These are certainly extraordinary times. The pandemic has driven the fear level of everyone through the roof and changed our lives. Families have been separated, some forever, and many of our faith practices have changed so drastically that many people feel disconnected from the Catholic Church, and in some cases God. The pandemic raises once again the question “why do bad things happen to good people” and despite many attempts to answer that question, we just do not know. We do know that throughout this challenging time God is still with us every day. Prayer may be challenging as well, but faith teaches us that God always hears our prayers and answers them – although that answer may not be what we were looking for or expected. Our medical community have been heroic in the treating of those that are ill in many cases at their own personal sacrifice. These holy men and women are living the Gospel day in and day out in their everyday lives. My favorite reading in scripture is Matthew:25-31-46 The Judgement of the Nations and exemplifies for me how everyone working to save lives and provide care especially during the pandemic are living the Gospel. The section below touches my heart every time I read it.
35 ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
37 Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
The good news is the amazing scientists in the medical community have come up with a vaccination to protect us from coronavirus and this is being deployed as quickly as is possible to protect the people. Like many Catholics I was ecstatic to learn the vaccine was effective and approved for use and then I learned that the vaccinations utilized cell lines obtained from the tissue of aborted fetus’ back in the 80s. Like many people, I absolutely abhor abortion and believe that abortion is the primary reason that many in society today look at people as disposable be it the unborn, the sick and elderly, and those having committed horrific crimes against others. For many Catholics, the inclusion of cells from aborted babies in the vaccine creates a real moral quandry as to whether to take the vaccine or not. I asked myself “how do I reconcile my position on abortion and take the vaccine?” On December 21st, the Pope released a statement indicating that it is “morally acceptable” for Catholics to take the vaccine since there are no alternatives that do not utilize fetal cell lines.
The main reason to question the morality of the vaccine rests on the type of “cooperation” with the abortion:
“The CDF says the reason for considering these vaccines morally licit is the “kind of cooperation” in the evil of abortion, which is “remote” on the part of those receiving the vaccine.”
The chart below was published by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia highlight the churche’s position on cooperating with evil:
The good news is Catholics can take the vaccine for coronavirus and should not feel compromised from a moral perspective based on the Catholic Church’s position. Some may still struggle with this issue, and I encourage those that do to bring this to God in prayer. God wants what is best for us and the Pope’s statement was designed to help those that are conflicted to bring them some peace around this critical issue.