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January 9, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – In an interview scheduled to air Sunday night with the Italian television station Canale 5, Pope Francis has opined that “everyone” must take the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I believe that, ethically, everyone should take the vaccine,” he said, according to a transcript released in advance of the airing of the interview. 

The Pope added that he would be taking the vaccine himself and that the Vatican will start administering it to its citizens “next week,” remarking that “it must be done.” 

According to the transcript as quoted in The New York Times, Pope Francis suggests that, “it’s an ethical choice, because you are playing with health, life, but you are also playing with the lives of others.”  

“I don’t understand why some say, ‘No. Vaccines are dangerous,’” the Pope is quoted as saying. “If it is presented by doctors as a thing that can go well, that has no special dangers, why not take it? There is a suicidal denial that I wouldn’t know how to explain.” 

The Pope’s statement leads to many questions. Does he think people who had the virus should still get the vaccine? Should pregnant mothers take it even the U.K. government has told them not to do so? How about people with allergies that conflict with vaccines whom the FDA and other agencies have said should not take the vaccine? This a rushed vaccine with way too little testing, by all accounts, and yet we are to believe implicitly in its safety and efficacy? 

But there is also a moral side to the Pope’s reported statements. In a paper released on December 12, 2020, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, along with co-signers Cardinal Janis Pujats, Bishop Joseph Strickland, and Archbishops Tomash Peta and Jan Pawel Lenga, expressed their strong conviction that any use of a vaccine tainted with the “unspeakable crime” of abortion, under any circumstances, “cannot be acceptable for Catholics.” 

These prelates cite the teaching of St. John Paul II, affirming the duty of every Catholic and person of goodwill to defend “the most basic and fundamental right” to life “with maximum determination.” To make use of vaccines that are “made from the cells of murdered unborn children contradicts [this] ‘maximum determination’ to defend unborn life,” their statement read.

“The crime of abortion is so monstrous that any kind of concatenation with this crime, even a very remote one, is immoral and cannot be accepted under any circumstances by a Catholic once he has become fully aware of it,” they also wrote. “One who uses these vaccines must realize that his body is benefitting from the ‘fruits’ … of one of mankind’s greatest crimes.” 

A week after the statement by Cardinal Pujats and the other bishops, the Vatican department on doctrine put out a statement claiming that Catholics could licitly take even an abortion-tainted COVID vaccine if there were no ethical alternatives available. 

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.  

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com. He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.  

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.  

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.

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