YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There is a discussion in the Catholic church about the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
The one-shot vaccine was approved for emergency use on February 27, but some have concerns. Church leaders say they are urging Catholics to avoid the vaccine if possible because of its connection to abortion-derived cells.
The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown says it is focused more on the overall well-being of the community.
“There’s been a question raised about whether or not it is morally permissible to use the vaccine that was developed, tested and produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines,” said Monsignor John Zuraw.
On March 2, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but it was followed by an explanation for Catholics still hoping to be vaccinated.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Monsignor Zuraw echoes those sentiments.
“In a moment of crisis, in a moment of emergency, we have to look at what is best for the common good. And by giving permission, we are not condoning what they’re doing, but we’re simply articulating that we have no choice. We need vaccinations,” Monsignor Zuraw said.
And for Catholics still feeling torn, the Vatican offered the following assurance in December:
It is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
“This moves toward the common good, helping the good of all individuals that need the vaccine so that we can move from this pandemic in healthier ways,” Monsignor Zuraw said.
You might be wondering why there wasn’t a similar concern with the first two approved vaccines. Catholic leaders say that’s because “Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them but not in their production,” according to the United States Council of Bishops.
Monsignor Zuraw said now they are focused on stopping this situation altogether.
“The conversation continues, and we’re encouraging these pharmaceutical companies to avoid these cell lines,” he said. “We are living in unprecedented times, and sometimes we have to use what is given to us to derive the greater good.”