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Archbishop Wenski: Say 'yes' to any COVID-19 vaccine

Letter to pastors reiterates conclusions of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

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MIAMI | Hoping to dispel confusion among South Florida Catholics, Archbishop Thomas Wenski has written to his fellow priests reiterating that there is no moral objection to receiving any of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the U.S.

Medical technicians prepare doses of the Moderna vaccine as San Lazaro Parish in Hialeah became the first archdiocesan church to serve as a COVID-19 vaccination site, Jan. 20, 2021. Archbishop Thomas Wenski is clarifying that all currently available vaccines against COVID-19 can be used in good conscience.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

Medical technicians prepare doses of the Moderna vaccine as San Lazaro Parish in Hialeah became the first archdiocesan church to serve as a COVID-19 vaccination site, Jan. 20, 2021. Archbishop Thomas Wenski is clarifying that all currently available vaccines against COVID-19 can be used in good conscience.

The letter, sent March 10, 2021, gives straightforward answers to two questions, relying on the statement issued in December 2020 by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which stated that “all vaccinations ... can be used in good conscience...”

“So to the question, can the parish be used as a site for all the currently available vaccinations, the answer is YES,” the archbishop wrote. “To the question, should I advise my parishioners to receive any of the three vaccinations available, the answer is also a definite YES.”

The archbishop notes that “there has been some confusion” over the issue of vaccinations for COVID, especially since the introduction of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson version. 

“You might remember how in our seminary days, moral theology discussions on formal, proximate and remote cooperation with evil, etc. could be quite daunting,” the archbishop wrote.

“It’s easy to get ‘lost in the weeds’,” he noted, pointing to some guidance coming from the U.S. bishops and diocesan chanceries “that often do not successfully help lead people out of the weeds.”

He told archdiocesan priests to view the podcast with Father Alfred Cioffi, a moral theologian and bioethics professor at St. Thomas University, which is posted on the archdiocesan website and YouTube channel.

It offers “a helpful and erudite discussion,” the archbishop wrote. “But the simplest statement on the matter” came Dec. 21, 2020 from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “Notes on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines.”

The archbishop quotes the pertinent section: “All vaccinations recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive.”

The citation from Vatican News continues: “The note addresses doubts and questions about the moral aspects of COVID-19 vaccines, including the responsibility of biomedical researchers and drug agencies, the morality of vaccination, vaccine access, and makes clear that these vaccines are not a legitimation of abortion.”

Comments from readers

Jose M Lorenzo - 03/17/2021 09:04 PM
Gracias, Doctor por su muy detallada y amplia informacion asi como su maxima experiencia en esta materia. Muy interesante y educativas las extenciones que nos esta brindando al respecto. Entiendo que muchas personas esten confudidas con el virus asi como con las vacunas y si hablamos de cellulas de fetos abortados aun mucho mas. Yo me puse la segunda dosis de la vacuna de Pfizer y estoy la mar de contento de poder participar en salvar vidas. No tengo ni questiono ni la provenencia de la vacuna ni tampoco cuestiono la oipinion de los expertos y mucho menos la los lideres de la Santa iglesia catholica apostolica y Romana a la cual le soy fiel y le debo obdiencia. En muy humilde oipinion si el Santo Padre Francisco y nuestro arzobispo Thomas Wenski me aseguran que es buena si ellos cuidan de mi alma como voy a tener dudas? En mi humilde opinion se han dado casos en la historia en que los muertos salvaron a los vivos a veces Dios nos permite excepciones. Como la del Rey David en el desierto que comio liebre para poder sobrevivir y sin embargo la ley Judia no le permitia comer esa clase de animal. O los naufragos que comieron carne Humana y fueron absueltos por el Santo padre y Dios. Para mi el aborto es el crimen mas grande y silencioso de nuestros tiempos pero si las celulas de los ya muertos nos hayudan a salvar las vidas de los soldados de Dios que son ustedes los medicos y la de muchos mas yo no veo el impedimiento moral o religioso. Le agradezco mucho tanto su articulo, sus ensenanzas, asi como su servicio por todos nosotros. Que Dios lo bendiga y lo proteja. Jose M. Lorenzo Chef Instructor y Profesor de Arte Gastronomico Felizmente retirado.
Jose M Lorenzo - 03/17/2021 04:52 PM
I just want to take the opportunity to thanks the Archbishop and his great team for providing to my wife and I a very fast track appointment to get vaccinated trough the well plan and organize system of The Jackson South Hospital. The first time we only spend 45 minutes to get the shot, the second time even better: 15 minutes no lines at all. My question is if we have a health care facility like the Jackson teaming perfectly with the Miami-Dade Fire department providing us the best expertise as well that the appropriated safety and sanitation space. Why our parishes that are struggling to accommodate parishioners that are currently in need of more space for praying should provide inadequate? This is my very humble opinion. I sent an e-mail to Mayor Daniela Cava for the great facility that she is providing us for vaccination. May God Bless any one who is reading this humble message. Jose M Lorenzo, Husher at Our Lady of The Holy Rosary and Saint Richard at Pinecrest Florida
Bernardo R Garcia-Granda, M.D. - 03/17/2021 11:45 AM
La Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos publicó un artíulo el 2 de marzo del 2021 en el cual su autor, el Obispo Kevin Rhoads cuestionaba la permisibilidad moral de desarrollar, ensayar y/ó producir vacunas con la ayuda de líneas celulares derivadas de fetos abortados. En mi opinión, ese artíulo causó mas confusión en un laicado ya dudoso de estas cuestiones. Gracias Arzobispo Wenski por aclarar una vez más conceptos, para que podamos nosotros tomar decisiones informadas relacionadas a las vacunas contra el COVID actualmente disponibles. Es bueno saber que el uso de las vacunas actualmente disponibles no constituyen una cooperación formal con el aborto del cual provienen las células utilizadas en el desarrollo, ensayo y/ó producción de las vacunas obtenidas. Aún más, yo les recomiendo a todos los católicos que vean el “podcast” del Padre Alfred Cioffi, muy informativo, proveniendo de alguien quien es un teólogo moralista y profesor de bioética en la Universidad de Santo Tomás. Finalmente, yo como médico católico aliento a todos a vacunarse lo antes posible, sabiendo que van a contribuir al bien común, reduciendo el sufrimiento que esta enfermedad ha causado en el mundo entero.
Bernardo R Garcia-Granda, M.D. - 03/16/2021 10:33 PM
On March 2, 2021, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published an article in which Bishop Kevin Rhoades raised the question regarding the moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested, and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines. In my opinion this article, caused more confusion in an already doubtful laity. Thank you Archbishop Wenski for once again clarifying concepts in order for us to make an informed choice, regarding the current Covid vaccines. It is good to know that the use of the current available vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in developing, testing and/or production of the vaccines derived. Furthermore, I highly recommend that all Catholics watch the podcast with Fr. Alfred Cioffi, which is highly informative, coming from someone who is a moral theologian as well as bioethics professor at St. Thomas University. Finally, as a catholic physician myself, I encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible, knowing that you will be contributing to the common good of reducing the suffering that this disease has caused the entire world.

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