ZENIT – English https://zenit.org The World Seen From Rome Fri, 08 Jan 2021 11:45:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.10 https://storage.googleapis.com/cdnmedia.zenit.org/uploads/2020/07/8049a698-cropped-dc1b6d35-favicon_1.png ZENIT – English https://zenit.org 32 32 Liturgy Q&A: More on Pro Populo Masses https://zenit.org/2020/12/29/liturgy-qa-more-on-pro-populo-masses/ Tue, 29 Dec 2020 21:09:55 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=206585 And Update on This Liturgy Column

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Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and sacramental theology and director of the Sacerdos Institute at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum university.

 Q: Pursuant to our December 8 comments on the obligation of the pastor to say a Mass for the people, a priest from Toronto asked: “What’s the assistant to the pastor in that regard? Being a co-worker in the parish for spiritual well-being of the faithful in a particular parish, doesn’t he have to say Mass for such intentions?

 On the one hand, we can say yes, insofar as every priest must offer Masses and prayers for the souls entrusted to his care.

 However, the assistant does not have a canonical obligation to set aside a specific Mass for this purpose.

 The reasons behind this are multiple and often entwined in concrete historical contexts. For example, in former centuries Mass stipends constituted a substantial part of a priest’s income, especially poorer clergy who were not assigned a specific pastoral role.

 Therefore, while the parish priest had several sources of income and therefore could renounce any stipend, this was not always the case with his assistants.

 There was also the desire to satisfy the many requests of Masses on the part of the faithful.

 For this, and many other reasons, when canon law was first codified in 1918 only the pastor received a canonical obligation to say a pro populo Mass, and thus it remained in the 1983 reform.

 In today’s altered circumstances this might change in any future revision of the code.

 * * *

 Editor’s Note: Look for the Liturgy Column at ePriest

 ZENIT will soon close its English-language edition, but plans call for Father Edward McNamara, LC, to continue his liturgy column at ePriest in the near future.

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Zenit English Thanks Readers and Supporters https://zenit.org/2020/12/29/important-note-zenit-english-thanks-readers-and-supporters/ Tue, 29 Dec 2020 17:07:58 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=206558 Operations Suspended Today

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Every Christmas is unique and the real Christmas is the birth of Christ. The Child Jesus comes to us with His smile and open arms offering us all His love.

Each New Year brings changes and challenges. That certainly has been true in 2020.

To this unusual year, given the family, economic, political and social circumstances caused by COVID-19, is added the suspension of Zenit’s daily and weekly services in Spanish, English, and Italian — 23 years of service to the Pope and to the Church, with the best team that any means of communication could have, with unbounded commitment:

  •  To delicacy and respect for all the topics addressed,
  •  To remaining untiring in adversity,
  •  To seek truth over recognition,
  •  To thinking always of the good of Zenit’s readers.

We give thanks to each and every employee and collaborator.

We especially thank the readers and subscribers for their loyalty and perseverance in following our services for their personal good and that of others: a responsibility we have never forgotten, which encouraged us to carry out our daily work. THANK YOU.

Heartfelt thanks to the donors with whose support we have been able to reach here. Thanks to you, we have been a means of communication which has lived of its readers’ donations, and whose exigency has been to carry forward evangelization to all corners of the world. Thanks to you, 23 are many years serving the Pope and the Church. THANK YOU.

Thanks to all the members of the Catholic Church who have helped us to do our work, from the Vatican to Episcopal Conferences, Dioceses, parishes, convents, and monasteries. THANK YOU.

Let us pray to the Child Jesus to guide and accompany us throughout 2021. Place at His feet in the Nativity Scene all that we have accomplished together, which only He knows. Christ came into the world to save us and to bring us peace. Through Zenit, we have transmitted this message to all.

All of us who have served the English edition of Zenit have our readers in our prayers and ask your prayers for us as we serve the Church in the future.

This is our last news dispatch but the mission of evangelizing will continue through all of us.


