In times of trouble, as is the case today, and, worse still, of confusion within the Church, spread far and wide by many of its shepherds, God in his Providence never abandons his children, but rather raises up true shepherds, as precious as they are rare, who remain steadfast in their fidelity to the faith and the morals of Holy Mother Church, and show themselves to be lovingly paternal in their pastoral solicitude. Such is in our own day our beloved Bishop Athanasius Schneider.
We might add that Our Lady never abandons her children, and that Her Maternal Heart plays a role in raising up such bishops. The following anecdote might serve as a sign of this Maternal solicitude: Those who have been blessed to have been able to kiss the episcopal ring of this faithful shepherd have remarked with joy that on his ring is engraved the image of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, so that, according to his heart’s desire, those who would embrace this ring would, in fact, be embracing Our Lady. How beautiful!
Bishop Schneider courageously warns us of the grave evil of the fetal industry and, consequently, of the immorality of using abortion-tainted vaccines.
A defense of Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s stance on abortion-tainted vaccines
In a recent article published in Calx Mariae, Bishop Schneider was clearly, although not nominally, targeted when the authors, rather hastily given the gravity of the accusation, treat his stance on the morality of abortion-tainted vaccines as being in opposition to the “perennial teaching of the Church,” and even constituting “a new morality, a new church.” Also, during a recent conference, organized by Voice of the Family, His Eminence Willem Jacobus Cardinal Eijk, in prudent terms, defended the moral liceity of recourse to abortion-tainted COVID vaccines, while criticizing the contrary position, as defended principally by Bishop Schneider.
However, prior to expressing this respectful disagreement, I would like to express my gratitude for the many truths affirmed by all of the speakers at this conference, and my agreement with much of the content of the several excellent interventions on a variety of subjects, on the part of some of the finest voices in the Church today. Among others, there was the talk given by Mr. John Smeaton, a pro-life warrior for 50 years and the co-founder of Voice of the Family, in which he condemns, with great force of conviction, the physical murder of the unborn through the crime of abortion, as well as the spiritual murder of innocent children through a perverse sexual education. There was also the excellent talk by Father Serafino Lanzetta, Marian theologian and pastor, who deplores the fact that the Church is this time of crisis missed the opportunity to be a beacon of light and hope – opportunity, I might add, which he himself has not missed, as he tirelessly spreads the true devotion to Our Lady, with great depth and fecundity, through his teaching on the beauty of the mystery of Mary, a great blessing for the faithful in this time of crisis.
And there is notably the conference by his Eminence Cardinal Eijk, in which he explains, in concise terms, the moral principle formulated by Saint Alphonsus of Liguori, concerning the principle, and the conditions, determining the liceity of material cooperation with evil actions. His presentation of this principle of remote, indirect, material cooperation is clear: the cooperation may never be formal, but only material, that is to say, excluding formal approval of the evil; it must be indirect, that is, absolutely excluding direct accomplishing of an inherently evil action; it should be remote, that is, avoiding proximity with the evil at hand. However, even such a cooperation with evil must be avoided at all costs, except when certain very strict conditions are met, and, most notably, only when there is a proportionally grave reason which would render this cooperation licit.
In other words, if these strict conditions are not met, then cooperation cannot be justified. In this case, the proper application of this principle would be to say that it cannot be used to justify this cooperation. However, explaining a principle of moral theology is, unfortunately, not the same thing as applying it correctly to any particular case. And, relying upon Bishop Schneider’s stance, while expressing it in my own words, I would like respectfully to express disagreement with the application made of this principle in our case.
Bishop Schneider has been accused of denying the moral principle in itself, whereas he has repeatedly stated that he does not deny this principle itself, but only the manner in which it has been applied in our case of abortion-tainted vaccines. It is therefore unfair to state or imply that he rejects the principle simply because he does not agree on its application to the case at hand. The crux of Bishop Schneider’s argument, as he has laid it out, if I am not mistaken, is the following: The use of abortion-tainted vaccines brings us to a close, not remote, collaboration with the fetal industry and its products, a use which is because of this proximity immoral.
