Action Alert!

What did the Vatican really say?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jul 25, 2005

If you read the Catholic News Service article, you'd probably conclude that the Vatican said parents should have their children vaccinated, even if the vaccines were developed from fetal tissues. So you wouldn't need to worry much more about the issue.

If you read the Catholic World News article, you'd probably conclude that the vatican said parents should not have their children vaccinated if the vaccines were developed from fetal tissues. And even if there are times when such vaccinations are morally justifiable-- when it's the only available way to guard against a serious disease-- there is still a heavy obligation to lobby for change in a fundamentally immoral situation. So you do still need to worry about it.

Which story is more accurate?

Read the actual text sent by the Vatican-- we linked to it in the original CWN story-- and see for yourself.

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.

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  • Posted by: Novus744 - Jul. 28, 2005 2:32 PM ET USA

    The Vatican document seemed pretty clear to me. For the parents that have had their children vaccinated by treatments derived from fetuses, they shouldn't worry, because the parents themselves have done nothing wrong. But it stressed more that the making of the vaccines is done in an evil manner, and should be avoided at all costs. If a parent were to make a choice to use such a vaccine when there are other alternatives readily available, then the parent would be guilty of an evil act.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 27, 2005 3:27 PM ET USA

    After reading the actual Vatican text I must say that the CNS has unfortunately oversimplified the case to the point of actual misinterpretation. This has become distressingly usual for the CNS. Thankfully the CWN is more sensitive to the truth.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 26, 2005 9:53 AM ET USA

    The CNS article is wrong in saying that parents don't need to worry much about the issue, but it is right that the Vatican concludes that it is permissible to have one's children vaccinated. The Vatican document clearly explains that the material cooperation with evil is very remote in such a vaccination. The CWNews article is correct that there is nevertheless a heavy obligation to lobby for change in this fundamentally immoral situation.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 26, 2005 7:33 AM ET USA

    Reading the document, I would say that the CNS was more accurate.

  • Posted by: Margo - Jul. 25, 2005 9:41 PM ET USA

    Read the article and its summary. I'm still confused!