When the vaccines became available as “protection” against Coronavirus-19 in the Spring of 2021, I needed to think about whether I should get vaccinated or not.
A friend of mine, a micro-biologist and devout Catholic, was the first to bring to my attention that the vaccines were the product of test/development/experimented on aborted fetal cell lines. My immediate reaction was “negative”: I could not take these vaccines. I also inquired with a couple of priests.
I continued to study the subject of aborted fetal cell lines reading the findings from the Charlotte Lozier Institute; I listened to a video conference given by Janet Smith, The Morality of Covid Vaccines; I also read the work of the Catholic microbiologist, Pamela Acker, Vaccination: the Catholic Perspective.
As more and more of my network of Catholics contacts were getting vaccinated including clergy, I wondered whether I should not be doing what others were doing given the strong push for vaccination, Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson. I held nothing against those who decided to get vaccinated. They had their reasons. But what would be mine?
I heard about the “charity” argument; indeed, as Christians, charity is central to living out our faith. Vaccination as an act of charity towards our community, the common good, not just to protect ourselves but to protect others. The focus on charity was appealing, but the arguments did nothing for me. I simply was not convinced by the “common good” reasoning.
If Canadians were concerned about the common good, we would not have the abortion industry that we have. And if we had the collective determined effort to end abortion in Canada, we would be saving more lives from abortion than from Covid. In 2018 there were 83,576 abortions in Canada (Government of Canada Statistics); in 2021 there were 30,331 “Covid-related” deaths (Public Health Agency of Canada). Certainly, we can protest and demonstrate against abortion; but what personal measures can we take to defend life of the preborn baby, the most vulnerable of our community?
Am I to believe that the common good is to be taken seriously, as an incentive to get vaccinated, while we do not have any laws to protect the unborn?
I have heard the “remote material co-operation” of moral theologians which almost gives legitimacy to abortion-tainted vaccination since there is no “formal co-operation” where the person is directly implicated in the abortion. This means someone who gets vaccines that have been either tested/developed/ experimented with aborted fetal cell lines – would not be directly or “formally” participating in sin which is why the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (December 21, 2020) gave its approval under the Covid-19 pandemic conditions.
There is now one last hurdle; my conscience. My conscience simply tells me, “you cannot get vaccinated.” I have a moral duty to listen to my conscience knowing that it is guided by both Natural Law and Revelation, my intelligence and Sacred Scriptures, to be vaccinated would violate fundamental Christian ethics, and thereby, offend God.
The moral duty to follow one’s conscience is taught in the Catholic Catechism (CCC #1776-1777) and we find this in St. Thomas Aquinas as well (Summa Theologiae, I, 79, 13). My moral duty is to listen to the voice of God in the light of what I know and this is what “conscience” means: “with knowledge.”
The one who gives us human dignity is not the Queen nor the Pope, not the Prime Minister and not even the Medical Health Officer, but God who created us with the dignity to be created in His image and likeness. After the Fall, Christ restored this dignity at or Baptism. We are freed by Christ. Nobody else. The exercise of our freedom and intelligence is what makes us human, by choosing good, a higher good, or evil; and such decisions require informed consent, not coercion, and not bullying, otherwise, we are no longer treated with the dignity of human beings.
When I went to see my medical doctor for a consultation I told him I would not get vaccinated. And I asked him what kind of health treatment I would get if I got Covid. Fortunately, my medical doctor is a practising Roman Catholic, he dealt with numerous Covid patients, none died, and he said he would give me the best care he could. We had a discussion on alternative non-vaccine treatments such as Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine, and Monoclonal Antibodies. I was thinking of the extensive treatment of Covid patients and findings of Dr. Peter McCullough. My doctor simply told me he was not authorised to prescribe any of these for Covid treatment .
I am aware I may put my life at risk; whether I put the life of others at risk only the latest scientific research can answer that. I try to follow the “science” but when voices of science are ridiculed and kept out of the discussion, I lose my trust in science. And when I see in Ontario a university student handcuffed and removed from a classroom, and a professor of philosophy losing her faculty position because neither were vaccinated, I lose my trust in democracy. And when our society passively accepts segregating laws that that look like apartheid South Africa, I am tempted to lose hope in humanity.
We shall all die, vaccinated or not. Our life on earth is temporary. We are made for God and ultimately to be united with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. I would like to die with my conscience at peace, knowing I strived to live by the truth of my Catholic faith with some coherency.
Fr. David Bellusci, O.P.
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