Bishops say COVID-19 vaccine can be used in good conscience

By Catholic News Service
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Vials of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine are seen during the phase 3 ensemble period in this undated photo. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved use of the company’s one-shot vaccine Feb. 27, 2021. (CNS photo/Johnson & Johnson, handout via Reuters(

WASHINGTON — In a new video, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine reiterated that use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine “can be used in good moral conscience.”

“There’s no moral need to turn down a vaccine, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is morally acceptable to use,” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, said in a two-minute video posted on YouTube March 4.

The bishop cited an earlier Vatican statement that “has made clear that all the COVID vaccines recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience.”

Cardinal Cupich agreed with that conclusion in comments included in a March 9 news report on WLS-Channel 7.

“We have a moral responsibility to look out for each other’s benefit, and it is an act of love to get vaccinated,” Cardinal Cupich said. “No one has to choose, all vaccines are morally acceptable.”

While all the available vaccines are morally acceptable, Bishop Rhoades said there are distinctions.

In his March 4 video, he repeated comments that he made in a March 2 statement in conjunction with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, that if a choice of vaccines is available “we recommend that you pick one with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines.”

“Pfizer and Moderna’s connection is more remote than that of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” he said.

“What’s most important is that people get vaccinated,” Bishop Rhoades continued. “It can be an act of charity that serves the common good. At the same time, as we bishops have already done, it’s really important for us to encourage development of vaccines that do not use abortion-derived cell lines. This is very important for the future.”

The Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID-19 is the third vaccine that has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

- - -

Contributing to this story was Chicago Catholic staff


  • covid-19
  • vaccine

Related Articles