Indian bishops: COVID-19 vaccines are acceptable even if developed with aborted foetuses

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India released a paper providing answers to the ethical questions raised by coronavirus vaccines. “Those who take the available vaccines have only a ‘remote’ and ‘passive’ cooperation with the use of cell lines from aborted human foetuses,” the paper reads. “Due to the serious nature of the disease, and deaths involving vulnerable groups, vaccination can also contribute to the control of the pandemic and the common good.”


Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Catholics can in good conscience receive anti-COVID-19 vaccines produced using cells derived from aborted human foetuses in research and experimentation, this according to a paper released today by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.

Drafted by the Bioethics Forum of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, A Catholic Ethical Response To Questions About Covid-19 Vaccines goes a step further than the position taken by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and addresses the broader issue of social justice and the questions raised by the vaccines.

“Many vaccines use cell lines derived from aborted human foetuses at some stage in their research and production. As abortion is immoral, Catholics need to publicly advocate for the development, testing and production of vaccines which do not use cell lines from the aborted foetuses.”

This, however, does not justify a refusal to receive this type of vaccine. “Those who take the available vaccines have only a ‘remote’ and ‘passive’ cooperation with the use of cell lines from aborted human foetuses”.

“The vaccines do not contain foetal cells. Because of the moral distance from the evil act, these vaccinations are not immoral. Thus, Catholics can receive these vaccines in good conscience. Due to the serious nature of the disease, and deaths involving vulnerable groups, vaccination can also contribute to the control of the pandemic and the common good.”

“Vaccine programs for COVID must keep in mind issues of social justice,” reads the document. “Individuals and institutions must play their part to ensure that the vaccine reaches all beneficiaries, particularly the vulnerable and marginalised.”

“The universal destination of goods requires a common effort, to obtain for every person and for all peoples the conditions necessary for integral development so that all can benefit from, and contribute to, a humane world.”

On a more general level, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India notes that “Contrary to some views, the Catholic Church is not anti-science. However, it strongly believes that there are moral concerns with science and its applications. Catholics need to be aware of the moral implications of scientific developments, and evaluate them in the light of Church teachings.”

“Catholics need to be aware of the moral implications of scientific development, and evaluate them in the light of Church teachings”.

Finally, the document reaffirms the ethical value of individual and collective choices in other aspects that have to do with preventing the spread of the pandemic. “Every individual must diligently follow current public health preventive guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic. These protect the individual and people around them”.

“Stigmatisation of individuals is detrimental to the individual and society. [. . .] Individuals need to be aware that much circulated information may not come from reliable or valid sources. Dissemination of this false information can severely hurt public health efforts to control this pandemic.”

“We must search within ourselves and as institutions, ways in which we can enhance the collective effort to address the pandemic for the good of all, but especially the vulnerable and voiceless.

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