The Church in Europe

Rome Theologian Discusses the Vaccine Mandate, ‘Green Pass’ and Conscience Exemptions. For Edward Pentin

ROME — Vaccine mandates and COVID-related restrictions imposed by state and diocesan authorities, sometimes without exemption rights, are causing considerable concern for many Catholics.

The Archdiocese of Chicago is requiring all its employees to receive the vaccine for COVID over the next few weeks, while others won’t issue letters of exemption on religious grounds, despite many Catholics conscientiously objecting to the vaccines because they are abortion-tainted or considered by some to be unsafe.

In Rome, three pontifical universities are mandating the “green pass” — a vaccine passport in Italy that from Sept. 1 will be needed for long-distance travel and other reasons, while the Pontifical North American College is requesting its seminarians to receive the vaccine.

But how much is such pressure to have the vaccine in conformity with Church teaching? In this Aug. 30 interview with the Register, Father Mauro Gagliardi, professor of dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, questions the moral legitimacy of such coercion. A self-confessed “free vaxxer” as opposed to “anti-vaxxer,” Father Gagliardi also examines exemption rights in light of 2020 Vatican guidance and argues “we can be in favor of convincing people, not of forcing them.”

Father Gagliardi, a priest of the Archdiocese of Salerno, Italy, is author of Truth Is a Synthesis: Catholic Dogmatic Theology, a volume that presents for beginners a comprehensive, organic view of the Catholic faith.


Father Gagliardi, what are your concerns about the way governments, institutions and businesses are trying to mandate vaccines?

The main concern is about the personal responsibility of every individual regarding the most personal dimensions of one’s life, such as health care. If governments and other institutions impose an obligatory treatment, that’s a sign that the person is not considered responsible.

That is a measure usually taken for mentally ill people. A different case is that of children. Parents, who hold and exercise parental responsibility on them, can and should decide in place of their child that he must receive a medical treatment, e.g., a vaccination.

National rulers, especially in a democracy, do not hold and thus cannot exercise any parental responsibility on citizens. Democratic rulers are, on the contrary, at the service of citizens, as their representatives. Governments should work to support, not to substitute, people’s personal responsibility. In this case, governments should make the vaccines available, and they can even offer incentives for citizens who want to take them, but governments should not force people, directly or indirectly, to receive the jab. Rulers should work for the common good (in this case, public health), but the principle of subsidiarity cannot be denied. This always leaves room for a conscientious objection on the part of citizens.

The EU, in Resolution 2361, adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly on Jan. 27, 2021, with respect to ensuring a high vaccine uptake, mandates: “Ensure that citizens are informed that the vaccination is not mandatory and that no one is under political, social or other pressure to be vaccinated if they do not wish to do so” (7.3.1), and “Ensure that no one is discriminated against for not having been vaccinated, due to possible health risks or not wanting to be vaccinated” (7.3.2).


How does the authoritarianism we are witnessing with regards to the COVID vaccines, especially the widespread dogmatist approach to mandating vaccines for everyone, despite questions over their safety and ethical production, square with Catholic moral teaching? 

Some speak of a “moral obligation” to take the vaccine. Pope Francis said in an interview that being vaccinated is an ethical duty. But when the Pontiff approved and ordered the publication of the official CDF note that declares the use of the COVID vaccines morally acceptable, he also approved the passage of that document that specified vaccination should not be mandatory.

A principle of moral theology is that negative laws oblige always, while positive laws not in all cases. There is no exception, for example, to “Thou shall not kill,” as it is in the negative. But there are many exceptions to “Honor your parents” (and this commandment applies to authorities of all kinds). Even if vaccination were really a moral obligation, it would certainly not be mandatory in the strict sense. Otherwise, the CDF could have not said it must remain non-obligatory.


You are referencing the 2020 note on the vaccines, in which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states that “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.” It also states that those who “for reasons of conscience, refuse vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted fetuses” must do their utmost to avoid contracting or spreading the virus using other means, especially among the most vulnerable. Why is this guidance not being heeded by some, including bishops in the United States, who argue that their priests should not aid in providing religious exemptions?

There are also other interesting passages in the same document. In the first place, the CDF states: “We do not intend to judge the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, although ethically relevant and necessary.” As appropriate for a magisterial text, the congregation speaks only about faith and morals, not about scientific evaluations, which in themselves do not form part of the proper object of the magisterium, even if such evaluations can on occasions be of great help to pronounce a moral judgment. A consequence is that the CDF has taught that the COVID vaccines may be taken, but the congregation has neither said that they work, nor that they are safe. It has not said that, and it could not have said it.

A second precision of the document is that “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process,” but this “when ethically irreproachable COVID-19 vaccines are not available.” Thus, the congregation adds: “Both pharmaceutical companies and governmental health agencies are therefore encouraged to produce, approve, distribute and offer ethically acceptable vaccines that do not create problems of conscience for either health-care providers or the people to be vaccinated.”

It would therefore be important that the Church asked for, and endorsed, a prompt production of “ethically acceptable vaccines,” as the document calls them. The CDF speaks of “vaccines that do not create a problem of conscience.” This way, the congregation, notwithstanding its moral, prudential judgment on the issue, is acknowledging that it is legitimate to have doubts of conscience. I opine that such doubts can be addressed not only to the process of production of the vaccines, but also to their potential future outcomes, and to the political-mediatic process that aims at imposing them.


Given the CDF’s instruction, would you say it is immoral for Church leaders and institutions, and also other organizations, not to allow religious exemptions?

I don’t think that this is a strictly religious matter. That vaccination should be freely chosen is not only a Christian moral stance, but a position that is demonstrable by way of natural ethics. There is no shortage of non-Christians and nonbelievers who are in favor of a free vaccination, and they can argue their stance. However, like other matters such as contraception, abortion and euthanasia, these are, strictly speaking, not only Christian values, but also human values. Nonetheless, religious exemptions are conceded to Catholics regarding these values, and so probably religious exemptions should also be conceded in this case. I am not sure that it is immoral not to concede them, but I would suggest bishops and Catholic institutions allow them.


In the U.K. and in some other countries, the government is planning to, or going to, allow children over the age of 12 to receive the vaccine without parental consent. Is this immoral, given their age and the fact that young people are least likely to be affected by COVID and more at risk of rare but serious side effects?

I am not a doctor or trained in medicine, but it is clear that these are not just vaccines in the classic sense of the word. Although the authorities insist that they are safe, no one knows for sure their effects in the medium and long term — neither the pharmaceutical companies that produce them, nor the governments that, at least in certain cases, impose them. I am not saying that the vaccines will produce consequences. Hopefully not. This is also not to say that those who have chosen to be injected with the anti-COVID agent have made an error. I am saying that vaccines might produce consequences, and this cannot be overlooked by those seeking to form their conscience in view of such an important decision. I don’t have the truth in my pocket. The point is: Should a person of good and formed conscience evaluate these aspects in order to make a decision?

