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(LifeSiteNews) – According to an article published Wednesday in the Jesuit-run America Magazine, those who discern against taking an abortion-tainted COVID-19 vaccine are committing “the ultimate sin of omission” by their refusal.

Entitled “Refusing the Covid vaccine is the ultimate sin of omission for Catholics today” and authored by Father Terrence Klein, the article takes aim at Catholics who allegedly “put their focus on protecting liberty rather than life” in their decision to forego vaccines developed, derived, or tested using aborted fetal cell lines.

Klein posited that the currently available shots against the novel coronavirus not only “pose no greater threat to health than other medical prescriptions or procedures,” but that also “they clearly save lives.” Both assertions have been the subject of much scrutiny, however, and mounting evidence has come to light which undermines Klein’s conclusions.

For instance, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in the United States continues to rack up injury reports in the days and weeks following injection with COVID jabs. The total number of adverse events recorded on the system now stands at 623,343 as of August 20. Over 55,000 of those led to hospitalization and 13,627 injuries resulted in death.

In fact, despite Klein’s assertion of lives being saved by vaccinating, Dr. Peter McCullough, M.D., a renowned medical expert and member of the Truth for Health Foundation, said that “there is no product in human history that has ever created such a swathe of injuries to the public” as the COVID shots.

Of the numerous injuries reported following injection with the shots, McCullough noted that many of them “fall into very serious categories …. Over 12,000 certified deaths by the CDC, over 200,000 composite deaths, hospitalizations, urgent care visits, and office visits. A staggering number of myocardial infarctions, strokes, and over 4,000 cases of myocarditis, a heart inflammation in young individuals. Permanent damage to the neurologic systems, hematologic systems, immunologic systems.”

Dr. Mike Yeadon, a former Pfizer vice-president and co-founder of Doctors for COVID-19 Ethics, slammed the jabs as “unnecessary, ineffective and unsafe,” explaining that the efficacy figures provided by the manufacturers cannot be guaranteed in the medium to long-term. Consequently, Yeadon stated that “urging vaccination to ‘protect others’ therefore has no basis in fact.”

Still, Klein asked: “How can so many American Christians not worry that they are committing one of our century’s greatest sins of omission” by refusing the jabs, leaning heavily on Pope Francis’ endorsement of vaccinating as “an act of love.”

Klein even took on the American pro-life movement, members of which have spoken out against the abortive elements tied up with the development and manufacture of the currently available, experimental shots and supported the right not to be coerced into vaccination.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC), a Philadelphia-based pro-life organization dedicated to upholding “the dignity of the human person in health care and biomedical research,” has come out strongly against mandating the use of vaccines based on the Church’s own teaching.

Father Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education at NCBC, told Raymond Arroyo during an August 19 interview that “[t]he Church has been clear that vaccination, as the rule, is not a moral obligation. It is something that needs to be voluntary.”

“Every individual needs to be, according to conscience, determining which medical interventions are, or are not, appropriate for their particular state in life,” Pacholzyk continued.

“So, when you have these blanket mandates, there is a lot of risk; there’s kind of a tendency to paint with too broad of a brush. And, you know, the effect here can be that individual liberty and individual assessment of circumstances are not respected,” he added.

Despite the measured messages of groups like the NCBC, the Kansas-based Klein alleged that the American pro-life movement might have “suffered its greatest setback when Catholics, who always spoke of protecting those most innocent and vulnerable, suddenly fell silent when it came to saving the lives of the poor, people of color, the aged, and those who cannot be vaccinated.”

“All of these,” he claimed, “are disproportionately dying because of our failure to vaccinate as an act of charity.” No evidence was provided to substantiate his claims.

Klein continued by denigrating the efforts of some prelates, such as those in Colorado, to promote the availability of exemptions to vaccine mandates for religious purposes, whom he said are “promoting abstract liberty over lifesaving charity.”

“Yes, civil liberties are a value, and that is why we have laws to protect them. Yet the pressing moral issue is that we are obligated to protect human life,” Klein vented.

The Catholic Church, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), teaches that “[p]ractical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.” It further adds that “the morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one’s own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good.”

Contrary to Klein’s assessment that refusing to take a COVID shot is the “ultimate sin of omission,” the Church has judged that Catholics must assess the matter according to their consciences without coercion and that, according to n. 1880 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, a person must “always obey the certain judgement of his conscience.”

LifeSiteNews spoke with theologian and columnist Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, who described Klein’s characterization of COVID vaccine refusal as “the Gospel of social wokeness.”

“It’s absurd on the face of it to compare not getting an inadequately-tested, side-effect-inducing, aborted-fetal-cell-developed vaccine for a disease that cannot compare with any of the great epidemics of the past with omitting works of cardinal and theological virtues,” Kwasniewski said.

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