VATICAN CITY (CNS): The Vatican has urged parents to use caution when deciding not to inoculate their children against infectious diseases when so-called “ethical vaccines” are not yet available.
In a paper, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life reaffirmed a person’s right to abstain from receiving vaccines that were prepared from cells derived from aborted foetuses, but it said such a choice must be made after carefully considering whether refusing the vaccination would pose serious health risks to the child and the larger public.
“We are responsible for all people, not just ourselves,” Msgr Jacques Suaudeau, a medical doctor and official at the Pontifical Academy for Life, told Catholic News Service.
The academy’s paper, “Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared From Cells Derived From Aborted Human Foetuses”, was based on a study of the issue resulting from a request by a Florida based pro-life group, Children of God for Life.
Debi Vinnedge, who heads Children of God for Life, told Catholic News Service that Catholics who wanted to conscientiously object to the “tainted” vaccines by refusing inoculation had been refused entry into Catholic schools because they lacked the full array of immunisations required by state laws in the US.
Ms Vinnedge said in a phone interview from Florida that the organisation had been hoping for “a strong statement” from the Vatican declaring the immorality of using vaccines from human cell lines derived from abortions, but the Vatican approved study did not give the group the absolutes for which it was looking.
Msgr Suaudeau, who helped oversee the study, said the document accurately reflected Church teaching.
He said the study “in general supports the right of parents to not accept vaccinations” that are connected with abortion.
But in particular cases, the use of morally objectionable vaccines can be morally justified according to the principle of proportionate reason and because there is a “hierarchy in morals”, he told CNS.
He said the academy’s study “takes a balanced stance”, explaining the different forms and degrees of co-operation with evil and “the concerns about public health”.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.