Some countries declare other vaccines obligatory for children. But those are classic vaccines, which have been tested for decades, and the illnesses they aim to prevent are life-threatening for children; hence such laws can be considered proportionate. In the case of the COVID vaccines, however, the two elements I just mentioned are missing. First, we don’t know if these drugs are really safe in the intermediate and long term (again: I am not saying that they are not; we just don’t know). Second, the COVID-related mortality rate for young people, especially children and teenagers, is practically zero. So why have them vaccinated? Third, the FDA has recently approved one (not all) of these vaccines, stating at the same time that this one “also continues to be available under emergency-use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age.” This implies that: 1) all other countries have, for now, only an EUA for COVID vaccines; 2) one country alone has approved only one among the many vaccines; and 3) even this one is still injected under EUA for teenagers 12 to 15 of age. As a consequence, billions of people worldwide are being vaccinated with a drug that has received only an emergency-use authorization and, in that sense, can be considered experimental.

Does this not mean that we still need reflection and study and that it is prudent for a person to discern if in his case he should receive the jab? How can vaccines that are clearly still under scientific scrutiny be made mandatory? As soon as the FDA approved that one vaccine, an Italian virologist declared that now it should be made obligatory. But there is no reason to support such a stance. Not all approved drugs are supposed to be imposed on people, and the low death rate of COVID does not justify such an imposition. We can be in favor of convincing people, not of forcing them.


The Pope again spoke on Aug. 27 about the effectiveness of the vaccines and the need to distribute them to everyone, seemingly without exception. He has also spoken of an ethical duty to take them. Does his position undermine anyone who wishes to refuse the vaccine on religious or moral grounds? Is it wrong for a Catholic to disagree with him on this?  

As a general rule, every Catholic pays the greatest respect to the bishop of Rome, by reason of his office. His magisterial teachings, even if not proposed in a definitive way, need to be heeded according to a religious reverence of intellect and will. The Church, however, teaches also that not all pronouncements have the same weight and bind the faithful’s assent at the same level. In an interview earlier this year, the Holy Father had described being vaccinated as an ethical duty. More recently, he called it an act of love, which, in a sense, is even more compelling, but in another is less obligatory, if compared to strict duty. So far, the Holy Father has never said that vaccines should be obligatory.

In brief, given the low magisterial degree of the cited interventions, the object of the pronouncement (not directly a matter of faith and morals) and the need for more precision on what has been said, all Catholics will listen to the words of the Pope with the highest respect. Called to discern his words, they will seriously ponder them, but every Catholic can still decide not to receive the jab in good conscience.


Do you think, as many do, that these vaccine mandates (the Green Pass in Italy and other forms of vaccine passports elsewhere) are a kind of health tyranny that could lead to further restrictions on personal freedom, but that many Church leaders and an unsuspecting public in general haven’t woken up to this yet? 

Let me say, first of all, that I am not an “anti-vaxxer” (I receive every year the anti-flu vaccine) and I think a debate between pro-vax and anti-vax, between the “enlightened” and the “retrograde,” is simplistic. A better label, if one is needed, is that of “free vax.” I want to defend the possibility of making a free choice with a good and formed conscience, without being discriminated against because of it. Among the free vaxxers there are also many persons who have been vaccinated or will be soon. Therefore, it is not a question of a denialist or ideological position. Nor is it a question of defending libertarianism, but rather freedom — freedom founded on reason and on the possibility of an honest and responsible self-determination of persons, on the basis of a correctly formed conscience. Blind trust in authority, which itself is subject to the law, is a mistake. One cannot prudently offer total trust that suspends even the use of reason. It seems that even many intellectuals have forgotten the lesson of St. Augustine, not long ago reproposed by Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est, 28: “Remota itaque iustitia quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia? — If justice is removed, what are kingdoms but great thefts?” We cannot simply assume that rulers and leaders always work for the common good. Many times, they do, but errors, ideology and corruption do exist.

Not a few people are afraid that the imposition of the vaccination aims at legitimizing new forms of political tyranny. As of now, it is hard to tell whether this is true. Other explanations remain possible. What can be said is that, if that were true, the present situation would be coherent with that hypothesis. The Church — indeed, any person of goodwill — without becoming a conspiracy theorist, is called to keep their mind and eyes wide open and to use a capacity for critical thought, according to reason.  


Pietro De Marco, an Italian sociologist of religion at the University of Florence, recently criticized your position, saying that being a “free vaxxer” is not a legitimate stance and arguing that the vaccines aren’t experimental. Would you like to respond to his critique? 

I respect professor De Marco, and I have liked many of his interventions in the past. I was surprised when he published a bitter column bashing those who refuse to be vaccinated. I felt compelled to send a letter to Sandro Magister, who hosted De Marco’s article on his blog. Magister kindly published my letter, accompanying it with De Marco’s reply. At the beginning of his second text, De Marco appreciates my “reasoned remarks” and seems to rectify the tone of his first intervention by writing that “we should always apologize for raising our voices too much.”

The rest of his reply, however, seems in a sense to be even harsher than the first one. I decided not to publish a detailed answer to De Marco’s reply, as I didn’t want to raise the umpteenth polemics on COVID. So I will not answer his text point for point here either.

I will only say that I’m struck by the fact that such an erudite and intelligent man holds a radical position, supporting it in a very weak and dogmatist way — something you don’t expect from a scholar of his level. Of course, I cannot know what lies in professor De Marco’s heart, but the impression is that in this case he exceptionally speaks not according to his enviable mind, but to a sense of fear that might have overcome him.

This is not to say that we should play the brave hearts. I know that I, like anyone else, might get the virus and die tomorrow, and that, in that case, there might be haters on the internet who would feast on my fate, as we have seen happening too many times. Even if that occurred, it wouldn’t make me change my mind. The virus exists and sometimes is lethal. But original sin also exists; it affects not only theologians, but also politicians, Church leaders, CEOs. We cannot blindly trust someone just because they are experts or in a position of leadership: As a consequence of original sin, mistakes and ideologies exist, and corruption, too.

A formed conscience remains the place in which every person of goodwill can and should hear the voice of God, without denying the principle of authority, to which we pay every due respect. But as the Catechism (1778), quoting John H. Newman, reminds: “Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.”

Edward Pentin



Interview with Bishop Schneider: COVID rules may be ‘a kind of prefiguration’ of the mark of the Beast

Paris, FRANCE (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Athanasius Schneider is certainly the most outspoken bishop on the subject of abortion-tainted vaccines, but as a former citizen of a communist country – having lived as a child in a member state of the Soviet Union – he is also very much opposed to the “sanitary dictatorship” that is being set up in so many countries under the pretense of fighting COVID-19. As France is sliding into an increasingly totalitarian system where COVID “vaccination” will be compulsory as of September 15, and where both the public and employees are being forced to exhibit a “sanitary pass” for many ordinary acts of life, Bishop Schneider answered LifeSite’s questions about the eschatological dimension of these unprecedented requirements. 

“I do not say this is the direct sign of Beast, to be clear, but it could be already in part a prefiguration of this sign,” he answered, repeating several times that the measures being imposed are in a way making the state the “owner” of your body.

“If the government has absolute power to force you, and to say how your body should be, then you have lost you last privacy because your body belongs to you,” he said. 

Bishop Schneider made very clear that we are under a double obligation to resist these developments: conscientious objection against the use of abortion-tainted vaccines must go together with practical resistance, for instance by creating networks that allow people to buy and sell, and also travel, without needing to obtain a sanitary pass. 

“We have already now to seek all the practical possibilities to avoid this new forced dictatorship over our body and our freedom. If we do not do this, there will be a totalitarianism that will be complete, and this will be the end of every human society,” he said, more than once using the word “slavery” to describe the consequences of the measures being forced on French citizens. 

But Bishop Schneider’s message is anything but pessimistic. Seen from the point of view of eternity, the present situation will be “to the benefit of the good of souls,” he underscored, recalling that all that God permits ultimately contributes to His greater glory. 

Nor does Bishop Schneider believe that transhumanism will be allowed to prosper up to the point where a new kind of man would be created by the powers of science: “God will not permit it.” 

Finally, he encouraged all the faithful to place themselves under the protection of the Virgin Mary, who has all powers of intercession on our behalf. 

Here below is the full transcript of Bishop Schneider’s recorded video interview with LifeSite.  

LifeSiteNews: The French government has introduced mandatory vaccination for the health professions and all those who work with sick people or the elderly. This ranges from firemen to home care assistants. There is a very strong mobilization against this “vaccine” mandate. For other people, the government has set up a sanitary pass; unvaccinated people can get one that is only valid for 72 hours after testing negative for COVID-19. This is in fact designed to prevent them from living a normal life, since without this test, which would have to be repeated every three days, they cannot access large shopping centres, cafés, restaurants, a large number of hotels, concerts, cinemas, etc. Fortunately, churches are excluded from this scheme, but visiting a person who is in hospital is prohibited, as is access to hospital for non-urgent care. With this QR code requirement, the unvaccinated person is effectively made an outcast, threatened with very heavy fines for any breach of the law. What do you think of this type of scheme? 

Bishop Athanasius Schneider: I think this goes fundamentally against human rights and human dignity because, as you mentioned, two classes of people will be established in society, and those who are not vaccinated are in fact becoming a kind of person who has almost no equal rights compared with the others. This means they become a kind of slave  because they have no rights: substantially, they have no freedom. I consider this to be very dangerous – this establishing of a two-class society. As I said, this is fundamentally contrary to human rights and human dignity: we are returning to societies of totalitarianism. We have known totalitarian systems where a special kind of people for various reasons, or for racial reasons, were marked by an exterior sign, and did not have the same civil rights as the others. 

So this is a really dangerous phenomenon. We are now approaching it under the pretext, of course, of sanitary measures and health care. This is only a pretext because there is no certain proof that the vaccination is really effective to prevent COVID contamination. There are even proven cases – this is not some conspiracy theory – of people whose names are known, who got the virus even after receiving COVID vaccination; they were tested positive and in some cases, people’s health conditions even got worse. Because we have those cases already, it should be a sign that this vaccination cannot be an absolute demand; therefore, we have to protest against these evident violations of fundamental rights and even against these violations of evidence which exist. When our society is turning into a place where evidence is simply denied, this is a sign that we are in a dictatorship because only a dictatorial political system denies evident facts in order to promote its program. It is clear that there is a program to vaccinate all the people in order to achieve a concrete political, social, or ideological objective.

LSN: The Spanish Constitutional Court has recently decided that a theoretical vaccine, even in the case of a major epidemic, cannot be considered constitutional. 

The communists were already beginning to [confiscate] parents’ own children, in order to take them to education camps, when parents did not obey state ideology. These parents were deprived of their children! Now some Western European countries are doing the same, taking away children from the family when they oppose gender ideology education in schools. Now we are witnessing something similar with de facto forced vaccination. When you have to have these green passes by being tested every third day; this is a practical, very cunning, and cynical violation aimed at forcing people to receive vaccination. I ask myself: now that the European Council and the Spanish court have issued that decision saying that the state does not have the right to force someone to be vaccinated, will the governments apply these decisions? Who will have the power to give us the guarantee that these decisions will be applied? But at least it is a beginning and a good step. 

LSN: In France there are already 11 mandatory vaccinations for children under 2 years old including the Rubella vaccine which is often abortion-tainted. However, these are not associated with a pass or a QR code. Do you think that with the imposition of a QR code we are entering into something different? 

Bp. Schn.: Of course, because you are completely controlled. You have no more freedom, even regarding the privacy of your body. Information about your body is in this code so, yes, it’s a substantial difference, and therefore we have to protest against this code that will affect the privacy of the body. 

LSN: You have spoken out strongly against the use of fetal cells obtained through abortion for the development, production, and testing of COVID vaccines. As we all know, many experts in moral theology have explained that for the individual who would use these vaccines, this would be a mere remote cooperation with evil, and that, in view of the issues at stake, we can accept this injection. You have already addressed these questions in substance many times; you have explained your thoughts and opinions. I would like to ask you today if you do not think that these leaders are depriving Catholics of the support of the Church with regard to their right – not to say their duty – of conscientious objection, which can even extend to refusal? 

Bp. Schn.: This is evident because … the church authority says okay, you can take this vaccination because there is a moral theory which says this is a remote material cooperation. They tranquillize and calm consciences with this; by this they are substantially weakening any resistance which we must oppose. 

We have to resist and protest against the horrible phenomenon in our society which is the so-called “fetal industry.” We must distinguish between two different industries that are of course intimately connected: the abortion industry itself which is horrible, and the other: the so-called fetal industry, the use of tissues of aborted babies and the marketing of the body parts of the aborted babies. Here they are being used for research or for the production of several medicines including vaccines. So the vaccines which were produced by using these cell lines, or tested on them, are a de facto part of the so-called fetal industry. This fetal industry needs to be distinguished from the abortion industry even if they are connected; but the fetal industry is closer to us, so when you are using the product, the vaccine is a direct product of the fetal industry. So we are no longer remote to this fetal industry, and it is a very grave immorality to participate with full knowledge and full freedom in this horrible phenomenon of our society. For a Catholic, the fetal industry is immoral and very grave because we are de facto collaborating with it, and especially committing a great sin of omission, in failing to protest clearly and strongly, at least against the use of cell lines in the fetal industry and in vaccination. 

