Bishops call for ethical development of vaccines

Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli said the development of a COVID-19 vaccine is vital to save human lives and bring the pandemic to an end (Bigstock)

Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli has written a letter to Australian Catholics, explaining the Church’s advocacy of “ethically uncontroversial” COVID-19 vaccines. Source: ACBC Media Blog.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has previously raised concerns about the use of aborted foetal cell lines in the development of vaccines, but Archbishop Comensoli has written to the faithful on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Archbishop Comensoli is chair of the Bishops Commission for Life, Family and Public Engagement.

It is the first statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on the COVID-19 vaccine issue, following Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP’s earlier public statements raising concerns about the use of aborted foetal cell lines in the development of vaccines.

Archbishop Comensoli said he met federal Health Minister Greg Hunt earlier this month to discuss and urge the provision of “ethical uncontroversial” COVID-19 vaccines.

“The development of a vaccine is vital in order to save human lives and bring the pandemic to an end. Nevertheless we have to be mindful of how vaccines are developed and discourage research that fails to respect the dignity of unborn human life,” Archbishop Comensoli wrote.

“That is why Catholic bishops around the world are advocating for ethical development of vaccines.”

He said where there is a choice, “we encourage people to use a vaccine that has not been developed using human foetal cells deriving from abortion. The bishops accept that the use of an ethically compromised vaccine is acceptable if no other option is available, in order to protect lives.”

The federal Government has announced agreements with two groups working on a vaccine at this stage. These are the Oxford University AstraZeneca (AZD1222) and the University of Queensland/CSL Limited (V451) vaccine projects.

Archbishop Comensoli said while the Oxford vaccine is being developed using aborted foetal cell lines, “it is our understanding that the V451 project does not use cell lines taken from an aborted child but uses a human ovarian cell line. For this reason, it appears to be an ethically acceptable option.”


A Letter to the Faithful Regarding Development of a COVID-19 Vaccine (ACBC Media Blog)


Religious leaders fear ‘ethically tainted’ vaccine (Sydney Morning Herald)

Archbishop Fisher OP: Let’s not create an ethical dilemma (The Catholic Weekly)

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