Hear, O foolish people, and without understanding: who have eyes, and see not: and ears, and hear not. (Jeremias 5:21)
For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. (2 Timothy 4:3)
July 6, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — It is summer in the Northern hemisphere; friends and family on the East Coast tell us that the cicadas are abundant this year. Some find the rasping sound made by these large insects irritating. Just as one thinks the noise has stopped, it begins again. Or another starts up. The same is true of Catholic authors who continue to promote the erroneous notion that it is morally permissible to accept what have come to be called “abortion-tainted vaccines.” They do not seem to recognize that their attempts to peddle their sophistry to faithful Catholics have been stymied at every turn. Like the ubiquitous cicadas, however, they are loud and persistent in their noise.
One would think, for example, that when Pamela Acker responded to Emmanuele Barbieri’s invective against her in April — a measured and thorough response wherein she soundly refuted his arguments — it would have been the end of the matter for Barbieri. Unfortunately, there seems to be a certain willing blindness on the part of those who wish to accommodate the world by accepting morally illicit vaccines and pharmaceuticals. This is not meant to be uncharitable; however, it seems to us that anyone with a properly formed sensus catholicus ought to be able to readily see the matter as we see it — as most of our Catholic friends see it. How is it that Catholic faithful in the pews can discern this question with clarity, but that Catholic authors and “experts” cannot or will not? Those Catholic authors appear to have one main trait in common: They turn a blind eye to the simple fact that acceptance of vaccines tested with, developed from, or including residual stem cell DNA from murdered babies continues to feed the “medical research”/big pharma industry. Why do they not see the issue as clearly as we see it?
What is so utterly astonishing and dismaying for us — totally untrained in theology — is the reliance of theologians who strive to justify, by means of bewildering tautology, acceptance of a demonic industry in which children were (and continue to be) murdered and cannibalized. Thus, permitting them to avert their gaze from the ongoing murder and “utilization” of innumerable other children in the utterly barbaric human tissue culture industry, allowing them to use the “lesser of two evils” argument, and eventually leading them to “justify,” with “provisos,” the use of vaccines derived via the “spilling of innocent blood” by abortion. Is the “spilling of innocent blood” no longer one of the four unforgiveable crimes that cry out to Heaven for vengeance?
It is puzzling and even frustrating to see the various opinions that have been offered over the last year or so regarding this most significant of moral issues. Catholics — who presumably share the same Creed and approach the same Communion rail at Mass — do not seem to be able to agree on the way we apply our common Faith regarding this question. How did we come to the apparent impasse where so many learned Catholic prelates, clergy, academicians, and authors are assuring us that acceptance of vaccines and drugs that have been tested or developed with “fetal stem cell lines” — stem cells stolen from murdered babies — is morally licit? And yet we are witnessing the sad spectacle of intelligent men like Roberto de Mattei and Father Cipolla, with whom most of us would agree on most current topics affecting Holy Mother Church, appearing to shill for the other side. They seem immune to the solid arguments against their conclusions, even by such articulate voices as those of Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Don Pietro Leone and Dr. de Mattei’s own translator, Francesca Romana, whose beautifully written critique could not fail to move even the most hardened of hearts on this topic. Still, these learned men persist in what appears to many of us to be a blindness. Australian Michael Baker, who authored a keenly perceptive analysis on the matter on the Family Life International website in late April, observed that his “experience in discussions with fellow Catholics is that the sensus fidelium on this grave moral issue is more likely to be found among the lowly faithful than among the ‘experts.’”
