Action Alert!

Action item

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 09, 2009

In Dignitatis Personae (35), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addresses the vexing moral question of how the faithful should respond to the fact-- and unfortunately it is a fact-- that some useful medicines are manufactured from tissues derived from aborted babies. The Vatican document concludes that in some cases, when the use of those medicines does not involve formal cooperation with the abortionist, it could be justifiable:

Thus, for example, danger to the health of children could permit parents to use a vaccine which was developed using cell lines of illicit origin, while keeping in mind that everyone has the duty to make known their disagreement and to ask that their healthcare system make other types of vaccines available. [emphasis added]

The Merck pharmaceutical company has announced that it will no longer produce separate vaccines to immunize children against measles, mumps, and rubella; instead Merck is pushing a single vaccine, MMRII, which provides protection against all three diseases. In the past Merck produced three vaccines: Meruvax worked against rubella, Attenuvax against measles, and Mumpsvax against mumps. Now they are rolled into one.

Now here's the problem: Attenuvax and Mumpsvax are derived from chicken embryos. No problem. But Meruvax is derived from cell lines from aborted children. Problem. Now that they are combined, the entire MMRI vaccine is morally tainted.

Dignitatis Personae instructs the faithful that we have "the duty to make known their disagreement" with the use of morally illicit material to produce vaccines, and "to ask that their healthcare system make other types of vaccine available." Enough said.

Contact: Richard Clark, CEO, Merck & Company, One Merck Drive P.O. Box 100, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889-0100 


Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.