The chairs of the U.S. bishops' conference committees on doctrine and pro-life activities issued a recent statement advising Catholics awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine to choose, if possible, the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over the recently approved Johnson & Johnson's one due to a less remote connection between this newest vaccine and abortion.
"Interpreted by the media and Catholic faithful as episcopal guidance to avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, these diverse and sometimes conflicting pronouncements have sowed 'pastorally dangerous' confusion," writes M. Therese Lysaught, a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, in a commentary for NCR. "Catholic health systems are scrambling to figure out what to do with the allotments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines they have already received. Should they refuse further shipments? Some individual Catholics have decided to forego the vaccine, putting their own health and that of others at risk."
This threatens the vaccination effort in the U.S., Lysaught reminds readers, the country with the highest global COVID-19 mortality. Without vaccinations, the virus will continue to spread and mutate.
"I fear that in the zeal to advance the cause against abortion, outdated advice on Catholic teaching may have inadvertently led this handful of bishops to take a position that is — ironically — anti-life," she writes. "What might have led them to articulate a position that urges Catholics to privilege a theoretical moral purity over the value of their own lives, the lives of others and the common good?"
- Leaders at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are discouraging Catholics from using the new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine if given a choice, citing the use of cells with a distant link to abortion in the development of the vaccine.
- The New Orleans archdiocese is urging Catholics to avoid the new Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, saying the vaccine is 'morally compromised' because it utilized cells with a decades-old link to an aborted fetus.
In its attempts to address sex abuse crises, the Catholic Church has issued apologies, conducted investigations and paid reparations, but the Vatican has never publicly apologized for abuse inflicted on Indigenous Americans at Catholic-run boarding schools in the 19th and 20th centuries, according to presenters at a recent panel event, "Native American Communities and the Clerical Abuse Crisis," hosted by Fordham University’s Taking Responsibility project.
Although Pope Benedict XVI expressed "sorrow" in 2009 over abuses in church-run schools in Canada, Pope Francis has not responded to a 2018 call by Canada’s House of Commons for an apology.
"If you guys have any influence with the pope, can you ask him to please apologize [for] what has happened to boarding school survivors, specifically native boarding school survivors?" panelist Denise Lajimodiere said at the webinar. "That would help with our healing."
- At EarthBeat,
a recent court victory against a copper mine highlights what activists
say is widespread lack of enforcement of environmental regulations in
the lucrative, polluting business of mining in Africa.
- Tanzania's government stopped publishing COVID-19 data almost a
year ago, and the president has stated that vaccinations are dangerous. The recent deaths of the 60 nuns and dozens of priests in the span of about two months has left religious sisters stressed about their safety.
- Read letters to the editor responding to the speculation about whether or not President Joe Biden will be invited to speak at the University of Notre Dame's commencement.