared towards growing them under ideal conditions in the laboratory.”[13]

Bishop Schneider is one prelate who takes opposition to COVID vaccines extremely seriously, even suggesting to the faithful that we should be prepared to risk imprisonment or death rather than accept them. He likens the current situation to that of the sixteenth century when Thomas More and John Fisher refused to sign Henry VIII’s Oath of Succession. Clearly, the bishop and those others who signed a document[14] condemning the use of abortion-tainted COVID vaccines believe that a line has been drawn in the sand.

Bishop Schneider, as well as touching on issue of cooperation not being remote, (and condemning current pro-vaccine evaluations as “superficial”), also speaks of the proportionality of the crime of abortion. The bishop speaks of abortion’s “exceptional” nature, describing it as “incomparably evil” and reminds that the “ever-daily-growing industry of killing unborn children”[15] puts this crime in a category of its own – one that is not appropriate for the application of the passive or remote cooperation principle.

Christians and Catholics in particular have, by and large, missed a unique opportunity to oppose abortion in the context of the experimental COVID vaccines. This was our chance to bring the attention of virtually every citizen in the entire world to the widespread and immoral practice of using aborted baby parts in the development and testing of medical treatments.

Rather than bring attention to this heinous practice, many who espouse the primacy of conscience over all other factors when it comes to something like receiving Holy Communion in a state of objective mortal sin have no trouble in mandating an experimental, abortion-tainted vaccine for a relatively harmless disease.

Catholics and all people of good will need to take this issue of vaccination very seriously as this is something that will not go away. As Victoria’s fourth lockdown was announced this morning, the acting Premier disingenuously stated that this latest measure was due solely to insufficient vaccination rates. The trajectory is quite obvious; in time they may well become mandatory. But, we must resist and as Bishop Schneider reminds us, we must be aware of the “historical hour” wherein we are being forced to accept a so called “good” from abortion.


[5] ibid
[6] #26
[10] Ibid
[11] Acker, Pam. The Science, Morality & Safety of Vaccines. Kolby Centre. P 121-2
[12] Ibid, p 123-4
[13] ibid, p 124-5.
[15] ibid
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