Therefore, it is a great irresponsibility of the Church, even of the Vatican and of theologians who tranquilize and calm the conscience of the people, and who in this way are paralyzing the resistance. This is serious. 

I have to add another phenomenon. I recently spoke with a woman who has converted deeply to God. In her past life, she committed abortions, and after converting to God she recognized all the horrors of abortion. I spoke with her about abortion-tainted vaccinations, and she said to me that she could better understand this horrible situation of abortion-tainted products and medicines than I, or than any woman who has never experienced an abortion. She told me: “I can say that all that is connected to abortion in medicines and in their production is so horrible for me because I was so deeply wounded by the fact of abortion.” She told me she can never accept any medicine or product or vaccination which is linked in some way to the … assassination of a child. 

LSN: I meet many people now who, for various reasons, are absolutely opposed to the vaccine, but who risk losing their jobs, their families’ livelihoods, if they do not take it. They say: my duties of state are to ensure the survival of my family, and I cannot do otherwise than to receive this vaccine, even if I am totally opposed to it. Added to this is the fact that many medicines and other vaccines that everyone in France has received are already affected by this. What would you tell them? 

Bp. Schn.: For other vaccines and medicines that are contaminated with abortion, we have to have the proof: the pharmaceutical companies have to give the proof that this medicine was tainted or tested. As to the currently famous anti-COVID vaccines such as Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, [and] Sputnik, the pharmaceutical industry has acknowledged this. For other medicines we have as yet no public acknowledgment, so we can use them because we have no proofs. But we should ask this about every medicine. From the moment I receive from the pharmaceutical company the proof that a medicine is tainted with abortion, I have the obligation not to use it and to use another medicine. We must choose good companies and doctors who can provide us with an alternative medicine that is not tainted with abortion, or at least a natural medicine that God gave us – and maybe this will be more helpful for us. 

The second point is more difficult, involving people who know they will lose their job – especially parents who have to provide for their families. This is, of course, a very difficult question. But at least they should do all that is possible to avoid receiving such a vaccine. They can make a conscientious objection; perhaps they can even obtain a document from their doctor who will say that for a medical reason this person cannot receive a vaccination – because there is some allergy, for example. In such a case, they have to try to find all the possible means to avoid this, or even change jobs, even if this will leave them poorer. They have to choose this and not a vaccine because of this close support of the fetal industry – not of the abortionists but of the fetal industry.

I think that God will reward these people with many spiritual gifts if they choose to live a poorer life rather than to co-operate with the fetal industry. Surely they will not die from starvation, God will never permit it! This was our experience in communist times. My parents did not collaborate with the Communist Party, for example; therefore, my parents could not have a profession, this was not allowed. And so they were simple workers, they had a low salary, and we lived in a really simple way. But God did not abandon us; we were happy in our faith and this gave us riches for all our life – even when the others who had accepted the conditions of the Communist Party had better living conditions than we did, and than other people, Christians, for example. And so I think we have to give again the primacy to the eternal life which we have so largely forgotten in recent decades. Even in the Church, even the good Catholics, we were invaded by a kind of materialism because we were so very  attached to the material life and giving it primacy over the eternal and the spiritual. 

So this is a principle: I would say change work, and even if I have to do a simple job like cleaning the streets, I will still have some means to sustain my family, but in a poorer way. This is a decision of conscience, I think, but God will reward these people, of course, and it will be a sign of protest, and a witness that we are not collaborating with the horrible fetal industry. 

LSN: What is your response to those who say that such measures, the sanitary pass, for example, and widespread vaccination, are absolutely essential so that we all together can recover public liberties, and that to refuse them is to show selfishness? We are hearing this a lot: people who don’t want the vaccine are being called egoists. 

Bp. Schn.: No, this is not egoism. If you get the vaccine, you will only find apparent freedom because this so-called sanitary pass is transforming you into a slave, because with this pass your body will belong to the state and no longer to you, in some way, with these codes and so on, and that is how you are losing your freedom. How can you call it egoism when it is not proven that the vaccine protects from contamination of the virus? It’s not proven that when you have received the vaccine that you cannot develop or transmit COVID. We conserve more freedom when we do not receive it. 

LSN: Is this QR code an attempt to impose the mark of the beast of which the Apocalypse speaks, or a sort of prefiguration of it, insofar as the non-vaccinated risk finding themselves the victims of a kind of confinement, which for many will make it impossible to earn a living or to pursue their studies? 

Bp. Schn.: We can say that this is perhaps already a kind of prefiguration of the mark of the Beast. Maybe I would not say myself, directly, that this is already the mark of the Beast. I have not yet all the elements to say this, but at least we can say it is a kind of prefiguration because the Apocalypse says you cannot buy or sell if you have not the mark in your hand, on your body. It is very close when people who are not marked in their body with the vaccine – this is a mark – cannot enter certain shops or supermarkets: they cannot enter, they cannot buy or sell there, and this is literally already being carried out. 

I think we have to be prepared to be excluded. Perhaps alternative systems can be established: for example, those who are against vaccination can perhaps make a new chain of exchange, the private exchange of products in a smaller manner, with small shops that are not submitted to the pass, or in the open air, or private chains of exchange of produce. I think it is possible to establish this. In France there are large protests against forced vaccination: I think these protests could lead to new mutual systems of buying and selling products that people need because so many people are involved.  Hopefully in other places and in other countries such systems of selling products can be created. 

We have to find alternatives; it is very important even for the buying and selling of products. When we are excluded from public transport, like trains, buses, and so on, we can create a system to travel with private cars. We must already seek all the practical possibilities to avoid this new forced dictatorship over our body and our freedom. If we do not do this, there will be a totalitarianism that will be complete, and this will be the end of every human society. 

I appeal even to nonbelievers, all people of good will: please already start to plan alternative systems, in transportation, in buying and selling products, maybe for studying also, by having private study centers. We have to develop these at least theoretically and then practically, with all these good people who are demonstrating: how to survive. We have to make a world alliance of protest and alternatives; if we do not, we will have a complete totalitarian system. And this we have to avoid. 

LSN: Can the QR code used to prove vaccine status already be in itself considered as a form of the mark of the Beast? 

