Is it always wrong to accept a vaccine based on aborted fetal cells? The answer given here, at the National Catholic Bioethics Center is correct. It is not intrinsically evil, it is not always wrong, to accept a vaccine developed from a cell line which originally began with cells from an aborted fetus.
A so-called “Appeal for the Church and the World” [LifeSiteNews] makes the following false claim:
“Let us also remember, as Pastors, that for Catholics it is morally unacceptable to develop or use vaccines derived from material from aborted fetuses.”
No, it is not necessarily morally unacceptable. It is a matter of weighing the consequences. This is a case of remove material cooperation, not formal cooperation.
And in the case of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the benefits far outweigh any remote material cooperation with an abortion (which would have occurred in any case) from decades ago. Covid has not only sicked millions and killed hundreds of thousands, it has had a devastating effect on society and on the Church (causing Masses to be cancelled in many places). And the survivors of Covid may face long-term health consequences.
There are other problems with the Appeal:
In this time of great crisis, we Pastors of the Catholic Church, by virtue of our mandate, consider it our sacred duty to make an Appeal to our Brothers in the Episcopate, to the Clergy, to Religious, to the holy People of God and to all men and women of good will. This Appeal has also been undersigned by intellectuals, doctors, lawyers, journalists and professionals who agree with its content, and may be undersigned by those who wish to make it their own.
This appeal was issued by the papal accusers, who are now speaking and acting as if they were the Roman Pontiff or as if they were the body of Bishops. In fact, few bishops sign these types of documents, and they often contain serious errors. Using a set of signatories of persons who are supposedly eminent, to substitute for the true authority of the Church is highly objectionable. The authors of these types of document do not have the right to speak as if they were in charge of the Church.
Therefore, passage like this one are hypocritical:
Finally, as Pastors responsible for the flock of Christ, let us remember that the Church firmly asserts her autonomy to govern, worship, and teach.
They pretend to be the Church, while they ignore the authority of the Roman Pontiff, opposing him or, as in this case, utterly ignoring him, at every turn. The Church is founded on Peter and his successors, not on the leaders of a conservative subculture. Those Pastors only are truly of Christ who are in communion with Peter. This document is not of the Church, and is not worthy of the signatures of the faithful.
The appeal also contains disturbing references to far-right wing conspiracy theories of a one world government (which is nothing like the situation today) and even fear of people being tracked by the government (a reference to disordered understandings of eschatology).