Use our provided letters to let pharmaceutical companies know we deserve better than vaccines tainted at any stage with embryonic stem cells from abortions.
We Catholics have a moral minefield spread out before us. Between the moral complications with the vaccines, miscommunication from news agencies on what our Catholic authorities are saying, a raging pandemic threatening to end our lives or way of life, and a faith-based understanding of how important physical presence (especially one particular Presence) and interaction is, it can really feel like we have little chance of coming out both holy and healthy.
To me, the vaccine situation seems like moral junk food. It is still food, and that has its benefits. It fills your belly, protects your organs from overworking themselves out of lack, and very probably gives you a better disposition. However, we know without a doubt, an apple would do that work better. We Catholics also happen to know that enduring the suffering of refusing sustenance because there is nothing healthy can most definitely help our sanctification.
Each of these perspectives, depending on the given situation, could be aimed selflessly, or selfishly. You could be eating the junk food out of gratitude for it being given to you by a friend, or to share in a celebration, or to take care of your bodily necessities in the quickest way possible because there’s something else more important to attend to. You could also just really want to eat junk, which is simply not a good reason.
Perhaps, you’ve got the apple option. Out of respect for your body, you’re eating the apple instead of scarfing down the bowl of Cheetos because, really, you know that’s what you should do. In the case of vaccines, the apple is nowhere to be found. Even upcoming vaccine possibilities are unreliable in their ethics, or simply not yet reported.
Then, there’s the option of going hungry. Abstaining is a very common practice in our faith, and one that really pushes us along our path to holiness. But, it too, can be done for the wrong reasons. For instance, if you’re cutting out the junk calories just to show off your fidelity to healthy living, it’s probably a good time to work on humility.
Options and Opinions
Right now, both the USCCB and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have given the OK for both Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations, even in light of their use of aborted embryonic stem cells in the testing phase of production. We can take their word or we can opt out – a perspective that lines up with the advice of the Bishop of Tyler, TX. As for the Johnson & Johnson one, aborted embryonic stem cells were used in all parts of development and production, and therefore remain morally reprehensible by our church authorities. To understand exactly what was said, you can listen to this Matt Frad podcast.
As a mom of young kids, here’s where I stand. I believe it’s ok to get the approved vaccines. It’s also ok not to. And, it’s ok to be completely overwhelmed and confused by the whole moral conundrum. Furthermore, it’s ok to be wary of the new mRNA technology that’s never, ever been used before in vaccines and is being produced by one company who has never, ever made any other product before. Finally, it’s way more than ok to want to be with people again. We were made for community, after all.
The key is to make your decision out of charity and pray for God’s grace to fill in the gaps. The same goes with masks and social distancing and really everything else. We are all working toward holiness. We’re not there yet. Don’t let this be a situation where you’re trying to prove you’re holier than you are or more vulnerable to covid fallout than you are. Be honest, be charitable, and pray.
Take a Stand
No matter what you choose, we deserve far better than this. We deserve the apple, don’t we? This is our chance to try and make our voices heard. We need good medicines with no unethical strings attached. We need pharmaceutical companies to care more about each individual’s basic rights and needs than about each individual’s pocketbook. And we need to push this world to recognize the human dignity of every single life from conception to natural death. No life, no matter how much suffering it causes or endures, should end early or be recognized only after certain physiological milestones are achieved.
So, please, take these letters and copy and edit them to your own needs. Say a prayer of thanks to Pope St. John Paul II for the beautiful lessons he’s highlighted in his Theology of the Body that help us see this situation so much clearer. Ask for his intercession for all those in a position of authority in this case. Then, accept God’s peace for whatever selfless decision you’ve mustered, and His forgiveness for any hidden selfishness that might have gotten in the way.
Please add your own finds in the comments.
Dear Moderna (written by CraftyCatholicMoms.com)
Dear Pfizer (written by CraftyCatholicMoms.com)
Dear Pharmaceutical Company (from Catholic Medical Association)
Sample letters to many companies from USCCB
Referenced Research For Further Reading
The story of mRNA: How a once-dismissed idea became a leading technology in the Covid vaccine race