In view of all the above, why is this issue so divisive? It seems clear to us that there is a morally correct position that we Catholics ought to hold with one voice, a “united front” we are obligated to present to the world regarding these unspeakable practices of brutally extracting babies from the womb, dissecting them (often while they are still alive), and using their remains for “medical research”? Well, yes, there is — a most emphatic yes! Imagine 1.3 billion Catholics the world over standing shoulder to shoulder and saying, “No, we will have nothing to do with this evil.” You can be sure that the “medical research”/big pharma industry would be shut down. Or we can continue to argue among ourselves, with the accommodationists among us employing such red-herring sophistry as “remote material” cooperation, all the while giving more encouragement to the abortion/medical research/big pharma machine to continue its sordid practices. We have tried to point out for months that by accepting abortion-tainted vaccines — not just for COVID-19, but for, inter alia, varicella and rubella — we are contributing to the demand for “products” of those who profit from creating and using stem cell lines from murdered babies. Why can’t our fellow Catholics see this? Why do they default to the “remote material” argument (which is certainly legitimate in some cases such as, for example, paying income tax), or make the spurious allegation that those Catholics who refuse illicit vaccines are being inconsistent by accepting common over-the-counter drugs? Let us be completely honest, the answer to all these questions is found, unfortunately, in the quotes we offered at the beginning of this piece. It is a form of blindness. John Heywood explained it well in 1546:
There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.
Which brings us to yet another article written on June 16, 2021 on the Corrispondenza Romana website under the name of Emmanuele Barbieri, in which the author addressed what he sees as “the issues that divide the Catholic world.” It was the second missive in as many months by which Barbieri took issue with those Catholics who have drawn a line against abortion-tainted vaccines. As alluded to above, this is the same Emmanuele Barbieri who, a couple of months ago, took aim at Pamela Acker, the courageous young author of Vaccines: A Catholic Perspective. In his previous piece, Barbieri mounted what can only be described as a ferocious ad hominem attack against Acker, questioning her expertise in vaccine research with the condescending comment: “Maintaining she is a qualified expert in biology would be like passing off a law school graduate as an experienced lawyer.”
As mentioned above, as well, Acker’s response to Barbieri’s broadside against her was respectful and thorough. But it seems this colleague of Dr. Roberto de Mattei wishes to perpetuate the rationalizing of his (and his friends’) conclusion that it is morally licit to accept abortion-tainted vaccines. In fact, this is one of the main concerns that many of us who have rejected such vaccines have regarding those who counsel conditional acceptance and accommodation: They appear to have reached their conclusions first, and then developed arguments to support those conclusions. In fact, Michael Baker, in the same article previously cited, gives us his sense of Roberto de Mattei’s logic. It can certainly be applied to the writings of Barbieri as well:
The impression one gains from reading his work is that Professor de Mattei first formed a view about the issue then went looking for reasons to support it. This is the approach of the subjectivist; it is not that of the realist who, emulating Aristotle, looks at reality and conforms his view to what reality reveals to him.
Just what is Barbieri’s new strategy to undermine the arguments of Catholics with whom he disagrees and who are, in his mind, divisive? Well, first, Barbieri attempts to school us on the “official position of the Magisterium of the Church,” initially pointing out quite correctly that the main “point on which disagreements have emerged” is the accommodationists’ use of the “remote material cooperation in evil” argument, before he slips in the standard “used in the past” caveat. In other words, he stands by his “far in the past and only a few abortions” argument. This erroneous contention — that time mitigates culpable cooperation in evil — has been gaining traction, even among “traditional” circles.
Who would have ever believed that a priest of a prominent traditional missionary order, when giving a talk on the liceity of abortion-tainted vaccines a few months ago, would have told his audience that the conditional acceptance of such vaccines is morally permissible, while clearly stating that time mitigates cooperation in evil? Does time itself exist for God? Does God not remember any unconfessed mortal sins, committed perhaps during the early life of an elderly person facing judgment? Was the primal sin of Adam and Eve too “remote” to necessitate Our Savior becoming incarnate in order to redeem us? Would a somehow lesser atonement, rather than the appalling Passion and Crucifixion of Our Savior, the very worst crime in all history, have been really necessary, especially when seen against the reality of the utter “remoteness” of the Original Sin of our first parents? Did not the very remote murder of Abel by his brother Cain, call down upon Cain and his descendants a punishment until the end of time, branding them with “The Mark of Cain”? Does a single unrepented and unconfessed mortal sin, however “remote an event” it happens to be, not deserve eternal punishment, or is its effect somehow diluted with passage of time, the passage of eons upon eons? Is Jesus, Truth and Justice Personified, misleading us in His warnings about eternal damnation? Are mortal sins, somehow sanitized and minimized by the passage of time? Can an unrepentant doctor who murdered an unborn child 60 years ago, be confident that he will escape from being cast into Hell? How really remote, even in human terms, is the relatively short length of time that this demonic industry of death has been in production? The murder of a single unborn child has eternal consequences. This unbaptized child is, according to most traditional theologians, denied the Beatific Vision for all Eternity. All the future graces, work, prayers, and other events of that child’s life and of all the progeny of that child, until the end of time, are destroyed, prevented, and in a very real use of the word, “aborted.”
