Hinder Them Not

Hinder Them Not

As most of you are probably aware, this week the CDC & FDA issued a joint statement regarding a small number of cases in which recipients of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID vaccine experienced symptoms of serious blood clotting/thrombosis. The U.S., Australia and others have called for a pause in its usage.

Clotting or side effects aside, the real concern with J&J’s vaccine all along has been an ethical rather than a medical one.

As the USCCB Chairmen for Doctrine ( Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend ) & Pro-life Activities (Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas ) made clear back at the start of March, J&J used aborted fetal cells not only in research and testing, but in the actual production of their vaccine, making it more ethically concerning than other COVID vaccines available in the U.S.:

“The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United States again raises questions about the moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested, and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines.

“Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them, but not in their production.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.[1] However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.  

(emphasis added)

In other words, the very least we can do morally is to avoid those vaccines carrying the gravest moral issues, and, as has been repeated in many such statements before: “We should continue to insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines.”

(You can use this graph from The Charlotte Lozier Institute to see how fetal cells were or were not used in various stages of vaccine research and production in each of the main pharmaceutical companies. With thanks to the folks over at CUP for the resource.)

You likely won’t have heard a great deal about this from the pulpit as clergy in our diocese have been discouraged from discussing it. As our bishop told diocesan clergy:

I know that there are those who want a “final word,” and this in the midst of a global moment with all sorts of vaccines and technologies. My experience in bioethics is that by the time we reach certainty about particular medical/pharmacological interventions, the science and treatments will have moved on.

To paraphrase a solid Catholic physician/surgeon who spoke to me once concerning my moral misgivings about one of his treatment options, he said, “Father, when you have stood by the table treating damaged and dying patients as often as I have, then you can have a right to an opinion.” Let’s be temperate in our opinions and how (if) we express them.

Apart from keeping mum, there is not a great deal of evidence available that Catholic leaders are, in any meaningful way, applying pressure on companies to cease using the cells of aborted children as a COVID remedy, and certainly not the pressure of a boycott or deliberate abstention. (Let us know in the comments if you’ve heard otherwise.)

Sadly, at least one clinic in our own diocese and with diocesan approval has been making free use of the J&J vaccine: the most problematic one of them all, the one that we are ostensibly to avoid in favor of others, and the exact sort that we’re supposed to be insisting that the industry cease producing.

But why would researchers or pharmaceutical companies bother to listen to such a plea, when they effectively have the support and endorsement of our leaders already? Answer: They wouldn’t. Our actions, or the lack thereof, will undercut our words, making them meaningless, pushing the hope of more ethically-derived vaccines for this or future diseases further away, and depriving unborn children of the protection and advocacy that we owe to them.

The present reality is that abortion providers are incentivized to meet abortion quotas and have passed off the harvested tissues to biomedical research companies in exchange for monies entitled “reimbursement.” (How, exactly, is one “reimbursed” for the act of obtaining another person’s body for experimentation by force? )

How–and again why–would such a grisly trade ever be brought to a stop if people, Catholic leaders especially, are perfectly willing to participate in or benefit from it?

Let’s acknowledge that the ethics around some vaccines can require a complex path of reasoning. Yet, when all is said and done, using stolen lives to save other lives is a hopeless contradiction about the value of the human person.

As ethicist Christopher Tollefson writes:

The truth is that abortion is an ugly business, the purpose of which is the killing of unborn human beings; we should not varnish that truth with the patina of respectability that comes with saving life.

A second concern involves fairness. Every human being should reasonably be able to expect that incentives for his or her death will not be created, and that the motivation for contributing to his or her survival will not be diminished. But were a class of human beings to be designated as available not just to be killed at will for individual benefit, but then to have their physical remains used, without their consent, for the benefit of society, this would surely be contrary to that reasonable expectation, and thus to fairness. It is bad enough that unborn human beings are killed at will; we should not worsen the offense by creating a social benefit from it….

The use of fetal tissue from aborted human beings … predicates the health of some on the deliberate destruction of the lives and health of others. That predication is incompatible with the fundamental commitments of medicine….

