Eric Sammons of CrisisMagazine.com gives on Twitter.com (April 10) a summary of the moral and practical considerations for Catholics regarding the COVID-19 vaccines (detailed video below):
“Many Catholic leaders, including many bishops and the pope himself, have stated or suggested that it’s a moral obligation to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in December declared that it is morally permissible to receive an abortion-tainted COVID-19 vaccine, arguing that it is only remote cooperation with evil.
The 2005 Pontifical Academy for Life instruction, however, strongly emphasized that Catholics should do all they can to resist the creation of abortion-tainted vaccines, including conscientious objection to taking them.
Further, a small minority of Catholics, including Bishop Athanasius Schneider, have argued that taking the vaccine is *not* morally permissible.
On the practical side, the COVID-19 vaccines are experimental drugs, and so it’s not unreasonable to be cautious about receiving them for health reasons. In addition, COVID-19 isn’t a major threat to most people, which makes the vaccine unnecessary for many people’s personal health.
The vaccines also don’t prevent you from getting COVID-19, so it’s unclear why a healthy, low-risk person should get it for the common good since he can still potentially spread the virus whether he gets the vaccine or not.
From all the above, it seems clear that no Catholic should feel obligated to get the vaccine.
It’s also clear that a Catholic is justified in refusing to take the vaccine because he believes it is immoral to do so, or in conscientious objection to the abortion connection, or just for practical reasons.
In fact, based on the 2005 PAL document, it seems to me that the default position for the Catholic should be to *not* get this vaccine if at all possible, in order to resist the creation of abortion-tainted vaccines.
At the same time, I can’t imagine that a Catholic who receives the vaccine is sinning by following the guidance of the CDF on this matter.
While the CDF may or may not be properly considering all the moral factors involved, the average Catholic cannot be expected to know all the permutations of this complicated issue. To just trust the CDF on this, it seems to me, is a morally permissible course of action.”