The mitigation of culpable cooperation in evil over time is ostensibly something Emmanuele Barbieri believes; but that is not his main new plan of attack, which the reader of his article quickly perceives. Barbieri proceeds to highlight what he sees as the inconsistencies of his opponents regarding acceptance of common over-the-counter drugs. “One must therefore assume,” he writes, “that, according to their thesis, one should also categorically reject all those drugs that have made use of [fetal stem cell] lines in their respective testing phases.” Barbieri then extolls the virtues of the HEK-293 line, pointing out just how “instrumental” it has been “in understanding possible side effects” of certain drugs.
Barbieri targets ibuprofen, aspirin, omeprazole and even hydroxychloroquine. He tells us how each of these has used the HEK-293 stem cell line; but there is something amiss in his argument. In fact, even the casual reader will notice that all the HEK-293 tests on the drugs that were cited by Barbieri were accomplished within the last seven years. Those of us who have a memory of having used (or having known others who have used) these medications for several decades — long before abortion was legal — will ask the obvious question: How does latter-year testing of drugs that have been in existence and common use since at least the middle of the last century equate to abortion-tainted testing for development of new (e.g., COVID-19) and future vaccines? Well, it doesn’t equate at all; Barbieri is mixing up his apples and oranges.
In fact, Jose Trasancos, writing on the website Children of God for Life, on May 12, 2021, takes issue with the very same argument proffered by Fr. Matthew Schneider in January of this year. Trasancos devastates Schneider’s position — a position that the priest shares with Barbieri. The entire article by Trasancos is very well done; but just one excerpt will serve our purposes to show that Barbieri and Schneider are simply wrong about the moral equivalence of established common medicines with abortion-tainted vaccines:
Fr. Schneider’s article equates the use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccine development to the “testing” applied to his list of often-prescribed and common OTC medications. They are not — I repeat — they are not the same thing. Fr. Schneider’s reference to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) as one of the OTC drugs “tested” in aborted fetal cell lines is the best example to demonstrate the problem with his argument. Acetylsalicylic acid was first produced by French chemist Charles Frédéric Gerhardt in 1853 and the U.S. patent for aspirin was awarded to Bayer in the year 1900. Of course, aborted fetal cell lines were in the distant future, rendering their use in the development of aspirin an impossibility.
Without ascribing any intentional deceitfulness or hidden agenda to the accommodationists like Barbieri, one wonders why they do not seem able or willing to address the real issue, instead of creating red herrings. In his last paragraph, Barbieri extends an olive branch to those of us who have drawn a firm line against abortion-tainted vaccines and pharmaceuticals, suggesting that we unite to fight legalized abortion and euthanasia. But he misses the point entirely: As long as people accept immoral vaccines, abortions will continue. His reliance on the documents issued since 2005 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Academy for Life do, in fact, leave open the possibility of accepting illicit vaccines under certain conditions, provided that Catholics fulfill their “duty” to make known their objections to appropriate government agencies and to the drug manufacturers themselves. How is that working out for us?