We here decide what sort of society we want ours to be—we are constituting ourselves as a certain kind of people. We must emerge from this death-filled crisis committed more firmly as a society to life, not least in the person of those youngest and most vulnerable members of our human family.

In the same way, the Church itself must emerge from this crisis not having compromised her identity and mission but rather, having lived it more fully.

Are we doing so?

Bishop Doherty’s Easter message on the April 4 edition of The Catholic Moment addresses the Church’s COVID response. He writes:

Our national landscape reflects tensions between self-will and social cooperation, between educated medical prognosis and political posturing. During the past year, how many people repeated Pontius Pilate’s sarcastic question to Jesus, “What is truth?” (John18:38) as a put down?

Well, zero, in our hearing. What we noticed from people with differing opinions was anxiety to get to the core of the truth, while a cloud of panic far more threatening than any germ hung in the air. The need to balance competing thoughts on what is appropriate, to practice prudence in matters of one’s own & one’s neighbor’s health without compromising the prudence that is demanded if a healthy and sane polis is to exist. The need to reject propositions and “solutions” that are immoral, or that would introduce greater evils than those they seek to address.

Perhaps we misunderstand the bishop’s point here, but in our reading, it seems to be that questioning the orthodoxy of the “experts” constitutes an offense comparable to Pilate’s–a disregard for truth, rather than a reaching for it. So knock it off, you self-willed hayseeds.

The article continues:

Last year we could not imagine the suffering caused by suspending public celebrations of Mass and sacraments. The common good seemed to demand this, although newer information helped relax some restrictions.

Two thoughts. Firstly, if Church leaders are not able to imagine how much suffering would be caused by taking away the sacraments, then all one can say is that they need better imaginations.

And lo: we also see that all this suffering, both for people and their priests–which was at least in part the result of failing to question the politically-driven narrative–turned out not to have been quite so necessary as originally feared. “The common good seemed to demand this …” but didn’t, actually, in many cases, as we now know.

Maybe we could, after all, while still helping the vulnerable, have baptized our babies, confessed our sins, received Communion, buried our dead. Maybe we should all have been asking “What is the truth?”

But no. Because if Holy Week taught us anything, it is that people crowding about the Lord is disastrous:

Our liturgies throughout Holy Week can only remind us that crowds around Jesus produced good, then horrific outcomes. And of how some people who loved Jesus gathered or scattered between Holy Thursday and Resurrection Day.

This leaves one at a loss for words.

The scattering was then and is now the problem. Judas’ betrayal, a gross failure to discern the value of the Lord before other things. Peter’s denial, rooted in his human panic and the need to save his skin. The hiding, cowering, and paralysis that subdued human hearts and kept them from venturing nearer the Lord, or their blind need to follow (wrong) human authority figures like Pilate or Caiaphas through whatever grim dance they commanded. And, literally in this case, to wash one’s hands of the matter.

If it is true that people crowding about, seeking Christ’s presence were a danger, a disaster in the making, then they were a danger that He invited. To them, just as to the innocent children who were always foremost in His mind, He might have said: “Let them come to me; hinder them not.”

On the facing page of the bishop’s column, Deacon Mescall offers thoughts on “Uniting in Heart,” reprinting the saga of the consultants and processes used to move us to where we are today. He notes that:

We have seen, and watch even today, as the Body of Christ journeys through what looks like a “winter” of Catholics falling away from the Church. Our youth are being pulled from their faith by the temptations of our culture, and souls floundering who have not yet encountered the love of Jesus Christ.

This statement by the deacon is of course perfectly correct. And one is tempted to draw a large red line from it to the statement opposite that “crowds around Jesus produced good, then horrific outcomes.”

If we teach people not to desire, not to pursue, not to prioritize God’s presence, ought we to be surprised when they do not do so? Can we cover up the sun and regret the winter?

In the end, we all live as we believe.

Romans 8: 5-6 gives us something to bear in mind as we move forward and make decisions in the present environment. These things are true, come COVID or anything else.

For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit. The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.

Let’s pray that we each do our part to live this fully.

