Allow Parents Conscientious Objection to Unethically Derived Vaccines

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Parents of children attending Archdiocese of Washington schools are denied the right of conscientious objection to vaccines derived from aborted babies. This policy is not required by the local public authorities.  In spite of this, the Archdiocese is forcing parents to choose between the dictates of their own conscience and the rights of their children to a good catholic education.  It seems that this coercion of conscience is unnecessary. Although we appealed for an exemption, our appeal was denied without any explanation or justification.

In fact, the Archdiocese is not allowing for the freedom of conscience recommended by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “In particular, in an area where public schools are granting a conscience exemption, based on the view of public health authorities that doing so does not pose a serious risk to the population, Catholic institutions should be willing to do so as well.”  

Furthermore, according to the Pontifical Academy for Life, when parents are reasonably able to abstain from these vaccines, they should abstain.  “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.”   

It is acknowledged that this particular cooperation with evil and the subsequent participation in the culture of death may sometimes be permissible if there is a reasonable and proportionate grave inconvenience to oneself or others. But some diseases, like the chickenpox, are relatively harmless, so the gravity of spreading the disease in proportion to the sin of the abortions is debatable. And others involve an insignificant risk of infection.  So, then, the necessary quality of the grave inconvenience being reasonable is called into question.  For instance, rubella has been declared eliminated in the US since 2004 and in the Americas in 2015.  

By ignoring the nuances of why the Vatican narrowly allows use of such vaccines, the Archdiocese has taken the alarming step of making such vaccines required. Dismissing prudential concerns by asserting that the Vatican "allows" the vaccines ignores the facts of the matter.  We believe the Archdiocese owes the faithful an explanation of its current policy.

We join the USCCB in asking for the same flexibility and freedom of conscience offered by the local government to be granted to us by the leaders of our Catholic schools. Our plea is that we are not forced to choose between our consciences and the Catholic education provided by our diocese. Please sign our petition in support of freedom of conscience!



“Indeed, everything must be done, in cooperation with the wider community, to assure that they [Catholic Schools] are accessible to people of all social and economic strata. No child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of a nation.” --Benedict XVI, address to Catholic University in 2008

"charity always proceeds by way of respect for one's neighbor and his conscience: "Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ." -- Catechism of the Catholic Church 1789