USCCB Statement on Covid-19 Vaccines

On December 14, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement on the new COVID-19 vaccines. In their statement, the bishops address the moral concerns raised by the fact that the three vaccines that appear to be ready for distribution in the United States all have some connection to cell lines that originated with tissue taken from abortions.
From that report, I want to highlight some of their findings. First, with regard to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, 

“In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines.
“Receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community.  In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.”

However, with regard to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the bishops found it to be “more morally compromised” and consequently concluded that this vaccine “should be avoided” if there are alternatives available. Of importance to note, “It may turn out, however, that one does not really have a choice of vaccine, at least, not without a lengthy delay in immunization that may have serious consequences for one’s health and the health of others,” the bishop chairmen stated. “In such a case … it would be permissible to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
Also of importance to include in my overview, the bishops warn that Catholics “must be on guard so that the new COVID-19 vaccines do not desensitize us or weaken our determination to oppose the evil of abortion itself and the subsequent use of fetal cells in research.”   The full statement from the Chairmen of the Committee on Doctrine and the Committee on Pro-Life Activities United States Conference of Catholic Bishops may be found here
Below I have included a chart regarding vaccine manufacturers and abortion-derived cell line usage,  originally collated by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which also includes an “Ethical Profile” designation provided for comparative purposes by Fr. Tad Pacholczyk.  Fr. Tad earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, MA, and serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. He was a recent guest on The World Over on EWTN, offering insights on the side effects, what we can do to push back against future use of cell lines, and further explains the ethical profiles of the current covid-19 vaccinations. 

Sunday of the Word of God

The Sunday of the Word of God, instituted last year by Pope Francis’ in his Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio “Aperuit illis is to be held every year on the third Sunday of Ordinary Time. For 2021, it will be observed on Sunday, January 24th, and stands to remind the faithful of the importance and value of Sacred Scripture for the Christian life, as well as the relationship between the word of God and the liturgy.  Sunday of the Word of God reminds each of us of the importance of incorporating time every day with the Scriptures because, through them, we encounter Christ. As St. Jerome warned, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”
This year the biblical phrase for celebrating the Sunday of the Word of God is taken from the Letter to the Philippians: “Holding fast to the Word of life” (Phil 2:16). The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization chose this verse with the following in mind, “In these words the Christian witness finds the foundation for building love-filled service. While the letter expresses the essential substance of the apostle’s preaching, it also shows how important it is for the Christian community to increase its knowledge of the Gospel.” A copy of the Liturgical – Pastoral Resource 2021 and additional resources for the Sunday of the Word of God are available on the USCCB website.

Spending Time in the Scriptures

…yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.   ~ Galatians 2:20

**This verse from Galatians was printed in the card from my Priestly Ordination.

Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.   ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

**These words from St. Paul appear in my Episcopal Coat of Arms

You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you:  Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha

The Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Bishop of Fall River