Furthermore, it causes scandal, since by such a use we are de facto supporting that immoral industry. Moreover, that use weakens considerably our necessary public protest not only against abortion itself, but also against the growing fetal industry. Finally, the fetal industry is so exceptionally immoral and horrible that it cannot be considered as the moral equivalent of other common issues concerned with collaboration with or benefitting from evil acts of others, such as products of slave labor. What could compare, indeed, with “the incomparable evil… of an ever daily growing industry of killing unborn children” which, together with the fetal industry, constitute “one of the greatest evils of mankind”?
Bishop Schneider’s position is not a rejection of the traditional moral principle of cooperation with evil as developed by Saint Alphonsus of Liguori, but, on the contrary, it is its proper application. How so? I will make two points, the second being the most essential one.
First, as the nature of the evil is not properly identified, our proximity to this evil is not correctly ascertained, and secondly, and most importantly, no argumentation is provided to demonstrate that the strict condition of there being a proportionally grave reason to cooperate materially with this evil has been met. Indeed, as, Bishop Schneider constantly reiterates, regarding the grievousness of the sins involved in the abortion and fetal industries: “the proportionality is extremely grave and extraordinary.” I will contend that our health threat does not constitute a proportionally grave reason.
Is the evil limited to one initial abortion performed decades ago?
Firstly, then, the contention that our cooperation with evil, if we accept to be injected with an abortion-tainted vaccine, is remote, is unfounded.
It is not true that the evil with which we would materially cooperate is limited to the initial abortion performed several decades ago, which provided the fetal cell lines utilized in the development or testing of the vaccines. One must also take into account the grave evils which ensued, committed by the fetal industry, through the use of fetal cells in the development and testing of these vaccines. As Bishop Schneider has insisted, these evils, although dependent upon the initial abortion, are distinct from it, are crimes in themselves.
These include: the harvesting and theft of a baby’s body parts for the sake of biomedical research; the desecration of his remains which are disposed of in the most degrading manner; the manipulation of this baby’s body parts to extract the cells useful for research; the utilization of the cell lines in the development and testing of medicines; the marketing of these immorally produced abortion-tainted medicines by the pharmaceutical industries; and so on. These crimes are clearly less remote, in closer in proximity to us than the initial abortion.
In addition, the evil with which we would be cooperating is, in fact, not merely the precise abortion and the precise subsequent crimes which enabled the production of each vaccine, but it is also the abortion industry as a whole and the fetal industry as a whole, both of which are growing by leaps and bounds, since we would, through our cooperation, be supporting and encouraging the growth of these industries, especially the hideous practice of organ harvesting and the creation of new fetal cell lines. We would also, thereby, be weakening our moral resistance to these most heinous of crimes, and finally also causing scandal to all those who believed that the Church was a staunch defender of the sanctity of unborn human life. And this is especially true today, at a time when we are witnesses to the mass murder of innocents, on a scale unprecedented in history, with an estimated 2 billion unborn babies having been massacred worldwide since abortion was legalized half a century ago, and with an estimated 1 in 4 of all unborn children worldwide slaughtered today in the womb! Moreover, those who would justify recourse to such vaccines have not uttered a word of protest against the evil of the fetal industry, and this silence constitutes a grave omission of the duty, which they themselves recognize, to protest against these crimes, as well as, yet again, causing a scandal, as this lack of protest shows a de facto approval of, or at least an indifference to, the fetal industry.
This acquiescence to abortion-tainted vaccines and this lack of protest, at this precise historical moment, constitute a monumental failure on the part of the Church hierarchy to exercise its divinely ordained moral authority.
It must be noted that Cardinal Eijk is simply reiterating the position of the Vatican over the past two decades. However, neither Cardinal Eijk, nor the Vatican declarations, which are not infallible in their application of this principle, takes into account our cooperation with the chain of evils, linked to, but distinct from, the initial abortion, which is the starting point from which has sprung up an entire fetal organ harvesting industry.
