KCK archbishop questions 'moral permissibility' of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Indiana bishop cosigns statement
Posted at 3:54 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 16:54:45-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City, Kansas, archbishop is among those who expressed abortion-related concerns Tuesday regarding Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Joseph F. Naumann, head of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, issued the statement in conjunction with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, of Indiana.

Both bishop and archbishop are members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Naumann is chairman of the committee on pro-life activities and Rhoades chairman of the committee on doctrine.

“Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them, but not in their production,” the statement read. “The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns.”

In December, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith determined that it’s “morally acceptable to receive COVID- 19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.” But in doing so, recipients should choose the one with the “least-connection to abortion-derived cell lines,” according to Naumann and Rhoades’ statement.

“While we should continue to insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines, given the worldwide suffering that this pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good,” the archbishop and bishop said.