Bp. Schn.: Yes. This code will contain all your private information about your health that is already under control of the state. This code is linked, as I understand it, to the vaccine. The vaccination contains at least some “footprints” of abortion, even if they are very far from the horrible assassination of children which is already in itself a satanic act. The using of their bodies, of their tissues, is also in se satanic because it is a revolt against God, the Giver of life. In this case the abortion-tainted vaccines have some satanic footprints, even though they be remote, of the Beast. So the vaccine, with its corresponding code number, is a prefiguration of the sign of the Beast. I do not say this is the direct sign of Beast, to be clear, but it could be already in part a prefiguration of this sign and therefore we have to avoid this also. This code is immoral in some way as, I repeat, the government is completely taking possession of your body. 

LSN: In your opinion, is it in theory permissible to find ways of circumventing the law in order to escape its harshness, for example, by means of a false certificate? I would not encourage people to do so because of the heavy fines involved.

Bp. Schn.: The de facto compulsory vaccine is an abuse of power on the part of the government; that is in itself immoral. By it, I repeat, the government is becoming the owner of your body and your privacy, and this is against fundamental rights. God ordered the structure of society which government has not the power to do. The intrinsically evil law of forced vaccination which is in some way connected or tainted with abortion and the fetal industry is immoral. Because it is a forced act, I think you can in this way present even a fake document. 

I would compare this situation with the immoral laws when some totalitarian governments issued immoral orders against the Jews. We know that Pope Pius XII and the bishops, when the Jews were persecuted by the Nazis, permitted the use of fake documents to protect the Jews. It was allowed because the laws against the Jews were intrinsically immoral. 

It would be a kind of self-defense: you defend yourself your body and your privacy from an aggressor who is [oppressing] you. In the same way you can defend your child or your family against an aggressor who would kill your children or take them into slavery. For example, when you are a mother and you have children in your house and evil people arrive who want to steal your children to put them into slavery: if they ask you if your children are there, surely as a mother you will say “no,” because you have to protect them. Telling them: “Yes, they are here, I will open the door and show you where they are” would be crazy if you were a mother. You say, “No, they are not here.” You will say an untruth, but because it is intrinsically evil to take your children into slavery. When there are no other ways, it is the last means of self-protection against the aggression of the state. 

LSN: What would be the precise responsibility of an elected politician who votes for such measures? In France they obtained a positive vote of the Assembly and the Senate; each time, a large proportion of the parliamentarians were missing, they were absent. The law was adopted with very few voters. In your opinion, what is the responsibility of these elected officials who voted for these laws or who were not there to vote against them; or the responsibility of the policeman or the gendarme who is in charge of the implementation of these laws? 

Bp. Schn.: The members of parliament have full responsibility, I think, because they are representing and are elected for the common good of the citizens. When they abstain or vote in favor of these dictatorial, totalitarian laws to control you completely, to disown you or your own body with this compulsory vaccination, they are committing evil because they are collaborating in making you slaves of the state, in making your body become a property of the state. It’s immoral to collaborate in making such laws, and also to abstain. As for the policeman who implements this, he has a lesser responsibility because he is only fulfilling the orders of the state. Maybe he is not even personally convinced, but he will be forced, so it is not so much his own responsibility as the fact that he is executing an unjust law. In some cases I think the police, as responsible citizens, can find some way to protect you, maybe not to be severe, for example, in checks and so on while formally obeying the law. In all dictatorships, even in Nazi camps, there are policemen who find a way to protect the people. 

LSN: What is your spiritual advice for Catholics who are worried? I see many who are very afraid now of the situation that is arising. What would you tell them to do? 

Bp. Schn.: First, I would give them the word of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel. He says, Do not fear those who kill your body, but fear those who will take your soul, or damage your soul. We must not fear the government; we have to give the primacy to our soul, to our spiritual life, to the life of prayer with the sacraments, and thus we should be deeply rooted in our prayer every day. We must be rooted in our faith, in our conviction that our life is ultimately in the hands of God and not in the hands of the government, even in a dictatorship, even in a totalitarian system! Our life is ultimately in the hands of God who is our heavenly Father. He is our Father even when we are, in certain periods of time, in distress and persecuted and humiliated as with this forced vaccination. This is a relatively short time, so we have to look wider and further because God permits this ultimately only for the benefit of our soul. Saint Paul says all will contribute to the greater benefit of those who love God, all things will contribute to the benefit of a greater good for those who love God. If we are rooted in our faith, in the trust of the Providence of our heavenly Father, knowing that our life is in His hands, this should give us confidence. We know the current sanitary COVID dictatorship, this totalitarianism is short, it is relatively short, it is not eternity! History has always shown that dictatorships did not last so long, and God will even show to these new “sanitary dictators” that their power is limited. We have to believe that God will intervene in history. 

We must also concentrate deeply on the fact that maybe this is an appeal of God for us to go deeper in our prayer lives. We have to deepen our sacramental life with more regular confession, more regular Communion, and prayers. Maybe we should be more united with all those who are opposing this dictatorship, to make a chain. Maybe these difficult times are an opportunity to confess God, to be faithful to Him. But God is so good that He always gives the necessary graces, and He rewards us in difficult times and gives us His consolations. This is my counsel and my advice. 

LSN: It appears to us that there is a will to take over the human body, a transhumanist plan that is being put in place, and even carried out. Is it conceivable that God would allow mankind to fall – for most people unwillingly – into something so contrary to His will for mankind? 

Bp. Schn.: I think not because God reserves to Himself His divine powers of creation, and so there will not be a substantially new human being as transhumanists want to create. They will not succeed: God will not permit it. He is the Lord; we have to believe this. They will perhaps produce some things, but it will not be a human being, never, because God creates the soul which is the essential part of the human being. I repeat: I do not believe that God will permit this. His are the powers of the Creator, and they are reserved to Him. If they continue with these horrible things that blaspheme God, there will come the end of times as we read in the Apocalypse and the Judgment. And for us Jesus said: When this time comes, lift up your head because your salvation is close, lift up your head in confidence, your salvation is close! Once again, we must take this situation as an opportunity to deepen our faith, our prayer, and to be more rooted in the vision of eternal life, to be more supernaturally orientated to our eternal life because we are living here in the valley of tears, as we sing in the Salve Regina: hac lacrimarum valle. This is our situation, but there is also the deep joy that we have a Mother. She never abandons us, and she is always close to us. This is my advice, that never will she abandon us, she is the intercessional omnipotens, the omnipotens of intercession for us. She will take care of us; always, we have to flee under her mantle. Especially in these times, we must pray: Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genitrix: we will flee under her protection. 

Jeanne Smits



Cardinal Müller discusses President Biden, pro-abortion politicians, and the bishops.