Should we not take into account, as we try to apply this principle of material cooperation, the vast amplitude and the profound grievousness of this ever-growing fetal industry? Our awareness on this issue has deepened in recent years, in large part thanks to the very meritorious reporting of LifeSiteNews, and our new awareness should come into play in our assessment of the morality of recourse to abortion-tainted vaccines. Bishop Schneider in his interventions on this topic does just this.
This disregard for the evils of the fetal industry, to which we are rather proximately than remotely connected, is the first reason why this moral principle is improperly applied, but it is not the most significant misjudgment, as we will now see.
Which way does the balance lean?
The most important thing to consider in this case is the very strict condition which is placed on this material cooperation, namely that there be a proportionally grave reason to cooperate. Indeed, the liceity of this material cooperation is seriously restricted by, and hinges upon this condition, the fulfillment of which would alone permit it. To ascertain whether or not this proportionately serious reason exists, without which this cooperation is illicit, one must weigh, so to speak, on a balance, on the one hand, the urgency of the need, i.e. the gravity of the present threat to public health, against, on the other hand, the incomparable evil of the ever-growing abortion and fetal industries, involving the gruesome mass murder of unborn children, the dismemberment of their bodies, the harvesting of their organs, the processing of their cells in laboratories, and so on in an long chain of iniquity leading to the production of certain vaccines which are the evil fruits of this long series of unspeakably callous and cruel crimes.
The correctness of the stance held by Bishop Schneider, as opposed to that of the Vatican, reiterated by Cardinal Eijk, resides essentially, in my opinion, in this precise point. Cardinal Eijk formulates it thus: “indirect material cooperation with illicit acts may sometimes be justifiable, but then on strict conditions. … The cooperator should have a proportionally grave reason for cooperating in somebody else’s illicit act. To evaluate the gravity of the reason one should take into account … whether it concerns cooperation with a serious or less serious evil act.”
Then, in order to apply this principle, he states the following: “On the one hand, procured abortion is a serious evil, on the other hand the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts social life in the whole world. It is, of course, true that the disaster of the pandemic does not justify abortion in itself, but in some cases it may be possible in the case of indirect material cooperation in it.” The precise explanation we expect is wanting. There is no argumentation, no demonstration, but a mere affirmation. And yet, the current debate obviously hinges upon whether the strict condition is fulfilled or not!
There is no effort to argue or prove that this essential condition has been met. It is simply asserted as if it were a truth so obvious that it requires no proof. However, the missing evidence has perhaps been provided by Mr. Smeaton himself, in his own conference. He affirms with great conviction that abortion is “the greatest moral evil in the history of the world,” that it constitutes “a war on humanity of apocalyptic proportions.” So, now, let us ask ourselves: Just how heavily does the greatest moral evil in the history of humanity, which is a war on humanity of apocalyptic proportions, weigh on one side of the balance? Rather heavily, I suppose. Might it not even break the balance under its crushing weight? And, proportionally speaking (as proportionality is what we are to consider as the “strict condition” to be met) is there actually in our health crisis “a proportionally grave reason” for cooperating with this evil?
What if, in the above quotation from Cardinal Eijk’s talk, we replace the tepid-sounding words: “on the one hand, procured abortion is a serious evil,” with Mr. Smeaton’s own strong words: “On one side of the balance we must place ‘the greatest moral evil in the history of the world’ which constitutes ‘a war on humanity of apocalyptic proportions’”? And he is referring only to abortion, without including the fetal industry! If we were to add this organ-harvesting industry onto the balance, how much more apocalyptic would the proportions become? Would this not tip the balance even more heavily on the side of this overwhelming evil?
