Days after some Catholic bishops shared misinformation on social media about Covid-19 vaccines that may soon hit the market, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops distributed a memo to all U.S. bishops stating that at least two of the vaccines are considered ethically sound. The memo also reminded bishops that church teaching allows for even the widespread use of vaccines whose origins are considered ethically unsound when other treatments are unavailable.
The Catholic Church teaches that it is unethical to use stem cells derived from aborted fetuses in medical research. Earlier this month, two bishops called into question the moral permissibility of using two vaccines created in the United States by Pfizer and Moderna, both of which appear headed toward regulatory approval. But the memo rejects those claims.
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“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,” reads the Nov. 23 memo, signed by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, who chairs the bishops’ committee on doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, the head of the committee on pro-life activities.
The internal memo obtained by America corrects “some confusion in the media regarding the moral permissibility of using the vaccines.” But that confusion is not limited to unspecified media reports. At least two bishops have cast doubt on the moral permissibility of the vaccines.