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Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri in South-East Nigeria Kidnapped https://zenit.org/2020/12/29/auxiliary-bishop-of-owerri-in-south-east-nigeria-kidnapped/ Tue, 29 Dec 2020 16:56:05 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=206579 Bishop Moses Chikwe

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Unidentified gunmen kidnapped the auxiliary bishop of the Catholic archdiocese of Owerri in Imo State, Moses Chikwe., reported Fides News Agency.

He was reportedly kidnapped on Sunday night alongside his driver whose name was not stated. The bishop’s car was later found near the Assumpta Cathedral in Owerri, located in southeastern Nigeria. The kidnapping was confirmed by the Archbishop of the diocese, His Exc. Mgr. Victor Obinna.

A statement signed by the Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Fr. Zacharia Nyantiso Samjumi called for prayers for the quick release of the Auxiliary Bishop.
“So far, there has been no official reports of any correspondence with the kidnappers”, said Fr. Samjumi. “Trusting in the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we pray for his safety and quick release”.

The police have activated two special teams, the Quick Intervention Team (QUIT) and the Anti Kidnapping Unit (AKU), to locate Mgr. Chikwe and arrest his kidnappers.

The kidnapping of the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri took place just a week after the kidnapping of another Catholic religious, Fr. Valentine Oluchukwu Ezeagu, kidnapped on December 15 by gunmen, on his way to his father’s funeral. The priest was then released on December 16

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Pope Francis appoints Bishop Dermot Farrell as New Archbishop of Dublin https://zenit.org/2020/12/29/pope-francis-appoints-bishop-dermot-farrell-as-new-archbishop-of-dublin/ Tue, 29 Dec 2020 16:14:14 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=206574 Currently Bishop of Ossory

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The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed the Most Reverend Dr. Dermot Farrell, until now Bishop of Ossory, as Archbishop of Dublin.

Archbishop-elect Farrell replaces the Most Reverend Archbishop Diarmuid Martin whose request for retirement has been accepted by Pope Francis and becomes effective from today, the day of the appointment of his successor.  The date for taking over the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Dublin will be announced at a later time and, during the interregnum until the installation of the new Archbishop, Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Martin by Decree as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Dublin with all the rights, faculties and duties of a diocesan bishop.  Bishop Farrell becomes Archbishop-elect of Dublin and continues in the capacity of the Administrator of the Diocese of Ossory.

Dermot Farrell was born in 1954, the eldest of seven children of the late Dermot and Carmel Farrell, in Garthy, Castletown-Geoghegan, Co Westmeath, in the Diocese of the Meath.

After his primary education in Castletown-Geoghegan and Streamstown, he attended Saint Finian’s College, Mullingar.  In September 1972 he began his studies for the priesthood at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1976, as part of his philosophical studies.   During his theological studies, he was awarded a Bachelor in Divinity Degree in 1979 and a license in Theology in 1981, both by the Pontifical University, Maynooth.

He was ordained to the priesthood in Saint Michael’s Church, Castletown-Geoghegan on 7 June 1980.

Upon the completion of his studies, he was appointed as Curate in the Cathedral Parish of Christ the King, Mullingar.  In 1985 he began doctoral studies in the Gregorian University and, in 1988, was awarded a Doctoral Degree in Theology, for a dissertation entitled: The Dogmatic Foundations of Bernard Häring’s Thought on Christian Morality as a Sacramental Way of Life.

His final year in Rome also saw him serving as a Director of Formation in the Pontifical Irish College.

Following his return from Rome he was appointed Curate in Tullamore Parish and in 1989-90 he began lecturing in Moral Theology at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth.  In 1990 the Maynooth College Trustees appointed him Executive Assistant to the President of College and to membership of the Faculty of Theology, holding the post of Director of the one-year Religious Studies Programme.  In 1993 he was appointed Vice-President of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and in 1996 was appointed President of the College, a position he held until his retirement in 2007.

In 1997 he was named as an Honorary Prelate of His Holiness.  From September 2007 until 2018 he served as Parish Priest of Dunboyne and Kilbride Parish, Co Meath, and was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Meath in 2009.