48 Replies to “Hinder Them Not”

    1. “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed: nor hidden, that shall not be known.”
      – Luke 12:2

  1. Will the Bishop have more courage than Walensky and Biden and lift the purported “dispensation”, plus tell his priests to lift all the other rules since these abortion-derived vaccines are so great?

    1. You have a better chance of the Tipton Center turning a profit than the bishop showing anything close to resembling courage.

        1. Are we waiting for Cupich to give his okay? Or the lawyers? I don’t think our people have the backbone to call people back.

          1. A Dominican priest in Bloomington has said June 11 is the day for bringing the strays back to Mass. I think this will mean our diocese too?

        2. That’s nice. He (like all bishops) should have prefaced his letter with an apology for closing churches, removing access to the sacraments, and going along with the government declaring church non-essential. Isn’t it ironic the same bishops that drove away the sheep during a national emergency are now wondering where everyone went? Fools.

  2. I’m sure that I am not the only one that sees the danger in the culture of our Church is related to the danger in the culture of our political world and the One World Government efforts in the hallowed halls of the United Nations. In fact, we have been witnessing for some time the marriage between the modern Catholic Church to that One World Government. I fear that more than half of Catholics have either turned a blind eye to that illicit marriage or are woefully ignorant that it has taken place right under our noses.

    A video from Church Militant does an excellent job of educating us on the process and ramifications of said marriage:

    Buried within this article is another article about how big pharma is now racing to develop further vaccines with mRNA to protect the masses from other dreaded diseases. No, my friends, COVID-19 was just a preliminary excuse for the future sole-crushing “stabs” at our humanity and further enrichment of Big Pharma, also big supporters of the One World Government.

    1. And now CM is running a story about some wayward bishops requiring the jab for seminarians to continue their studies and even to get ordained! I can just see the updated “requirements” for priestly ordination now:

      – Faith in, and love for, Christ and His Church.
      – Good moral character.
      – A high school diploma with favorable academic abilities.
      – Emotional balance and maturity.
      – Good physical health.
      – Psychological readiness and capacity to pursue a sustaining, life-long commitment.
      – A deepening habit of prayer and a balanced devotional life.
      – Maturity to recognize and the willingness to respond to the needs of others.
      – Readiness to serve in the manner to which he is called by God, through his Bishop.
      – A developing spirit of detachment that helps him be in the world but not of the world.
      – Freedom to enter this state in life.
      – Wears at least three masks 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, even in the shower and while eating.
      – Is vaccinated against Covid-19, Covid-20, Covid-21, Covid-22, Covid-23, Covid-24, etc…
      – Accepts whatever insane demands his Bishop makes under the auspices of “holy obedience”.

      Good grief!

      These stupid bishops don’t deserve any seminarians!

      Come, Lord Jesus.

  3. Again, the bishops are never going to take a hard line on these issues. They are not going to call out the evils of the vaccine. They will never stand up to CINOs (Catholics in name only) like Biden and Pelosi. The bishops will never get arrested or let their priests get arrested for resisting tyranny. They don’t want to offend ANYONE because, “What if the money dries up?” When the Supreme Court will eventually get packed or we are all required to have vaccine passports, the bishops will roll over and do nothing about it.

    1. “For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a person give in exchange for his soul?” – Matthew 16:26

  4. “The Johnson & Johnson experimental vaccine was developed using PER C6 Ad5 technology, derived from an aborted baby’s retinal tissue.
    During a 2001 hearing of the Food and Drug Administration, a physician revealed how he harvested the fetal cells of this child.
    “So I isolated retina from a fetus, from a healthy fetus as far as could be seen, of 18 weeks old,” Alex van der Eb said. “There was nothing special with a family history or the pregnancy was completely normal up to the 18 weeks, and it turned out to be a socially indicated abortus — abortus provocatus, and that was simply because the woman wanted to get rid of the fetus(.)”
    He then admitted that “PER C6 was made just for pharmaceutical manufacturing of adenovirus vectors … I realize that this sounds a bit commercial, but PER C6 were made for that particular purpose.”

