Catholic Candle note: Catholic Candle normally examines particular issues thoroughly, at length, using the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Doctors of the Church. By contrast, our feature CC in brief, gives a short answer to a reader’s question. We invite any reader to submit his own question.
Strategy for Obtaining a “Conscience Exemption”
When Confronted with a COVID Vaccine Mandate
Q. To get a “conscience exemption” from a COVID vaccine mandate, should we use this Vatican teaching (quote below)?
The Vatican has instructed the faithful that: “As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health.”
A. We, at Catholic Candle, would never accept the COVID vaccine under any conditions! Further, we would never use the above, dangerous, conciliar Vatican teaching to justify our refusing the vaccine.
First, to use this Vatican teaching plays the game on the conciliar playing field, i.e., it accepts the conciliar principle for making the decision. In contrast to the Vatican’s teaching (above), we hold the Traditional Catholic principle that no one may use abortion-related vaccines even if, hypothetically, many people would die (including us) if that vaccine were not used. The end does not justify the means, even when our life is at stake.
Second, if we were to rely on the Vatican’s principle (quoted above), this would suggest that we consider the conciliar popes to be worthy authorities on matters of Faith and morals. Although they are our valid popes – one after the other – they are unworthy, bad fathers. Despite those popes holding the office of pope, we would never quote them as authorities for true Catholic Faith or morals.
When we refuse the vaccine, we would rely on the argument that we are Traditional Catholic and that fact means that we reject the modern conciliar teachings. We hold fast to the Tradition of the Church on all matters of Faith and morals, including the Traditional teaching that such abortion-connected vaccines are always evil and never permissible for any reason.
Not only do we reject that Vatican’s principle (above) because it is wrong and sinful, but we also think it sets the person up for failure to obtain a “conscience exemption” from the vaccine.
When one of the Catholic Candle Team was at Notre Dame, that university ordered him to get a rubella (abortion-developed) vaccine. The school used against him the Vatican language quoted above (about weighing the consequences of great danger to public health if he did not get the vaccine). The school told him that, under this Vatican language, those public health consequences required him to get the vaccine.
We think that a vaccine-objector cannot win this argument (based on the Vatican’s conciliar teaching quoted above) because it sets up both sides to weigh whether the end justifies the means in the particular case, and predictably, the pro-vaccine group (requiring the vaccine) will always say that the consequences are huge and that the end (public health) does justify the means (getting the vaccine).
The Catholic Candle Team member replied to the school, saying what any faithful and informed Catholic should reply:
You don’t understand. I reject that post-Vatican II teaching. I am Traditional Catholic and I follow the pre-Vatican II teaching that it is never permissible to get an abortion-connected vaccine.
Notre Dame kept insisting that he get the vaccine as the deadline approached, to see if he would back down. But when he did not back down, they granted him a waiver at the last minute.
 Quoted from: Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Fetuses, Pontifical Academy for Life, June, 2005.
 See the explanation here, that the post-conciliar popes are valid popes: https://catholiccandle.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/sedevacantism-material-or-formal-schism.pdf