Bishop Farrell has extensive administrative experience: he has served on various boards and committees, among them, the Board of Allianz plc; the Governing Body of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth; the Theological Department Irish Inter-Church Committee, and as National Director of the Permanent Diaconate, and he is currently Chairman of Veritas Communications.

His appointment as Bishop of Ossory by Pope Francis was announced on 3 January 2018, and he was ordained bishop in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, on 11 March 2018.

He was elected Finance Secretary of the Irish Bishops’ Conference in March 2019.

Bishop Farrell’s episcopal motto “Adiutorium nostrum in nomine Domini” is taken from Psalm 124.

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Sant’Egidio, Peace: Virtual Manifestation on January 1 Across the World https://zenit.org/2020/12/29/santegidio-peace-virtual-manifestation-on-january-1-across-the-world/ Tue, 29 Dec 2020 15:37:17 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=206570 Working for a More Just World

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On January 1, the Community of Sant’Egidio will stream testimonies from different countries, such as Mozambique, Lebanon, Syria, South Sudan, and Central Africa. Voices from humanitarian corridors and from the Greek Island of Lesbos will be heard, plus a message from Pope Francis.

Even if the lockdown imposed by the pandemic does not allow this year the holding of the traditional march to Saint Peter’s Square on World Peace Day, Sant’Egidio Community does not forgo starting the New Year together with those who work for a more just and more human world, free of war, terrorism and all forms of violence. Therefore, on January 1 it invites to take part, at 11:05 am, in streaming on www.santegidio.org – to

“Peace in all lands 2021,” a “virtual manifestation” across different areas of the world, to be concluded in connection with the Pope’s Angelus.

Responding to the theme that the Holy Father chose for the Day, “The Culture of Care as Path to Peace,” after an introduction by the Community’s President, Marco Impagliazzo, in the course of the event, which will be translated into several languages and followed in all the Continents, voices and testimonies will be heard from: the Dream Centers, for the treatment of AIDS in Africa and the prevention of COVID-19, in particular, that of Zimpeto, in Mozambique, visited a year ago by the Pope; the north of the same country, where the attacks of armed groups have not only created many victims but thousands of displaced people; Lebanon, where last summer’s explosion has further weakened a nation already in great suffering.

There will also be the talk of the humanitarian corridors, opened by Lebanon itself (for Syrian refugees) and from the Greek Island of Lesbos; of the peace process in South Sudan and Central Africa, where presidential elections have just been held and where the path to disarmament and national dialogue must be protected.

At the end of an intense tour among the wounded of the world and the hopes for peace, there will be a connection with Pope Francis’ Angelus to hear his message.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

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Pope Offers Condolences for Death of Famed Latinist Fr. Reginald Foster https://zenit.org/2020/12/29/pope-offers-condolences-for-death-of-famed-latinist-fr-reginald-foster/ Tue, 29 Dec 2020 15:25:53 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=206565 Vatican Expert Died on Christmas at Age 81

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Pope Francis today sent a telegram of condolence (in Latin, of course) for the passing of famed Vatican Latinist Fr. Reginald Foster, OCD.

Fr. Foster, a friar of the Discalced Carmelite Order, died in his hometown of Milwaukee,  Wisconsin, on Christmas Day, at the age of 81.

The late Carmelite friar—beloved of Vatican Radio listeners as “The Latin-lover”—served as one of the Vatican’s foremost experts in the Latin language for nearly 40 years.

Pope Francis sent a telegram on Monday to Fr. Saverio Cannistrà, the Father General of the Order of Discalced Carmelite Friars, to express his condolences, reported Vatican News. The note was signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.

The Latin expert worked from 1970 until 2009 in the Latin Letters section of the Secretariat of State, translating papal and Vatican documents into Latin.

Pope Francis said Fr. Reginald “demonstrated the brilliance of Latin to copious numbers of students.”

And the Holy Father prayed that the Latinist of the Popes might receive from God “recompense in full measure.”