( Editor’s note: The following interview was given by Cardinal Müller to the and was originally posted on January 25, 2021. It has been translated for CWR from German by Michael J. Miller and reposted here with the permission of



Washington, D.C. – Rome ( Lorleberg): “Anyone who relativizes the clear acknowledgment of the sacredness of every human life with tactical games, sophistries and window dressing because of political preferences, publicly opposes the Catholic faith.” Gerhard Cardinal Müller explains this in an exclusive interview about the abortion advocacy of the new United States President Joe Biden, who is a member of the Catholic Church. The former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith goes on to say: “Now the U.S., with its conglomerated political, media and economic power, stands at the head of the most subtly brutal campaign to de-Christianize Western culture in the last one hundred years.” Your Eminence, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed strong criticism of the pro-abortion policies of the new U.S. President Joe Biden. On the other hand, a few U.S. bishops voiced their view that the USCCB’s critique of Biden was unwise. Blase Cardinal Cupich from Chicago writes on his personal Twitter account that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had issued “an ill-considered statement” on the occasion of the new President’s inauguration. Do you see the USCCB critique as justified, or are the bishops exaggerating?

Cardinal Müller:  A Catholic bishop is distinguished from power politicians and ideologues by his obedience to the revealed Word of God. He would be a false apostle if he relativized the natural moral law for the sake of his political preference or because he favored one party or the other. Every human being recognizes the demands of the natural law in his conscience because of his reason. When those who held political and religious power in the time of the apostles tried to forbid them to proclaim Christ’s teaching under threat of punishment, the latter replied: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Anyone who relativizes the clear acknowledgment of the sacredness of every human life with tactical games, sophistries and window dressing because of political preferences, publicly opposes the Catholic faith. Vatican II and all the popes down to Francis have described the deliberate killing of a child before or after birth as a most grievous violation of God’s commandments. The USCCB President, Archbishop Gomez, declares to President Joe Biden in his clear opinion: “As Pope Francis teaches, we cannot stay silent when nearly a million unborn lives are being cast aside in our country year after year through abortion.” What is the Church’s teaching on abortion?

Cardinal Müller: “God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.” (Vatican Council II, Gaudium et spes, n. 51). President Joe Biden has presented himself—not only on the day of his inauguration—as a believing, practicing Catholic. How credible is that in your view, given his long series of pro-choice declarations and his official Statement on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion: “In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack,” and also his announcement that his administration will massively support abortion in the United States and worldwide, even financially?

Cardinal Müller: There are good Catholics even in the highest Vatican positions who, in their blind anti-Trump sentiments, put up with everything or play down what is now being unleashed in the U.S.A. against Christians and all people of good will.

Now the United States, with its conglomerated political, media and economic power, stands at the head of the most subtly brutal campaign to de-Christianize Western culture in the last one hundred years. They play down the lives of millions of children, who now fall victim to the worldwide, organized abortion campaign under the euphemism of “right to reproductive health”, by referring to Trump’s character faults.

An otherwise highly respected confrere reproached me, saying that I must not fixate on abortion. For now that Trump has been voted out, this eliminates the much greater danger that that madman might push the nuclear button. I am convinced, however, that individual and social ethics has priority over politics. It crosses a line when faith and morals are reckoned by a political calculus. I cannot support a pro-abortion politician just because he builds public housing, as though I had to put up with what is absolutely evil on account of something relatively good. In the U.S.A. there are bishops who say publicly that Biden, on account of his public statements and actions with regard to abortion, is not in full communion with the Catholic Church, for instance the Archbishop of Denver, Samuel J. Aquila, and the former Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput. Chaput supports the idea that at this time Biden should not receive Communion. In contrast, Wilton D. Cardinal Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., said that he would not deviate from the current practice of allowing Biden continued access to the reception of Communion. How do you evaluate this?

Cardinal Müller: Even among Catholics, the absurd opinion has crept in that faith is a private affair and that in public life you can tolerate, approve and promote something that is intrinsically evil.

Concretely, in practice the Christians in a legislature or a government might not always succeed in adopting the natural moral law on all points. But they must never participate in evil actively or passively. At least they must protest against it and—as far as they can—oppose it, even if they suffer discrimination as a result.

It is well known that a Christian who declares his opposition to the mainstream of LGBT-propaganda, abortion, legalized drug use and the abolition of male or female sexuality is called “extreme right-wing” or even a “Nazi”, although in fact the National Socialists with their biologistic-Darwinist ideology were diametrically opposed to Christian anthropology.

Those with a spiritual affinity (who disparage others with Nazi comparisons but at the same time are indignant when they are compared with Nazis) gather, instead, where people rebel against God, who created man in His image and likeness—as man and woman. Can the U.S. bishops in principle count on Pope Francis to support their pro-life commitment across the board, so that any disagreements in dealing with a sitting President would be at most in a question of tact?

Cardinal Müller: The Holy Father has never failed to oppose in the clearest possible terms abortion as premeditated murder, and for this reason he has been slandered vilely by those who otherwise like to quote him and cannot emphasize loudly enough the contrast with the previous Pope Benedict XVI. I hope that no one comes up with the perverse idea of balancing abortion and euthanasia against the admission of immigrants and migrants at the Mexico border and thus of “silently” accepting crimes against humanity as part of the bargain. Given the pro-abortion positions of the new President, can and should American Catholics simply and obligingly go along with his calls for “unity” and the healing of wounds?

Cardinal Müller: Reconciliation is the gift that God has given us through Jesus Christ. Precisely for Christians in politics this should also be a standard for their speech and actions. But an ideological rift in society is not overcome when one side marginalizes, criminalizes and destroys the other, so that in the end all institutions from the media to the international firms are now ruled only by representatives of the capital-socialist mainstream.

In the United States, as in Spain now, the Catholic schools, hospitals and other non-profit institutions supported with public funding are being compelled to implement immoral policies; if they refuse they are closed. Even the most naive must be able to tell by now whether the talk about reconciliation in society was meant seriously or was only a propaganda trick.

The very same ones who talk about it at the top of their lungs should examine themselves critically about their own contribution to the division. The slogan, “If you won’t be my pal, I’ll smash in your skull,” is not the right path to reconciliation and mutual respect.

Kath:net: Would such a strong reaction against pro-abortion policies be imaginable in Austria, Germany and German-speaking Switzerland?

Cardinal Müller: Since the eighteenth century, along with absolutism, we have even in Catholic France, Austria and Bavaria the unholy tradition of the official state church (Gallicanism, Febronianism, Josephinism).

[As a result] the Church no longer defines herself in terms of her divine mission for the salvation of all people, but rather in terms of the service that she can perform for society within the parameters of the common good and dependence on the State. Only once, during the Kulturkampf [German Culture War] against Prussian state absolutism and against the totalitarian ideology, was there practical opposition in the name of her higher mission (Pius XI, Encyclical Mit brennender Sorge, 1937).

