Bishop urging Catholics not to get vaccine, says stem cells were used

Coronavirus

LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — It’s a bit of mixed messaging for the faithful regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. The Fresno bishop leads more than a million Catholics and he’s told them not to jump on the vaccine bandwagon due to ethical concerns. And he singles out the company in the news Friday that is at the forefront.

“I must tell you that there are some very serious problems with a number of the vaccines, including the Pfizer vaccine that’s being promoted as we speak,” said Bishop Joseph Brennan, Diocese of Fresno.

In a message posted to the Diocese of Fresno website this week, Bishop Joseph Brennan urged Catholics not to take the COVID vaccine if its development involved the use of fetal cells.

“I won’t be able to take a vaccine, I just won’t, my brothers and sisters. And I encourage you not to if it was developed with material from stem cells that were derived from a baby who was aborted or material, that was cast off from artificial insemination of a human embryo. That’s morally unacceptable for us,” said Bishop Brennan.

NewsNation requested an interview with Bishop Brennan but was not available for comment at the time, however Pfizer has said its vaccine is developed without fetal or embryonic cells.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center has been tracking and analyzing the process.

“It is not associated with abortion derived cell lines in terms of its development, in terms of its production. And the only really ethical taint associated with it, is the confirmatory testing which used the HEK, the human embryonic kidney cell line,” said Dr. Joseph Meaney, President National Catholic Bioethics Center.

The bioethicist described it as a double checking of effectiveness which was far removed from production.

“There’s no moral issue there for Catholics,” said Dr. Meaney.

Dr. Grazie Christie of The Catholic Association calls the vaccine ethically safe.

“If there was a moment in sometime during the production early on of the vaccine or the development of the vaccine when these lines were used, we are so far removed from it as consumers that we have no ethical responsibility or ethical fault if we use the vaccine,” said Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, Policy Advisor at The Catholic Association.

Bishop Brennan mentions that other vaccines are still in development that are completely clear of lines linked to fetal cells.

With people of all faiths eager to return to their houses of worship, Dr. Christie notes that the Bishop of Fresno does not lead all Catholics.

“We need to be very careful with our moral theology and also our science and make sure we arrive at the right conclusion and not get confused,” said Dr. Christie.

“It would be an individual choice. They would have to look inside their consciences and decide if they’re comfortable or not with that very tangential relationship to abortion,” said Dr. Meaney.

Two pro-life groups, including the John Paul II Medical Institute, have listed the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as “ethically uncontroversial.”

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