The Vatican on Monday declared that it is “morally acceptable” for Roman Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccines based on research that used fetal tissue from abortions. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's watchdog office for doctrinal orthodoxy, said it had received several requests for "guidance" during recent months. The doctrinal office pointed out that bishops, Catholic groups, and experts have offered "diverse and sometimes conflicting pronouncements" on the matter. The Vatican concluded that "it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses" in the research and production process when "ethically irreproachable" vaccines aren’t available to the public. In its statement, the Vatican explained that obtaining vaccines that do not pose an ethical dilemma is not always possible, reports the AP.
But it stressed that the "licit" uses of such vaccines “does not and should not in any way imply that there is a moral endorsement of the use of cell lines proceeding from aborted fetuses." The Catholic Church’s teaching says that abortion is a grave sin, and the watchdog office's statement was examined by Pope Francis, who ordered it to be made public. The Vatican said the COVID-19 vaccines that are getting rolled out used cell lines “drawn from tissue obtained from two abortions that occurred in the last century,” but did not mention any vaccines by name. The Vatican hasn’t said if and when Francis would be vaccinated against the coronavirus, nor which vaccine he might receive, The 84-year-old pontiff has a pilgrimage to Iraq planned for early March, and it's widely expected that he and the aides accompanying him would get vaccinated ahead of travel abroad.