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Religious leaders conflicted over Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Some religious leaders are conflicted over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine since it was tested on fetal tissue.
Posted at 6:32 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 13:52:13-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops say it's morally acceptable to receive a COVID-19 vaccine tested on fetal tissue, that some believe was derived from an aborted fetus, if there are no other vaccines; even though some archdioceses in the U.S. have told parishioners not to take this vaccine.

Creighton University ethics and theology professor, Todd Salzman said there's mixed messaging happening in the Church.

"Some bishops have gone further in their interpretation of the Vatican statement and have said that Catholics shouldn't receive any vaccine because of how they are researched, tested or produced," Salzman said.

Salzman said this ambiguity emphasizes that Catholics need to look at Church teachings and science to make educated decisions.

"We need to empower Catholics as Pope Francis has done to take responsibility to form their consciences and when they've gone through that process, to feel comfortable and confident that they can decide," Salzman said.

University of Nebraska Omaha religious studies professor, Laura Alexander said it helps when church leaders put out a clear message but says the situation is nuanced.

"When you're talking about some of these thorny, moral issues, it can cause just as many problems to say there's a clear, obvious choice when there's not always a clear, obvious choice," Alexander said.

Alexander agrees with the notion that Catholics need to trust their conscious.

"There is room within Church teachings for people to make decisions for themselves," Alexander said.

3 News Now reached out to the Archdiocese of Omaha for a statement that said in part: "...If it is possible to choose among a number of equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen."