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It is "morally acceptable" for Roman Catholics to receive coronavirus vaccines that used fetal tissue from abortions during research, the Vatican announced Monday.
The vaccines, which scientists have tirelessly worked on over the past year to try and eradicate the harrowing pandemic that has killed over 1.6 million people around the world, used cell lines "drawn from tissue obtained from two abortions that occurred in the last century," the Vatican said.
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However, the Vatican concluded that "it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process" when "ethically irreproachable" vaccines aren’t available to the public, according to a statement on Vatican News.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s watchdog office for doctrinal orthodoxy, addressed the question after receiving several requests for "guidance" during recent months.
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After drawing on Vatican pronouncements in past years about developing vaccines prepared from cells derived from aborted fetuses, the watchdog office issued a statement that it said Pope Francis had examined last week and ordered to be made public.
It concluded that all vaccinations are "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."
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."
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The Catholic Church’s teaching says that abortion is a grave sin.
In an effort to reassure faithful Catholics that getting a COVID-19 vaccine would not violate religious doctrine, the Vatican noted that while various vaccines might be distributed in a country, "health authorities do not allow citizens to choose the vaccine with which to be inoculated."
In those cases, it is morally acceptable to receive vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses, the Vatican said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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