• Richard Easson

Catholic Bishops Warning Parishioners Against J&J COVID-19 Vaccine

At least two Catholic bishops in the U.S. have sent a warning to their parishioners to not receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The recently approved J&J COVID-19 vaccine was called out by the Archdiocese of New Orleans in a statement saying that it is “morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing.” The Archdiocese advised Catholics to instead opt for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

The announcement contradicts a statement released by the Vatican in December that deemed it “morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process” if no “ethically irreproachable” vaccines are available.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke favorably of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, saying that their link to aborted fetus tissue was remote and therefore morally acceptable, but advised Catholics to avoid the AstraZenica vaccine, if possible. They had not released a statement on the J&J vaccine, though.

Catholic ethicists have said that the use of fetal tissue in its production makes the J&J vaccine a cause for concern. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, on the other hand, utilized aborted tissue in lab testing.

According to one of the ethicists that the New Orleans archdiocese consulted with before making its announcement, Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, “Importantly, the Catholic Church does not condemn the J & J vaccine or any other vaccine,” Fr. Pacholczyk said. “Someone with a sufficiently serious reason, such as a threat to one’s health, could use any of the three Covid-19 vaccines.”

Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who leads the New Orleans archdiocese, stated that taking the vaccine is ultimately “a decision of individual conscience.” According to the state’s department of health, at least 150,000 in the area of southeastern Louisiana where New Orleans is located, have had at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine so far.

Late last year, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, tweeted his strong opposition to the Moderna vaccine because of its connection to abortion and said it was “not morally produced.”

Last month, Bishop Strickland tweeted, “The fact remains that ANY vaccine available today involves using murdered children before they could even be born. I renew my pledge…I will not extend my life by USING murdered children.”