Besides his official duties in the Secretariat of State, Fr. Reginald became known throughout the world as “The Latin-lover”—a pseudonym bestowed upon him by his friends at Vatican Radio.

He taught for years at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and held an annual Aestiva Romae Latinitas, always offered free-of-charge.

In 2010, the University of Notre Dame awarded Fr. Reginald an honorary Doctorate for his contribution to Latin studies.

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JUST IN: Vatican Lays Out 20 Points for ‘Universal & Fair Destination of Vaccines’ https://zenit.org/2020/12/29/just-in-vatican-lays-out-20-points-for-universal-fair-destination-of-vaccines/ Tue, 29 Dec 2020 12:36:24 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=206563 A Joint Venture of Vatican's COVID-19 Commission & Pontifical Academy for Life (FULL TEXT)

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‘Vaccine for all. 20 points for a fairer and healthier world’

This is the title, or rather vehement exhortation, of a joint document published today, Dec. 29, by both the Vatican’s COVID-19 Commission and the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The text, published by the Holy See Press Office and accompanied by a press release, “reiterates the critical role of vaccines to defeat the pandemic, not just for individual personal health but to protect the health of all.”

“The Vatican Commission and the Pontifical Academy of Life remind world leaders that vaccines must be provided to all fairly and equitably, prioritizing those most in need,” it says.

Moreover, the document explores the issues and priorities arising at the various stages of vaccine journey, from research and development to patents and commercial exploitation, including approval, distribution and administration.

Echoing Pope Francis’ recent Urbi et Orbi Christmas Message, “it calls on world leaders to resist the temptation to participate in “vaccine nationalism”, urging nations and companies to cooperate – not compete – with each other.”

Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, who also leads the specialized Commission expressed his gratitude to the scientific community for developing the vaccine in record time.

“It is now up to us,” the Vatican prefect underscores, “to ensure that it is available to all, especially the most vulnerable. It is a matter of justice. This is the time to show we are one human family.”

Similarly, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, stresses “The interconnectedness that binds humanity has been revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Together with the Commission,” he highlights, “we are working with many partners to point out lessons the human family can learn and to develop an ethics of risk and solidarity to protect the most vulnerable in society.”

Moreover, the Secretary of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Mons. Bruno Marie Duffé, points out: “We are at a turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic and have an opportunity to start to define the world we want to see post-pandemic.”

Father Augusto Zampini, Adjunct Secretary of the same dicastery with an important role on the Commission also observes: “The way in which vaccines are deployed – where, to whom, and for how much – is the first step for global leaders to take in committing to fairness and justice as the principles for building a better post-COVID world.”

Below is the Vatican-provided English text of the document:


Vaccine for all. 20 points for a fairer and healthier world

Vatican Covid-19 Commission in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Life

This Note consists of three parts:

A. Context

B. On vaccines

C. Guidelines for the Vatican Covid-19 Commission

A. Context

Covid-19 is exacerbating a triple threat of simultaneous and interconnected health, economic and socio-ecological crises that are disproportionately impacting the poor and vulnerable. As we move towards a just recovery, we must ensure that immediate cures for the crises become stepping-stones to a more just society, with an inclusive and interdependent set of systems. Taking immediate actions to respond to the pandemic, keeping in mind its long-term effects, is essential for a global and regenerative “healing.” If responses are limited solely to the organizational and operational level, without the re-examination of the causes of the current difficulties that can dispose us towards a real conversion, we will never have those societal and planetary transformations that we so urgently need (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 7). The various interventions of the Vatican Covid-19 Commission (“Commission”), established by Pope Francis as a qualified and rapid response to the pandemic, are inspired by this logic, and so is this Note, which deals specifically with the issue of Covid-19 vaccines.

