SSPX: Reason for COVID Vaccine Serious Enough!

Stepped in itOn November 19, the U.S. District of the SSPX published a controversial article entitled, Can a Catholic in Good Conscience Receive a Coronavirus Vaccine?

In a post dated November 23, I suggested that the SSPX article seemed more like a COVID vaccine sales pitch than an exercise in moral theology. Evidently, I was not alone in my assessment.

The following day, the SSPX withdrew the article and announced that it had “convened a panel of priests, moral theologians, and medical experts to further study issue, under the guidance of the General House in Menzingen.”

On December 4, the results of the panel’s efforts were published by the SSPX in the form of a lengthy (3500 word) article written by Fr. Arnaud Sélégny, SSPX, entitled, Is it Morally Permissible to Use the Covid-19 Vaccine?

Having read it, for reasons that will become obvious, an anecdotal story came to mind:

A farmer left his house one morning to retrieve a check from the mail. Whilst walking along one of several paths that lead to the mailbox, he inadvertently stepped in a rather substantial pile of cow manure. So, he returned home, changed his shoes, and then once again headed out. Inexplicably, however, rather than taking a different path, he trod directly along the very same way!

Now, on to the article.

Early on, Fr. Sélégny offers the following clarification:

The present article is concerned exclusively with the answer to this moral question: on the concrete basis of how a vaccine works and how it is prepared, may such vaccine be used without committing a sin?

Everyone is free to have their opinion on the origin of Covid-19, on the way in which it has been managed in various places, on the vaccination policy of a particular country, on vaccination in general; but all these elements do not alter the moral conclusion given here.

So determined was the SSPX panel to preempt the negative reaction that followed the Society’s first stab at the issue, Fr. Sélégny restated the article’s limitations as cited above, almost verbatim, near its conclusion.

In spite of these reassuring words, the unfortunate reality is that the article goes well beyond the parameters Fr. Sélégny labored to establish.

Much like the article of November 19, the present essay goes into great – indeed, even more – detail concerning matters scientific rather than focusing on the moral questions and principles with which we are told, “The present article is concerned exclusively.”

Among the principles of moral theology that are explicated in the article concerns the matter of necessity in carrying out a particular act. For example, under the major heading, “MORAL PROBLEMS POSED BY THE USE OF LINES FROM ABORTED FETUSES,” Fr. Sélégny states:

The question is whether one can – or, in some cases, must – use a vaccine that has been grown on cells obtained from abortion. [Emphasis added]

Continuing under the subheading, Principles, Fr. Sélégny states:

However, for a real utility or a serious necessity, one can sometimes be required to perform an act which, although good in itself, will be a mediate cooperation with a bad action.

The usefulness or necessity in question can be so compelling that one is then excused from the obligation to avoid cooperation in evil. In this case, it is said that there is a “proportionately grave reason” for cooperating licitly. [Emphasis added]

Under the subheading, Application to Vaccines Prepared With Cells Obtained From Abortion, Fr. Sélégny states:

For sufficient health reasons, such acts could therefore be morally permitted. [Emphasis added]

At last we arrive at the heart of the matter. Under the major heading, “APPLICATION TO THE CASE OF THE VACCINE AGAINST COVID-19,” Fr. Sélégny writes:

Here we are only interested in the moral aspect of the use of an anti-Covid vaccine, in reference to its preparation or manufacture.

In spite of this claim, he then went on to offer under the subheading, Moral Judgment according to the Principles Laid Down:

Since some of the proposed vaccines were not prepared illicitly, they do not pose a moral problem for use from this point of view. They should therefore be preferred over others.

Those that have used a morally illicit preparation should be avoided as much as possible. [Emphasis added]

Let’s pause here for the moment. At this point in my own reading of the article, I was struck by the tenor of the text that I’ve chosen to emphasize; words and phrases like “must, serious necessity, required, compelling, grave, sufficient health reasons, should, as much as possible.”

This left me with the uneasy impression that – in spite of having stressed that “everyone is free to have their opinion” – Fr. Sélégny, and the SSPX more broadly, is coaxing readers to embrace the idea that COVID-19 represents a danger sufficiently grave to merit widespread acceptance of the State’s efforts to provide, if not enforce, vaccination.