Furthermore, let us try to clarify the following inaccurate words: “on the other hand the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts social life in the whole world” by carefully distinguishing the illness and mortality caused by the virus from the disruption of social life caused by governments the world over. We could end up with a statement like the following: “On one side of the balance we must place ‘the greatest moral evil in the history of the world’ which constitutes ‘a war on humanity of apocalyptic proportions,’ on the other side we must place the Covid-19 pandemic, with its overall survival rate of close to or above 99 %.”
This would set aside the governmental decisions as a distinct question, namely: Might these governmental measures not be disproportionate to the actual threat of the virus?
But first, if we truly contemplate the incommensurable gravity of this evil, regarding which Bishop Schneider states that “the proportionality is extremely grave and extraordinary,” how grave a health threat would actually warrant recourse to such abortion-tainted vaccines? Would the gravity of the Black Death of the 14th century, which killed up to 200 million people, constitute a sufficient counter-weight to the incommensurable evil of the ever-growing abortion and fetal industries? Does our pandemic come near to constituting “a proportionately serious reason” for using abortion-tainted vaccines, thereby cooperating with “the greatest moral evil in the history of the world”?
In addition, it could be asserted that not only is the evil with which we would cooperate immensely greater than the threat to bodily health overall, but one could equally assert that global governmental measures were disproportionate compared with the threat to public health, and that the primacy of the common good over fundamental individual liberties would not warrant, in this case, restrictive measures of such monumental proportions. Was it truly warranted by the common good, given the gravity of the threat to public health, to mandate such long-term isolation of individuals from their parish, school, and other natural communities, by imprisoning them in their homes for long periods of time? Does the gravity of the public health threat warrant the denial to such an extraordinary degree of the most fundamental liberties: to leave one’s home and walk in the street, to earn one’s daily bread and feed one’s family, to breathe without impediment, to face the world with dignity and not masked with faceless fear, to render to God Almighty the worship due to Him through attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?
People of goodwill can disagree about the safety, efficacy and religious implications of a new vaccine for the coronavirus.
But, everyone should agree on this point:
No government can force anyone who has reached legal adulthood to be vaccinated for the coronavirus. Equally, no government can vaccinate minors for the coronavirus against the will of their parents or guardians.
Please SIGN this urgent petition which urges policymakers at every level of government to reject calls for mandatory coronavirus vaccination.
Fear of a disease - which we know very little about, relative to other similar diseases - must not lead to knee-jerk reactions regarding public health, nor can it justify supporting the hidden agenda of governmental as well as non-governmental bodies that have apparent conflicts of interest in plans to restrict personal freedoms.
The so-called "public health experts" have gotten it wrong many times during the current crisis. We should not, therefore, allow their opinions to rush decision-makers into policies regarding vaccination.
And, while some people, like Bill Gates, may have a lot of money, his opinion and that of his NGO (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) - namely, that life will not return to normal till people are widely vaccinated - should not be permitted to influence policy decisions on a coronavirus vaccination program.
Finally, we must also not allow the rush by pharmaceutical companies to produce a new coronavirus vaccine to, itself, become an imperative for vaccination.
Unwitting citizens must not be used as guinea pigs for New World Order ideologues, or Big Pharma, in pursuit of a vaccine (and, profits) which may not even protect against future mutated strains of the coronavirus.
And it goes without saying that the production of vaccines using aborted babies for cell replication is a total non-starter, as the technique is gravely immoral.
However, if after sufficient study of the issue, a person who has reached the age of majority wishes to be vaccinated with a morally produced vaccine, along with his children, that is his business.
But we cannot and will not permit the government to make that decision for us.
Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this petition, urging policymakers at all levels of government to reject mandatory coronavirus vaccination.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Bill Gates: Life won’t go back to ‘normal’ until population 'widely vaccinated' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bill-gates-life-wont-go-back-to-normal-until-population-widely-vaccinated
COVID-19 scare leads to more digital surveillance, talk of mandatory vaccine 'tattoos' for kids' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/covid-19-scare-leads-to-more-digital-surveillance-talk-of-mandatory-vaccine-tattoos-for-kids
Trudeau says no return to ‘normal’ without vaccine: 'Could take 12 to 18 months' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/trudeau-says-no-return-to-normal-without-vaccine-could-take-12-to-18-months
Trudeau mulls making coronavirus vaccine mandatory for Canadians - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/trudeau-mulls-making-coronavirus-vaccine-mandatory-for-canadians
US bishop vows to ‘refuse’ COVID-19 vaccine if made from ‘aborted fetal tissue' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/us-bishop-vows-to-refuse-covid-19-vaccine-if-made-from-aborted-fetal-tissue
** While LifeSite opposes immorally-produced vaccines using aborted fetal cell lines, we do not have a position on any particular coronavirus vaccines produced without such moral problems. We realize many have general concerns about vaccines, but also recognize that millions of lives have been saved due to vaccines.
*** Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
To summarize: the evil with which we would be cooperating, as Bishop Schneider insists, is not only the abortion industry, but also the fetal industry. The crimes involved in this latter industry, which have not been taken into account, are proximate, not remote, as might perhaps be the case with the initial abortion. Finally, the strict condition of a proportionally grave reason is not met in this case because, as Bishop Schneider forcefully reminds us, the sins of the abortion and the fetal industries are of such immense proportions, as to render cooperation with them illicit. In other words, therefore, the strict condition on this theory limiting the liceity of material cooperation has not been met due to the extraordinary gravity of the crimes.
A call for courageous bishops
Mr. Smeaton, in his talk, calls for courageous bishops to confront the evils of abortion and the perversion of the education of the young, the killing of bodies and the maiming of souls, and he quotes Cardinal von Galen who, when the Nazis were triumphant, courageously spoke out against the evils of the Nazi regime: “The dear God … made me the leader and responsible guide of hundreds and thousands… when God’s truth and justice… and the rights of the human being, were … thrown on the ground.”
However, one could respectfully suggest that he need not look so far back in time to find such courage. Bishop Athanasius Schneider raises his voice in our moral wasteland to defend the sanctity of the lives of the unborn: not only does he denounce our massacre of the innocents, but also the callous harvesting of their little organs in our modern feticidal horror tale.
What would Saint Alphonsus of Liguori and Our Blessed Mother say?
Finally, we could ponder over the following questions: What would Saint Alphonsus of Liguori say about the way in which the moral principle he wisely formulated is being applied in the case of abortion-tainted vaccines, fruits of “the greatest moral evil in the history of the world”? Is it really self-evident that this great Marian saint would approve of those who, without satisfactory explanation of how they apply this principle, declare cooperation licit with the unconscionably heinous crime of the present-day mass murder of a quarter of the infants in the wombs of mothers worldwide through the abortion industry? And what would he say about our further descent into the hell on earth we ourselves are creating, through the ever-growing exploitation of their organs through the development of vaccines by the fetal industry?
Let’s, indeed, now invoke this great saint: O Saint Alphonsus, our heavenly friend and paternal intercessor, you who so beautifully sang the Glories of our Blessed Mother during your earthly sojourn, please enlighten us: Is there a proportionally grave reason, in our case of abortion-tainted vaccines, for declaring licit cooperation with these “unspeakable” crimes which are “the uttermost negation of the truth of man,” “the greatest crimes, the greatest persecutions, in human history,” and constitute “a war on humanity of apocalyptic proportions”? Do we not hear Saint Alphonsus, without hesitating for even a second, respond to us: Beloved friends, dear little ones who are painfully plodding along in the dimly lit vale of tears, did you really need so much time to examine this case? Was there really any reason to hesitate about how this principle, which I formulated for difficult cases, applies here? Is the response you seek not self-evident to the simplest of childlike souls? And do we not see Saint Alphonsus in heavenly realm, turning towards his Blessed Mother, to request her wise words? Does she not, in lieu of response, without uttering a single word, simply show to him, to us, Her Immaculate Heart, pierced to the core by our feticidal sins of fathomless depth?