B. On vaccines

Fundamental principles and values

1. On several occasions, Pope Francis has affirmed the need to make the now imminent Covid-19 vaccines available and accessible to all, avoiding “pharmaceutical marginality”: “if there is the possibility of treating a disease with a drug, this should be available to everyone, otherwise an injustice is created”.[1] In his recent Urbi et Orbi Christmas message,[2] the Pope stated that vaccines, if they are “to illuminate and bring hope to all, need to be available to all… especially for the most vulnerable and needy of all regions of the planet”. These principles of justice, solidarity and inclusiveness, must be the basis of any specific and concrete intervention in response to the pandemic. The Pope even talked about it in the Catechesis during the General Audience of 19 August 2020, offering some criteria “for choosing which industries to be helped: those which contribute to the inclusion of the excluded, to the promotion of the least, to the common good and care for creation”. Here we have a broad horizon that evokes the principles of the Church’s Social Doctrine,[3] such as human dignity and the preferential option for the poor, solidarity and subsidiarity, the common good and the care of our common home, justice and the universal destination of goods.[4] This also recalls the values that in the language of public health constitute the shared values in health emergencies: equal respect for people (human dignity and fundamental rights), reduction of suffering (solidarity towards those in need or sick), correctness or fairness (no discrimination, and fair distribution of benefits and burdens).[5]

2. The Pope’s reminder to the pharmaceutical companies highlights that the final moment of vaccine administration is not the only one that must be taken into account to reach its universal and fair destination. Rather, its entire “life cycle” must be considered, from the very beginning. We shall therefore proceed in this text by examining the various stages of the vaccine journey, ranging from production to approval, from administration to distribution, on which the recent Note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) also insists.[6] In each of these phases we recognize ethical implications that we must duly take into account so as to analyse the much needed political-economic, organizational and communication decisions. We will conclude with some recommendations for concrete actions, which can mobilize civil institutions and networks, as well as ecclesial agents, in order to contribute to an equitable and universal access to the vaccine.

Research and production

3. The first issue that is often raised around vaccine production concerns the biological materials used for their development. According to the available information, some of the vaccines that are now ready to be approved or applied use cell lines from voluntarily aborted foetuses in more phases of the process, while others use them in specific laboratory tests.[7]

4. This issue has already been addressed by the Instruction Dignitas Personae,[8] from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (8 September 2008). Once we establish that the aim of (public) healthcare cannot justify voluntary abortion in order to obtain cell lines for vaccine production – and thus their distribution and marketing is also morally unlawful in principle – the Instruction states: “within this general picture there exist differing degrees of responsibility. Grave reasons may be morally proportionate to justify the use of such “biological material”. The theme has been addressed in the recent Note from the very same Congregation, with specific reference to Covid-19 vaccines.[9]

5. The Pontifical Academy for Life returned to the matter with two Notes (5 September 2005 and 31 July 2017 respectively). In particular, the second referred to these preparatory techniques by ruling out “a morally relevant cooperation between those who use these vaccines today and the practice of voluntary abortion. Hence, we believe that all clinically recommended vaccinations can be used with a clear conscience and that the use of such vaccines does not signify some sort of cooperation with voluntary abortion. While the commitment to ensuring that every vaccine has no connection in its preparation to any material originating from an abortion, the moral responsibility to vaccinate is reiterated in order to avoid serious health risks for children and the general population.”

6. The various mechanisms of production and action of the vaccine are significant when it comes to the logistics of distribution (especially in relation to the temperature at which they are stored), and their ability to protect against infection or the clinical manifestation of the disease. In the first case, when the vaccine protects against infection, it contributes to “herd” immunity. Conversely, in the latter case, when the infection arrives without clinical manifestations, the vaccine does not reduce the circulation of the virus (hence the need to directly vaccinate those who are most at risk).[10]

7. The issue of production is also linked to that of vaccine patents. The financing of research has followed different paths, in the form of both the investment of resources from States (issued directly to research, or though prior purchase of a certain number of doses), and donations from private entities. It is therefore a matter of specifying how the vaccine can effectively become a “common good,” as already expressed by several political leaders (eg. the President of the European Commission[11]). In fact, since it is not an existing natural resource (such as air or oceans), nor a discovery (such as the genome or other biological structures), but an invention produced by human ingenuity, it is possible to subject it to economic consideration, which allows the recovery of the research costs and risks companies have taken on. Nonetheless, given its function, it is appropriate to consider the vaccine as a good to which everyone should have access, without discrimination, according to the principle of the universal destination of goods highlighted by Pope Francis (cf. no. 1). “We [cannot] allow the virus of radical individualism to get the better of us and make us indifferent to the suffering of other brothers and sisters… letting the law of the marketplace and patents take precedence over the law of love and the health of humanity”.[12]