Since then, [German-speaking] Catholics have obviously subordinated themselves to a great extent to secular governmental goals (so-called “system relevance”) and have grappled with the aggressive de-Christianization of society only in the private sphere. A bishop in Central Europe today faces the choice of surviving through conformity or being branded a fundamentalist by ignorant people. Whereas in the United States the participation of great numbers of Catholic bishops in the largest pro-life event in the world, the March for Life, has become almost routine, in Germany you can count on one hand the few brave bishops who come to the March for Life.

Cardinal Müller: It is not my job to evaluate the conduct of individual bishops. I have always been impressed by Clemens August von Galen, who on October 18, 1933, was consecrated Bishop of Münster [Germany]. The motto on his episcopal coat of arms was: Nec laudibus – nec timore. “Neither the praise of men nor the fear of men should move us.” In Poland, on the contrary, the bishops are decidedly and strikingly pro-life. Do you value their efforts?

Cardinal Müller: More than all other European nations, the Poles for 200 years have suffered and fought for constitutional democracy and the Catholic faith. Nevertheless, malicious prejudices against this country are circulating. Even in ecclesiastical circles these commonplaces and stereotypes are adopted uncritically. The advocacy of Polish bishops, priests and lay people are associated with a fundamental traditionalist sentiment of a nation which, after the National Socialist and Communist dictatorship and foreign rule, is not yet so ripe for democracy.

Offers of remedial instruction in matters of democracy and in dealing with a secularized society are coming from Germany and Austria, of all places. All things carefully considered, we should show more solidarity with our Catholic brothers and sisters. We could learn important things from each other and together accomplish much good for the Catholic Church in today’s world.

(Translated from German by Michael J. Miller with the permission of

Joint statement CCEE – CEC. Season of Creation 2020 – ‘Jubilee for the Earth’

25 August 2020


From 1 September to 4 October, Christians all over the world celebrate the Season of Creation, as well as the Day of Creation on 1 September. Following the tradition from previous years, in CEC and CCEE, we have taken advantage of this occasion and have encouraged our Member Churches in Europe to acknowledge these days to celebrate the richness of our faith as an expression to protect our common home.

The values of Season of Creation go back to the roots of the Christian faith. Creation is a gift of God for mankind and for all living beings. It is therefore our responsibility to protect it as good and reliable stewards, and as faithful servants of God. “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it,” (Psalm 24:1).

Pope Francis in the encyclical Laudato Si’ underlined that “the urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development.” At the same time, he strongly appealed “for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.

Similarly, one of the significant theologians of our era Jurgen Moltmann has made it clear that “today the theological adversary is the nihilism practised in our dealings with nature” and called for “a discernment of the God, who is present in creation through his Holy Spirit,” a discernment that “can bring men and women to reconciliation and peace with nature.”

Celebrating the Day of Creation and the Season of Creation has a significant ecumenical dimension. While celebrating these days, we look back and give thanks for the proposal of the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I in 1989. Since that time, the idea of the Season of Creation and its ecumenical spirit has been further confirmed by the European Ecumenical Assemblies organised jointly by CEC and CCEE in Basel 1989, Graz 1997 and Sibiu 2007.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed how deeply the globe is interconnected. We realised more than ever that we are not isolated from each other and that conditions related to human health and well-being are fragile. Impact of the pandemic forces us to take seriously the need for vigilance and the need for conditions of sustainable life throughout the earth. This is even more important when considering the environmental devastation and the threat of climate change.

We invite you to celebrate the Season of Creation this year under the heading of Jubilee for the Earth. The concept of Jubilee is rooted in the Bible and underlines that there must exist a just and sustainable balance between social, economic and ecological realities. The lesson from the biblical concept of jubilee points us towards the need to restore balance in the very systems of life, affirming the need for equality, justice and sustainability and confirming the need for a prophetic voice in defence of our common home.

We invite all of the shepherds and European Christians, the parishes, church communities and every person of good will to pay attention to the Season of Creation and to live it with an ecumenical spirit, united in prayer and action.

H. Em. Card. Angelo Bagnasco
President of CCEE 

Rev. Christian Krieger
President of CEC

CBCEW. Bishops clarify the Catholic position on vaccination


The Catholic Bishops responsible for Healthcare and Life issues have released a paper providing clarity and assurances on the moral issues surrounding vaccination and to encourage Catholics to commit to protecting the most vulnerable in society.

Bishop Paul Mason, Lead Bishop for Healthcare, and Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues, stress the Catholic Church’s support for vaccination to protect the most vulnerable of our society – especially those affected by immunodeficiency, pregnant women and their unborn children.

As research and trials continue in the global search for an effective vaccination to prevent COVID-19, the paper also addresses the development of future vaccines and expresses the hope that the ethical sourcing of a vaccine for COVID-19 is possible.

The bishops make it clear that the Church distinguishes between the unethical sourcing of vaccines in the present day and the use of historical cell-lines which were derived from aborted foetuses in the 1970s. They reiterate the Church’s moral position in opposing the production of vaccines using such tissue and acknowledge the distress many Catholics experience when faced with a choice of not vaccinating their child or seeming to be complicit in abortion.

However, the bishops reiterate Church teaching that “the paramount importance of the health of a child and other vulnerable persons could permit parents to use a vaccine which was in the past developed using these diploid cell lines.”

The paper echoes a note published by the Holy See’s Pontifical Academy for Life in 2017 that states “all clinically recommended vaccinations can be used with a clear conscience and that the use of such vaccines does not signify some sort of cooperation with voluntary abortion.”

In terms of the development of future vaccines, Bishop John Sherrington wrote to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care in July 2019 urging the Government to promote the future production of vaccines using material from non-human cells or ethically sourced human cells.

The Department of Health and Social Care gave Bishop Sherrington the following assurances:

“As I am sure you will agree, the safety and efficacy of vaccines is extremely important. In cases where it can be proven that they are equally effective and as safe as the original vaccine, manufacturers have introduced alternatives to the human diploid cells. However, this has not been the case for rubella, rabies or hepatitis A vaccines. Please be assured that new human foetal tissue will not be used to make these vaccines. Moreover, the Department is not aware of any new vaccines being produced using human diploid cells.”


You can download the full text of the document:

Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales. The Catholic position on vaccination.

The Catholic position on vaccination

This paper will aim to provide clarity and assurances to Catholics about Church teaching and
moral issues regarding vaccination. It will demonstrate the Church’s support for vaccination
to protect the most vulnerable of our society, especially those affected by
immunodeficiency, pregnant women and their unborn children. Finally, it will address
concerns regarding the development of future vaccines, including those regarding the
Church’s teaching on vaccination raised by Catholics during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Safety and solidarity with the most vulnerable

The Catholic Church strongly supports vaccination and regards Catholics as having a prima
facie duty to be vaccinated, not only for the sake of their own health but also out of
solidarity with others, especially the most vulnerable. We believe that there is a moral
obligation to guarantee the vaccination coverage necessary for the safety of others. This is
especially important for the discovery of a vaccine against COVID-19.
Avoidance of vaccination carries with it dangerous and potentially grave consequences for
the most vulnerable in society, and we recognise the anxiety which this is causing to those
most at risk.

