Statement of Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller MSpS, regarding the moral permissibility of the use of
December 17, 2020 | posted by Archdiocese of San Antonio
Statement of Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller MSpS, regarding the moral permissibility of the use of the recently released vaccines for COVID-19
We have been notified by Texas Governor Greg Abbott that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made an initial allotment of more than 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to the state this month. These vaccines, possibly arriving by mid-December, will be distributed to qualifying providers across the state who will administer these immunizations.
Faithful Catholics will have questions about the moral permissibility of using vaccines for COVID-19, especially those which have been developed by Pfizer and Moderna. To assist in the formation of the consciences of the faithful of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, I am enclosing a memorandum with additional information recently send to the bishops of the United States by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine; and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
The memorandum provides clarification regarding the moral permissibility of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for COVID-19. Unfortunately, as has been reported, there has been some confusion about these vaccines, with some asserting that if a vaccine is connected in any way with tainted cell lines, then it is immoral to be vaccinated with them. That is an inaccurate portrayal of Catholic moral teaching, and the memorandum goes into great detail on this subject, with reference made three times to material from the Pontifical Academy for Life on these issues.
Although it is not referred to in the memorandum from the USCCB, a vaccine produced by AztraZeneca has also received news coverage recently. Due to its origins and the cell lines from which it was derived, this specific vaccine is of moral concern, however, it is also acceptable to receive this vaccine if it is the only one available to our people, according to Catholic moral teaching.
The Church in San Antonio, as well as throughout the world, stands in solidarity with and is indebted to the medical researchers and healthcare professionals who are selflessly and tirelessly giving themselves to our whole community during this pandemic.
As I stated in my pastoral letter, “Transformed by Hope, Let Us Rebuilt Our Tomorrow!” written to the people of God in the archdiocese on the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, “While we wait and work for this crisis to be over, let us hope together not that this will just be an episode in history from which we recovered, but a turning point that we embraced allowing God to heal and transform each one of us, our Archdiocese and the whole world into something better. … With God nothing is lost! Our hope in the Lord sustains us!”