8. The sole purpose of commercial exploitation is not ethically acceptable in the field of medicine and healthcare. Investments in the medical field should find their deepest meaning in human solidarity. For this to happen, we ought to identify appropriate systems that favour transparency and cooperation, rather than antagonism and competition. It is therefore vital to overcome the logic of “vaccine nationalism”,[13] understood as an attempt by various States to own the vaccine in more rapid timeframes as a form of prestige and advantage, procuring the necessary quantity for its inhabitants. International agreements are needed, and are to be supported, in order to manage patents so as to facilitate universal access to the vaccine and avoid potential commercial disruptions, particularly to keep the price steady in the future.

9. The industrial production of the vaccine could become a collaborative undertaking between states, pharmaceutical companies and other organizations so that the production can be carried out simultaneously in different parts of the world. As it has happened for the research – at least partially – it is desirable that positive synergy also occurs in the production stage. This would allow the enhancement of existing plants in the various areas in which vaccines will be administered, on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity.

Approval, distribution and administration

10. Once the various phases of the experimental studies have been completed, the question arises as to how the product can be approved in the current emergency situation by the regulatory authorities to put it on the market and use it in different countries. Given the diversity of the bodies recognized as competent for such authorization, and the international dynamics of the pandemic, it is necessary to coordinate the procedures necessary to achieve this objective and promote cooperation between regulatory authorities.

11. In the public debate, there are different positions on the criteria of administration and access to the vaccine. Despite the difference, however, we find certain lines of convergence that we intend to support. There is agreement on the priority to be given to professional categories engaged in services of common interest, in particular health personnel. This also includes activities that require contact with the public (such as school and public security), vulnerable groups (such as the elderly, or people with particular pathologies). Of course, such a criterion does not resolve all situations. A grey area remains, for example, when defining the priorities of vaccine implementation within the very same risk group. A more attentive stratification of populations could help resolve these dilemmas (e.g. vaccine in areas with higher density maximizes its benefits). In addition, other relevant aspects besides health (such as the different practicability of restrictive measures) for a fair distribution must be taken into account.

12. This order of administration, at an international level, implies that “the priority must be given to vaccinating … some people in all countries, rather than all people in some countries” (WHO Director).[14] That some countries receive the vaccine late due to prior large-scale purchase by richer states must be avoided. It is a question of agreeing on the specific percentages according to which to concretely proceed. Vaccine distribution requires a number of tools that must be specified and implemented to achieve the agreed objectives in terms of universal accessibility criteria. The CDF recalls the existence of “a moral imperative for the pharmaceutical industry, for governments and international organisations, to guarantee that effective, safe and ethically acceptable vaccines are made available in the poorest countries, in a manner that is not burdensome for them.”[15] In particular, it is necessary to develop a distribution program that takes account of the collaboration needed to deal with logistical-organizational obstacles in areas that are not easily accessible (cooling chains, transport, healthcare workers, the use of new technologies, etc.). The characteristics of the vaccine also affect this aspect (e.g. storage temperature). This confirms the need for an international body with the task, the moral authority, and the operational capacity to coordinate the various stages of the vaccine process. At present, the World Health Organization remains an important reference point – to be strengthened and improved – regarding the emerging problematic issues.

