US bishops approve use of coronavirus vaccines with ‘remote connection’ to abortion

The United States bishops’ conference has said that Catholics can take two of the three available COVID-19 vaccines, even though they were developed with a “remote connection” to “morally compromised” cell lines.

In a statement released Monday, the bishops also said it is morally permissible in some circumstances to receive a third vaccine, developed in close connection with aborted cell lines, but that Catholics cannot allow the pandemic to “desensitize” or “weaken our determination” to oppose the evil of abortion.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the chair of the USCCB’s doctrine committee, and Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s pro-life activities committee, outlined their concerns about the vaccines in statement dated December 11 and published on Dec. 14. Widespread rollout of coronavirus vaccine began in the United States on Dec. 14.

“In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines,” said the bishops.

Taking one of those vaccines, said the bishops, “ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community.”

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