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FRESNO, California, November 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic bishop of Fresno has reaffirmed the immorality of all vaccines, including COVID vaccines, that at any stage of production have any involvement with aborted babies, calling on Catholics to follow his lead and refuse to take such vaccines.

Bishop Joseph V. Brennan issued his message on the diocesan website via a video titled “A message on the COVID-19 Vaccine.”

Bishop Brennan prefaced the video with the words “I’m going to rain on a parade with this message, it’s the vaccine parade.” He clarified that the Church is not against vaccines per se, but that “we must always and only pursue vaccines that are ethical and morally acceptable.”

The bishop highlighted the “global effort” currently underway to produce a COVID-19 vaccine, but also noted that there are moral concerns regarding the various vaccines, which is his duty as a bishop to expose. 

“As your bishop, as a teacher, as a believer in the ultimate value of life and how that forms and fashions our conscience and our choices, there are some very serious problems with a number of the vaccines, including the Pfizer vaccine,” he said.

Bishop Brennan continued, “If material has been used that is unacceptable on a moral level in any stage of the process for the development of a vaccine, that is from design … the testing … the production … any stage, anything in between, if it’s using objectionable material, we can’t use it, we can’t avail ourselves of it.”

He then clarified the phrase “objectionable material,” explaining that it referred to “some stem cell lines, derived from material from babies who’ve been aborted, whose lives were taken.” 

These cell lines developed from aborted babies are involved in the vaccine process of many vaccine producers: “several of the vaccines that are being developed, a number of them are objectionable on that level at some stage, either in testing, development or production.”

Catholics have a duty to refuse availing of such “biological material,” Brennan said, as he drew on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 2008 document Dignitatis Persona

Brennan presented the text to his viewers, noting that “it needs to be stated that there is a duty to refuse to use such ‘biological material’ even when there is no close connection between the researcher and the actions of those who performed the artificial fertilization or the abortion, or when there was no prior agreement with the centers in which the artificial fertilization took place.”

The text continues, “This duty springs from the necessity to remove oneself, within the area of one’s own research, from a gravely unjust legal situation and to affirm with clarity the value of human life.”

Bishop Brennan added that this does not extend merely to researchers, but also to “all of us.”

“I won’t be able to take a vaccine,” stated the bishop, “I just won’t … and I encourage you not to, if it was developed with material from stem cells that are derived from a baby that was aborted, or material that was cast off from artificial insemination of a human embryo. It’s morally unacceptable for us.”

Bishop Brennan also criticized those who seek to legitimize use of immoral vaccines by noting a degree of separation between the user and the abortion: “There are some Catholic theologians who are saying ‘we can do this, it’s acceptable’ if for example, it’s only used in the testing phase … because it’s so far removed from the original evil act.”

Such reasoning, the bishop explained, justifying “a participation on a moral level in an abortion, in a taking of a human life unjustly, is too close for me, too close for comfort – There are some things in our moral life that are in fact black and white, they’re not gray.”

He also compared the attempted justification of immoral vaccines, due to the distance to the abortion, with the current discussion on racism, noting that “some people are literally feeling a personal responsibility somehow for things that happened in the year 1619 … and how we are responsible somehow, after 400 years.”

“How come we make that connection after 400 years, but we don’t make the connection after 40 years with babies who were deprived of life, and whose very raw material for life … has been used to perhaps benefit some other human being.”

“We can’t do it, brothers and sisters,” Brennan concluded, “we must always do the right, we must always do the just thing, we must always do the thing that promotes life.”

Dr. Helen Watt of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford, England, told the Catholic Herald that the Pfizer vaccine “makes no use of a foetal cell-line in the production process itself, and no use in the design,” but that “(o)ne of the confirmatory lab tests on the vaccine did sadly involve an old foetal cell-line.” The Children of God for Life organization says the Pfizer vaccine is tested using the HEK 293 cell line, which is derived from kidney tissue taken from a healthy baby who was aborted in the Netherlands in the 1970s.

Children of God for Life also says the Moderna vaccine has been tested on a cell line of an aborted child.

Both Pfizer and Moderna’s recently announced COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA, a technology so novel that it has yet to be approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Children’s Health Defense wrote in August that the method of delivering such vaccines into the body was particularly difficult, and relied upon “biotech ‘carrier systems’ involving lipid nanoparticles (LNPs).” 

Moderna stated that “there can be no assurance that our LNPs will not have undesired effects.”