A senior bishop has warned that if a significant number of people refuse to get the Covid-19 vaccine, more people may lose their lives to the virus.
Bishop Kevin Doran – who has been one of the most outspoken pro-life voices in the Church in Ireland in recent decades – insisted that “Vaccination, as an aspect of preventive medicine, is recognised and encouraged by the Catholic Church as an essential element of the mission of healthcare professionals”.
Writing in The Irish Catholic this week, Dr Doran reassures the Faithful that there is nothing in Church teaching to prevent them from taking the vaccine, even if it was developed using cell-lines from aborted babies.
“Catholics are free,” he writes, “to use any Covid-19 vaccine that is approved for clinical use, on the understanding that they themselves do not approve of or consent to abortion for the purposes of biomedical research”.
While Dr Doran acknowledges that “Everyone is obliged to followhis or her well-informed conscience”. He insists that “In the context of a global pandemic, it is important to consider that vaccination is not simply a private matter.
“If significant numbers of people chose not to be vaccinated, for whatever reason, it would prove very difficult to achieve the required levels of immunity in the population. The result could be significant loss of life and serious illness in the community and especially among those who are most vulnerable, as well as long-term damage to social and economic life, which would impact on the population as a whole.
“This reality must inform any judgement of conscience. Any person who wishes to signal his or her rejection of the use of foetal cell-lines should consider whether there are other ways of doing so, than by refusing to avail of the vaccine,” Bishop Doran writes.
It comes after Pope Francis criticised those opposed to a coronavirus vaccine. In a weekend interview on Italian television, the Pope described such opposition as “suicidal denial”.
“I believe that ethically everyone must take the vaccine. It is an ethical action, because you risk your own health, your life – but you also risk the lives of others,” the Pontiff said.