Bishop Mark Brennan Clarifies Vaccine and Abortion Connection
WHEELING — The Most Rev. Mark Brennan, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, will be getting the COVID-19 vaccine and urges others to have faith in the science behind it.
In a letter sent to all parishes in the state, Brennan said, “I plan to get vaccinated when it’s my turn and I strongly urge all Catholics and other residents of West Virginia to do the same when they have the opportunity.
“We must remember that in protecting ourselves through an effective vaccine we are also protecting others. Getting vaccinated, then, is a way of promoting the common good and putting into practice the commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Brennan addressed questions that have arisen about a connection between COVID-19 vaccines and abortion. Bishop Kevin Rhoades and Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who chairs the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference Committees on Doctrine and Pro-life Activities, respectively, issued a statement declaring that neither of the two vaccines now being made available, from Pfizer and Moderna, used cell lines from aborted fetuses in the design, development or production of their vaccines.
“Each, however, used a cell line from an aborted fetus in confirmatory tests to determine the vaccine’s effectiveness. There is a connection to abortion but it is remote,” the clergy wrote.
Citing Roman documents, the bishops conclude that it is morally permissible to use either of these two vaccines, especially given the gravity of the threat that the COVID-19 virus poses to all people and the lack of other remedies. You can read the bishops’ full statement at https://www.usccb.org/moral-considerations-covid- vaccines.
“Because abortion is a gravely wrong act, we should always oppose it and never give the appearance that we approve of it. Ideally, we would avoid even a remote connection to evil. The aforementioned bishops and heads of many other organizations wrote the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration last spring to urge that vaccines be developed and tested without even a remote connection to abortion,” Brennan said.
The bishops suggest others add their voices by writing to the Commissioner, FDA, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993; or call 888-463-6332.
“Fortunately, cell lines that do not come from aborted fetuses are available for pharmaceutical companies to use. Some vaccines based on them are in development but are not yet ready for production or distribution. In the meantime, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are morally legitimate to use, given the remoteness of their connection to the aborted babies and the urgent need to protect ourselves and others from a deadly disease.”
Brennan also urged all to continue to use the protective measures against acquiring the virus through hand washing, wearing face masks, not shaking hands, maintaining appropriate physical distancing and avoiding large crowds.