On The Moral Liceity of Vaccination against Covid*

by Prof de Mattei


The terms of the moral question

In this paper, I will seek to look in depth at a much-debated and most significant question: the moral liceity of anti-Covid vaccines.

In brief, the problem is this: from the standpoint of Catholic and natural morality, are vaccinations against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 licit or illicit, given that the vaccines currently available use cell lines derived from aborted foetuses? Does the receipt of, or if I am a doctor, the injection of vac- cines, render me complicit in abortion, hence committing a grave sin?

In the Catholic world, this question was the sub- ject of a document published on 12 December 2020 by a cardinal and four bishops, in which it was declared that a Catholic can in no way partici- pate, even indirectly and remotely, in what is the greatest crime of our time against God and against humanity: abortion.1

The authors of this document see a clear con- tradiction between Catholic doctrine forbidding abortion, categorically and under any circumstances, as a grave moral evil which cries out to heaven, and the regarding of vaccines derived from the cell lines of aborted foetuses to be mo- rally acceptable in cases of exceptional need.