    They took a little human body and stole its eyes to make this commercial drug. Whatever you did to the least of them you did to Me.

  5. Anderson/Alexandria pastorate also sponsored a Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinic. Their bulletin says they did it intentionally because J & J being one injection not two made it much easier and more convenient. They said it was fine because God sends good gifts in imperfect situations. https://stambrosestmary.org/bulletins

    1. Despicable, twisted logic by Fr. Tom Metzger, undoubtedly with Bishop Doherty’s approval. Under this Bishop we are witnessing a race to the bottom. The same reason

      1. The same reasoning Fr. Mtezger used to justify J & J shots is used to justify abortions. “It’s more convenient to get an abortion than to deal with the problems of not getting one.”

    2. I overheard Father Metzger also asking people as they were leaving Mass if they were vaccinated. He then replied good to one that said yes and said I can shake your hand. To another that said yes he replied you are one of the elite. Left Mass feeling disgusted and sick. I hardly think Jesus would have done this.

      1. One of the elites, huh? There were temple elites in Jesus’ time too who were also obsessed with purity laws: the priests and scribes who made it less and less possible for ordinary people to reach God and partake in the sacrifices. If they were alive today they would probably be looking down their noses at the dirty crowds and squirting clorox everywhere.

        Fortunately “we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with us.”

  6. This is just excellent, the broken window theory validated. There is really no such thing as a little sin for any of us. Each bad decision that we rationalize reverberates through our brief span of life. As St. Thomas More reminds his accusers, “Silence gives consent.”
    Each of us has the moral obligation to speak out, but shepherds have to lead. I have grown tired of “Shut up! they explained.”
    The cost of this cascade of bad decisions has been enormous, and I fear many souls will be lost.

  7. This is just excellent, the broken window theory validated. There is really no such thing as a little sin for any of us. Each bad decision that we rationalize reverberates through our brief span of life. As St. Thomas More reminds his accusers, “Silence gives consent.”
    Each of us has the moral obligation to speak out, but shepherds have to lead. I have grown tired of “Shut up! they explained.”
    The cost of this cascade of bad decisions has been enormous, and I fear many souls will be lost.

    1. Definitely. But now the only way out is through. Saints can reform. We need to do our best to help each other become saints.

      1. How can a clinic affiliated with a Catholic parish distribute this? I’m waiting to hear the rationalization of this from Bishop D. The only time I’ve heard from him is when we refused to contribute to his new campaign. Praying for his conversion.

        1. Yes, and I think now is a good time for him to publicly take the oath against modernism. It would go a long way for those who want to be respectful and obedient, but just can’t seem to resolve his words/actions of late to his station as a Catholic bishop. Alas, I’m not holding my breath on his fulfilling the request, but it was worth an ask.

        2. The bishop probably doesn’t even know what the oath is. Remember, we are being “led” by some of the most poorly-formed, faith-challenged bishops the Church has ever suffered through.

  8. Ah, yes, I have just read Truth.

    What if… What if the Bishops had disobeyed civil authority and kept the Churches open and continued administering the Sacraments, including Funerals, Weddings, Baptisms, Confirmations? Would the civil authorities have fined or jailed a few Bishops? Perhaps so. Would the faithful Catholics have rallied around the Bishops, gaining the admiration of non-Catholics, as well? Hypothetical questions, yes, but perhaps the Church would have emerged stronger, rather than weaker. After all, the frequent jailings of Peter and Paul seemed not to harm the growth of the nascent Church. We need a sacrificial clergy. Instead, we have four priests in our parish who still can not get up to offer the traditional 8 AM Saturday Mass.

    Red Wolf, your final quote from Romans is the heart of it all. God Bless.

    1. Why no more Saturday Masses? That’s crazy, especially with that many priests. We go to Indianapolis for Saturday Masses. Oh I guess Seton does have it…but why not the others??

      1. Didn’t the Blessed Mother tell Sister Lúcia to have souls commit to the Five First Saturdays devotion only if your diocese isn’t going through a store-bought, parish-consolidation, decline management, asset-liquidation scheme?

