Pastor's Note for March 7th, A.D. 2021 Third Sunday in Lent

Fr. Higgins


A lot of questions are being raised about the COVID-19 vaccinations. I reproduce here some excerpts from the guidelines issued by our Archdiocese of Boston.

Here is the statement by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, the USCCB, dated December 20, 2020 with regard to the COVID-19 vaccines:

Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine involved the use of cell lines that originated in fetal tissue taken from the body of an aborted baby at any level of design, development, or production. They are not completely free from any connection to abortion, however, as both Pfizer and Moderna made use of a tainted cell line for one of the confirmatory lab tests of their products. There is thus a connection, but it is relatively remote.

Some are asserting that if a vaccine is connected in any way with tainted cell lines then it is immoral to be vaccinated with them. This is an inaccurate portrayal of Catholic moral teaching.

[This pronouncement of our bishops is an act of the ordinary Magisterium. They are properly exercising their Office to settle a matter of conscience for Catholics on a complicated moral issue.]

In a statement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Note on the Morality of Using Some Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines, approved by Pope Francis, December 17th, 2020 we have further guidance:

When ethically irreproachable COVID-19 vaccines are not available, [it is] morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.”

Because of the ongoing, (at this time) uncontrolled/uncontrollable nature of the illness, the CDF in its December 17, 2020 Note states that:

All vaccinations recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in the production of the vaccines derive.

Because the cooperation of the vaccine recipient is so remote the moral duty to avoid such passive material cooperation [with abortion] is not obligatory because there exists a grave danger in the COVID-19 pandemic.

In sum, based on Magisterial guidance, it is morally permissible for Catholics to take the COVID-19 vaccines currently being offered and to take them with a clear conscience.

March 7th, A.D. 2021 Third Sunday in Lent
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton/Needham, Massachusetts

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, 270 Elliot Street, Newton MA 02464   ·   (617) 244-0558
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