Concerns have been raised by some about potential side effects of vaccination. We echo the
words of the Pontifical Academy for Life published in a 2017 document, published in
collaboration with the “Ufficio per la Pastorale della Salute” of Italian Bishops’ Conference
and the “Association of Italian Catholic Doctors”, which commented:
From the clinical point of view, it should also be reiterated that treatment with
vaccines, despite the very rare side effects (the events that occur most commonly are
mild and due to an immune response to the vaccine itself), is safe and effective. No
correlation exists between the administration of the vaccine and the onset of
Autism.’ 1

Moral obligations and objections

The Church is opposed to the production of vaccines using tissue derived from aborted
foetuses, and we acknowledge the distress many Catholics experience when faced with a
choice of not vaccinating their child or seeming to be complicit in abortion.
Nevertheless, the Church teaches that the paramount importance of the health of a child
and other vulnerable persons could permit parents to use a vaccine which was in the past
developed using these diploid cell lines.

In 2005 the Pontifical Academy for Life published a document titled, ‘Moral reflections on
vaccines prepared from cells derived from aborted human foetuses.’ The document details
the moral objections towards vaccines which have been prepared from cells derived from
aborted human foetuses.

We support the Pontifical Academy for Life’s belief that ‘all clinically recommended
vaccinations can be used with a clear conscience and that the use of such vaccines does not
signify some sort of cooperation with voluntary abortion.’ 2

If a pregnant woman, for example a teacher in a school, comes into contact with
unvaccinated children, unfair and complex moral decisions may be imposed upon her,
including whether it would be safe for her to work during her pregnancy. Exposure to
unvaccinated children could incur serious consequences, the gravest of which include a
threat to the lives of the mother and her unborn child.

The Pontifical Academy for Life also clearly states the moral obligations which we have as a
society to vaccinate in order to protect the health of the most vulnerable. It distinguishes
between the work to prevent the unethical production of vaccines and the harms arising
from non-vaccination:

There remains a moral duty to continue to fight and to employ every lawful means in
order to make life difficult for the pharmaceutical industries which act unscrupulously
and unethically. However, the burden of this important battle cannot and must not
fall on innocent children and on the health situation of the population – especially
with regard to pregnant women.’ 3

The Church distinguishes between the present unethical sourcing of vaccines and the use of
historical cell-lines which were derived from aborted foetuses in the 1970s.
Human society has often benefitted from the wrongs done in the past for which we must
repent. We live with the benefits of very questionable medical experimentation. For
example, Edward Jenner, who invented vaccination, conducted research by injecting an 8
year old boy with cowpox followed by smallpox. While today such experimentation would
be unethical by any standards, we wouldn’t deny life-saving vaccination because of its
dubious historic provenance.


The Catholic Church prays for and encourages all those who are seeking to find a vaccine
against this destructive virus. We hope that ethical sourcing of such a vaccine is possible.

The development of future vaccines

On 7 June 2019 Bishop John Sherrington wrote to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of
State for Public Health and Primary Care urging the Government to promote the future
production of vaccines using material from non-human cells or ethically sourced human
The Department of Health and Social Care gave Bishop John Sherrington the following

As I am sure you will agree, the safety and efficacy of vaccines is extremely
important. In cases where it can be proven that they are equally effective and as safe
as the original vaccine, manufacturers have introduced alternatives to the human
diploid cells. However, this has not been the case for rubella, rabies or hepatitis A

‘Please be assured that new human foetal tissue will not be used to make these
vaccines. Moreover, the Department is not aware of any new vaccines being
produced using human diploid cells.’ 4

We hope that this document has been helpful in providing clarity and assurances about the
moral issues regarding vaccination and we encourage Catholics to commit to protecting the
most vulnerable in our society, one method of which is effective vaccination.

Bishop Paul Mason (Lead Bishop for Healthcare)
Bishop John Sherrington (Lead Bishop for Life Issues)



1 Note on Italian vaccine issue’ (2017), Pontifical Academy for Life, (accessed 26.11.19)

2 ‘Note on Italian vaccine issue’ (2017), Pontifical Academy for Life
3 ‘Moral reflections on vaccines prepared from cells derived from aborted human foetuses’ (2005), Pontifical Academy for Life, (accessed 15.1.20)

4 Letter from Nung Yang (Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries, Department of Health and Social Care) to Bishop John Sherrington, (3 July 2019)

LET US REMAIN UNITED. Joint Statement of the Presidents of COMECE and CEC. 02-04-2020

Read the Document

Joint Statement

of the Presidents of COMECE and CEC

in the context of the COVID–19 pandemic


This is the time to show our commitment to European values

The joint statement titled “Let Us Remain United”, issued on Thursday, 2 April 2020, urges a demonstration of “joint commitment to common European values of solidarity and unity”, encouraging political decision-makers to establish “measures alleviating social, economic and financial shocks”.

COMECE President H. Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ and CEC President Rev. Christian Krieger, also express their deep gratitude for those “who serve their fellow human beings with empathy and warmth” and welcome the “individual and collective initiatives that are reinventing new forms of solidarity”.

The statement acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic and its dire consequences have hit Europe and the entire world with great strength. “Putting to the test every person, family and community, the present crisis has exposed the vulnerabilities and apparent certainties of our politics, economics and societies,” it reads.

“Instead of capitulating to fear and nationalism,” they say, it is time to reinforce international cooperation and humanitarian assistance to support weaker health systems and regions in need.

The two presidents praise “the numerous policy actions” carried out by the EU and its Member States and encourage political leaders to act in a “determined, transparent, empathic and democratic way” while battling with the virus.

Download the statement: ENFRDEITES

CCEE: Season of Creation 2019 -The Network of Life. 01 August 2019

Season of Creation 2019 -The Network of Life

Joint Statement by the Presidents of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) and of the Conferences of European Churches (CEC)

1 August2019

Read the Document



COMECE publishes reflection on the Future of Work -“Shaping the future of work”. 11.05.2018

In view of the 2019 European elections and on the occasion of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) centenary initiative on the future of work, the COMECE Social Affairs Commission publishes the Reflection Paper “Shaping the future of work”. The document encourages the EU to shape the digital and ecological transformations of the world of work aiming to the common good.


Reflection paper “Shaping the future of work”