        1. Ever since John XXIII ignored the Blessed Mother’s wish to reveal the 3rd secret in 1960 and Paul VI refused to speak to Sr. Lucia when he went to Fatima, we have been able to see the warnings of Fatima about the spread of Communism come to fruition right here in our country. Those in power in the Vatican put a lid on Fatima. Bishops and priests can be measured by their devotion to Our Lady. Lip service to Our Lady gives us the mess we are in now. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris didn’t happen without the help of the USCCB. Follow the money. We are in a world of hurt because of lukewarm, unfaithful bishops and priests. And the apostasy at the top of the Vatican of which Our Lady warned us? God help us all.

      2. If I lived anywhere remotely near St. Louis de Montfort, I would go there to Mass on Saturday. I was surprised to see that Our Lady of Mt Carmel did not have a Saturday Mass because the Dominican Sisters live there and they need to go to daily Mass. I bet they go to St. LdeM.

        1. No need. They have their own private chapel built right in their residence on the campus. In fact it is where the masses were live streamed from when the bishop locked the churches down from their parishioners.

    2. please list the 4 priests who you believe don’t get up to offer a 8am Saturday mass. this is not something I’ve personally experienced.

    3. Have you asked one of your priests why there are no Saturday morning Masses? I’m guessing there is likely more to it than that they simply don’t want to get up in the morning.

      After just a general search, some parishes that offer 8am mass times are SMG, Our Lady of Grace, and Seton. Holy Spirit at Geist has one at 8:15. Lots of options.

  9. How embarrassing for you Red Wolf. While you speak about things such as “truth” (who wants to hear about that anyway), the real important stuff is going on over in the diocese YouTube channel where I can hear such journalistic masterpieces such as “what is a cafeteria Catholic”, and “what is a pastorate”. That is the REAL important stuff that we all need to be instructed about.

    1. Yeah, I just watched what Doherty had to say. What a weasel answer, to simultaneously project arrogance –“I’m so much smarter than this question”- and manage to once again teach absolutely nothing. You know what would be “helpful”, bishop? To have a prince of the church who would challenge corruption, call out sin, administer sacraments, teach plain truths clearly and inspire the faithful. But you don’t get much worldly approval that way, do you? So happy that I’m sending tithes elsewhere…. I’ll support prelates and apostolates that actually do some good.

    2. Wow! Those diocesan YouTube videos you mentioned sound AMAZING! Maybe this Sunday I’ll check them out while I’m in bed throwing back a bowl of fruit & nut organic oatmeal and flipping between Joel Osteen TV-church and my AMAZING parish’s TV-church. Since our AMAZING bishop told us to stay home, stay safe, and watch TV-church, I always like to grade which TV-church has the most AMAZING, relevant message for the week. I’m always pulling for my AMAZING parish, but Joel’s been the big winner so far. It must be his winning smile. Plus, his church’s AMAZING sanctuary TV-screens are so much bigger than ours!

    3. Now that I have read the referenced link to Bishop Doherty’s YouTube channel, I understand the sarcasm of Anonymous’ post. Yes, BD teaches nothing, except for repeating Pontus Pilot’s ignorant, “What is Truth?” question.

    4. I have to agree with you, Anonymous. However, the culture has become so complicated, that it has to fight on a variety of fronts. The Church will survive the attacks from without eventually, but we can’t lose sight of the larger picture. Can we pay attention to the cultural attacks on our beloved Mother Church and teach the basics also, basics so woefully ignored by the Vatican II Church? I know that it is possible.

    1. Abortion-derived vaccines makes me think of 1 Corinthians, where St. Paul talks about not eating the meat sacrificed to idols. Food, like medicine, is good but if you know its origin is bad you should not partake for the sake of your own and others’ conscience. To me, fetal tissue is flesh sacrificed to an idol.
      “Look at Israel according to the flesh; are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?
      So what am I saying? That meat sacrificed to idols is anything? Or that an idol is anything?
      No, I mean that what they sacrifice, (they sacrifice) to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to become participants with demons.
      You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons.” 1 Corinthians 10


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