My unease only multiplied as Fr. Sélégny continued by posing a rhetorical question:

But what if, in a particular case, a person finds it necessary to be vaccinated and is unable to obtain a “licit” vaccine, having only an “illicit” vaccine available? [Emphasis added]

Recall that Fr. Sélégny, in this portion of the article, is specifically applying the principles laid down to the vaccine against COVID-19, which prompts me to ask a rhetorical question of my own:

Is it reasonable to consider it necessary to be vaccinated against a virus, the mortality rate of which is minuscule for the overwhelming majority of the population?

It would seem that Fr. Sélégny and the SSPX think so as the article proposes:

This may occur for health reasons (vulnerable elderly person), or because of the professional situation (exposed medical personnel) or for professional reasons, such as traveling by plane. There is already at least one airline – Qantas in this case – which has warned that, as soon as vaccines are available, it will require vaccination to accept a passenger. It is very likely that this requirement will be quickly taken up by many airlines.

As cooperation is only distant, and the reason given is serious enough, it is possible in these cases to use such a vaccine. Moreover, it remains for each individual to judge, with the help of appropriate advice, this real need.

In this final citation, many red flags are waving! Let’s examine them one by one:

Health reasons (vulnerable elderly person)

This, in my view, is a potentially legitimate consideration, adding, however, that not only the elderly have conditions that may make COVID-19 deadly.

NB: It must be said that there have been so many outright lies told by government officials concerning the virus that one must question every aspect of the official narrative. That the SSPX does not bother to offer the same warning to its readers, even in an article of such length and superfluous detail, is troubling.

Because of the professional situation (exposed medical personnel)

This, in my view, is only marginally legitimate given that medical personnel, unless they themselves are elderly or otherwise compromised, are at very little risk of death from COVID-19. I would add, in the interest of thoroughness, that medical personnel may do well to consider the degree to which they might expose at-risk patients to the virus. That said, the caveat above about the official narrative applies here as well.

For professional reasons, such as traveling by plane. There is already at least one airline – Qantas in this case – which has warned that, as soon as vaccines are available, it will require vaccination to accept a passenger. It is very likely that this requirement will be quickly taken up by many airlines.

In other words, a person may find it necessary to be vaccinated because a corporate entity “requires” it of everyone that wishes to access its goods and services; i.e., engage in commerce with it.

At this, who can fail to be reminded of the days of the Anti-Christ:

And he shall make all, both little and great, rich and poor, freemen and bondmen, to have a character in their right hand, or on their foreheads. And that no man might buy or sell, but he that hath the character, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Apocalypse 13:16-17)

In conclusion, let me be plain in saying that I have no idea what is motivating the SSPX brain trust to venture into this arena, no more than I have the ability to read the heart of another man.

That said, and for what it’s worth, I will dare to speculate, in part, based on the fact that the SSPX has chosen to engage in some speculation of its own by predicting that it is very likely that the requirement of vaccination will quickly spread.

Could it be that the SSPX is surreptitiously urging its faithful to adopt the opinion that the risk associated with COVID-19 provides compelling, sufficient health reasons for making vaccination a serious necessity in anticipation of the day when the State will require as much of those who wish to assemble?

You see, if the great majority of SSPX faithful refuse to accept a COVID vaccination even in the face of just such a State mandate – and this appears to be the prevailing mindset among the Society members I know – then that could very well lead to practically empty SSPX schools, chapels and perhaps, let’s be realistic, coffers.        

Fr. Sélégny follows the prediction of rapidly spreading vaccine requirements stating:

As cooperation is only distant, and the reason given is serious enough, it is possible in these cases to use such a vaccine. Moreover, it remains for each individual to judge, with the help of appropriate advice, this real need.

Note well the parting shot, which is being slyly presented as “appropriate advice” benevolently dispensed to the faithful, the reason given is serious enough.

Is the SSPX really content to allow individuals to judge for themselves and their families whether or not this is true?

The most I can say in light of Fr. Sélégny’s article is that the SSPX panel didn’t offer the Society or its faithful any improvement over its initial foray into this discussion, which came off as a COVID vaccine sales pitch.

Rather, they stepped in it again.

aka focus

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