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Cardinal Raymond Burke speaks at the Rome Life Forum on May 19, 2017.Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

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ROME, Italy, May 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke spoke out strongly on Wednesday against mandatory forced vaccinations that could take place following the development of a coronavirus vaccine. During his talk at this year’s virtual Rome Life Forum, he said “it must be clear that vaccination itself cannot be imposed, in a totalitarian manner, on citizens.”

According to the American cardinal, “there is a certain movement to insist that now everyone must be vaccinated against the coronavirus.”

He also mentioned that some groups suggest “a kind of microchip needs to be placed under the skin of every person, so that at any moment he or she can be controlled by the State regarding health and about other matters which we can only imagine.”

A state mandating vaccinations or even microchips “violates the integrity of its citizens,” Burke pointed out. “While the State can provide reasonable regulations for the safeguarding of health, it is not the ultimate provider of health. God is. Whatever the State proposes must respect God and His Law.”

The former Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura did not elaborate further on the relationship between the state and the Church on the question of health.

However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that life and health of the body “are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.”

“If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value,” the Catechism continues. “It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for its sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports. By its selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception can lead to the perversion of human relationships.”

Beyond speaking out against forced vaccinations, Burke said “it must be clear that it is never morally justified to develop a vaccine through the use of the cell lines of aborted fetuses.”

“The thought of the introduction of such a vaccine into one’s body is rightly abhorrent,” he added, echoing statements by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other pro-life leaders, as well as Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas.

The April 17 letter of the USCCB and pro-life leaders called on the Trump administration “to ensure that Americans will have access to vaccines that are free from any connection to abortion.”

“We are aware that, among the dozens of vaccines currently in development, some are being produced using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies,” the letter pointed out. “Thankfully, other vaccines such as those being developed by Sanofi Pasteur, Inovio, and the John Paul II Medical Research Institute utilize cell lines not connected to unethical procedures and methods.”

Given that “there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce a COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, as other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available and are regularly being used to produce other vaccines,” the letter asked the government “to encourage and incentivize pharmaceutical companies to use only ethical cell lines or processes for producing vaccines.”

Bishop Strickland released his own pastoral letter on April 23.

“Tragically, people are not aware of or have chosen to turn a blind eye to the advances in medical science which allow vaccines to be developed with the wholesale use of aborted children’s bodies,” he wrote.

Strickland emphasized that just because “the crime of abortion is considered legal in our nation does not mean it is morally permissible to use the dead bodies of these children to cure a global pandemic. Emphatically, this practice is evil.”

“As your Shepherd,” the bishop wrote, “I urge you to join me, NOW, in passionately but prayerfully speaking out against this practice. As I said in the beginning of this letter, I will help you navigate this storm as best as I can.”

“We must insist that legislators create legislation which establishes the illegal and immoral nature of any use of the remains of aborted babies for research,” he added. “Further, we must insist that pharmaceutical companies comply with such legislation. I believe this can be a significant building block in a culture of life which eliminates the taint of economic gain that too easily infects the abortion industry.”

In his talk at the virtual Roman Life Forum, Cardinal Burke also addressed the failure of the Church as a whole to insist on her rights to worship God properly amid the restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Yes, it is true that the experience of the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis has marked significantly our lives, but it must not assume the direction of our lives,” Burke said.