Not well, in that the Vatican itself is confused in its 2017 claim that abortions are no longer necessary for medical research. As if that were not bad enough, the Director of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., takes his own swipe at Pamela Acker as he perpetuates the myth that the HEK-293 line is derived from “a single fetus … in 1972 or 1973.” Don’t you love the way those who counsel accommodation speak of a fetus instead of a baby, and how no one seems to know the exact year the supposed single murder took place? As for the Vatican’s lack of moral leadership, only two years prior to that spurious 2017 claim telling us of the “news” that abortions are no longer necessary, a completely new cell line was created from murdered babies in China. Why? Because of the demand! Furthermore, the International Society for Stem Cell Research just recently updated its rules to allow experimentation on human embryos older than 14 days old. Despite the Vatican’s passive resistance strategy, medical “researchers” are upping the ante in this moral war.
As we mentioned earlier, the sad and tragic fact is that when we consent to abortion-tainted vaccines and other pharmaceuticals, we contribute to the demand for the “medical research”/big pharma industry to continue harvesting — in a most brutal fashion. It is too important not to reiterate: These innocent children, according to most traditional theologians, will be denied the Beatific Vision for all eternity. In so doing, we then become what the Doctors and Fathers of the Church call “accessories to sin.” Of the nine ways of being an accessory to another’s sin, the Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions three that are relevant to our discussion:
by defense of the ill done
These need not be elaborated on to see how those who seek accommodation with the world on the issue of abortion-tainted vaccines are fueling the harvesting of aborted babies. Any Catholic worth the name can easily provide an example of “partaking.” A simple analogy would be the case of a heroin addict who breaks into homes and steals valuable household items, selling these ill-gotten goods to support his habit. The person who purchases such things, knowing the circumstances, is “partaking” in the crime of the thief (and encouraging the addict to commit more crimes). Regarding silence, there are those who know the truth of the matter and who — for whatever reason — refuse to speak the truth. As for defense of the ill done, lamentably, there are those who defend these unspeakable acts against children by citing the supposed benefits of health and the common good. Emmanuele Barbieri can list all the purported benefits of HEK-293 he can find; but what about the unbaptized children who were murdered to provide these supposed benefits? Perhaps those who counsel acceptance of vaccines obtained from murdered babies should revisit Our Lord’s words about millstones around their necks and being thrown into the depths of the sea (Matt. 18:6; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2). After all, there are arguably few things worse than risking a child’s chance to ever enjoy the Beatific Vision, especially by rationalizing the use of their DNA and stem cells as an aid to our own health (which is questionable, at best, anyway).
Catholic “experts” who recommend acceptance of abortion-tainted vaccines and pharmaceuticals are clearly complicit. In jurisprudence, they are considered “accomplices after the fact,” while in moral theology, they are most definitely “accessories to another’s sins.” They would do well to think long and hard about how such acceptance will encourage those who wish to exploit the harvesting of organs and stem cells from murdered babies and perpetuate the gruesome practice. The only way to stop this is to say, “No!” Why can’t Barbieri see this? Still, he is right about one thing: We must stand together; however, it must not be only to stop abortion and euthanasia, but firmly and finally to tell those who make such decisions that we Catholics will no longer tolerate or accept vaccines and pharmaceuticals tested and developed with the stem cells of murdered babies. Knowing what we know about this continuing practice, it is a willful blindness for us to call for an end to abortion on the one hand, while on the other we accept the continued ill-gotten fruits of the abortion industry. Let us pray to Our Lord Jesus Christ that He does for all of us what He did when He healed the blind man who asked of Him, “Lord, that I may see!”
Tony and Vickie Ambrosetti live in north Idaho, in a cottage in the piney woods overlooking the Spokane River valley. They were moved to start their own Catholic blog, Tradidi Quod et Accepi, to help pass down the beautiful Truths of the Catholic Faith to their children and grandchildren.
Dr. Claude E. Newbury, M.B., B.Ch., D.T.M&H., D.O.H., M.F.G.P., D.P.H., D.C.H., D.A., M. Med., is a retired physician and past President of Pro-Life in South Africa.