13. On the moral responsibility of undergoing vaccination (also on the basis of what has been said in n. 3), it is necessary to reiterate how this issue also involves the relationship between personal health and public health, showing their close interdependence. In the light of this connection, we consider it important that a responsible decision be taken in this regard, since refusal of the vaccine may also constitute a risk to others. This also applies if, in the absence of an alternative, the motivation is to avoid benefiting from the results of a voluntary abortion. In fact, in these cases, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith states, it can be considered “morally acceptable”, under precise conditions, “to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.”[16] This is a matter of material passive cooperation (as opposed to formal cooperation), since it is indirect and remote,[17] particularly given the intention underlying the decision, the contingency with respect to the accused immoral event, and the current circumstances in which we find ourselves. Therefore, the criteria that would make ethically illicit the decision to vaccinate are non binding. For this reason, such refusal could seriously increase the risks for public health.[18] In fact, on the one hand, those categories of people who cannot be vaccinated (e.g. immunosuppressed) and who can thus only rely on other people’s vaccination coverage (and herd immunity) to avoid the risk of infection, would be more exposed. On the other hand, becoming ill leads to an increase in hospitalizations, with subsequent overload for health systems, up to a possible collapse, as has happened in various countries during this pandemic. This hinders access to health care which, once again, affects those who have fewer resources. The Bishops of England and Wales have recently reaffirmed that “individuals should welcome the vaccine not only for the sake of their own health but also out of solidarity with others, especially the most vulnerable”.[19]

C. Guidelines for the Vatican Covid-19 Commission

14. For the sake of clarity on the work of the Commission, some guidelines for its work in relation to the vaccine are given below. The general intention is to obtain a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 so that treatment is available to all, with a particular concern for the most vulnerable, respecting equity across the full spectrum of the vaccine development/deployment (research, design, production, funding, distribution, programs and implementation). Transparency and correct communication are essential to foster trust and adherence to the vaccine process. [20]

15. Objective 1: Ethical-scientific evaluation. Based on the science available, the Commission will be able to contribute to evaluations on vaccine quality, methodology and pricing necessary for equitable distribution to the most vulnerable.

Actions required: Work closely with major organizations who are developing, evaluating, delivering, and administering vaccines with the possibility, when necessary, of informing opinions on public positions on the quality/equity of proposals for distribution and utilization. For this reason, the Commission aims to have access to the most accurate scientific information as well as to make use of various abilities to audit proposed vaccine and treatment strategies, in particular with regard to their impact on the most vulnerable. As the Holy Father indicates, “We cannot allow the various forms of nationalism closed in on themselves to prevent us from living as the truly human family that we are.” We must provide “vaccines for all … [placing] before all others the most vulnerable and needy!”[21]

16. Objective 2. Global cure with “local flavour”.[22] A global cure, with local flavour (locally informed vaccine programs): we aim to develop resources to assist local Churches in preparing for this vaccine initiative and treatment protocols to those in their particular communities.

Actions required: Work closely with the Dioceses and Christian communities worldwide to understand their varied needs and use that information to develop robust positions, recommendations and tools appropriate to various needs. This will start by listening to local Churches and then helping them to advocate for certain structures and supports from the government and other agencies.

17. Objective 3. Partnership and participation. To have a close collaboration with the many organizations that are necessary to contribute to the planning, execution and evaluation of recommendations for global vaccine administration.

Actions required: Work with representatives from major institutions and organizations involved as well as global health organizations, NGOs, and donor organizations to help in developing, evaluating and participating in solutions.

18. Objective 4. Joining forces. Effective collaboration with the working groups of the Commission and other ecclesial groups to propose best possible recommendations to the Church.

Actions required: Work with the other Commission Task Forces using the framework of Laudato si and Fratelli Tutti taking into account their recommendations for the final recommendations made by the Commission.

19. Objective 5: Leadership. Deepening the understanding and commitment of the Church in protecting and promoting the God-given dignity of all.

Actions required: Help the universal Church and the world articulate and model the deeper reasons for meeting this challenge as a global human family. The Church could offer to function as a catalyst for addressing this challenge in a manner that reflects an awareness and respect for the dignity of all.

20. Objective 6. The Church at the service of “healing the world”.[23] Leading by example in ways that are clear and contribute significantly, among other things, to achieving the goal of equitable distribution of vaccines and treatments.

Actions required: Creatively use the voices of the Church worldwide to speak, exhort and contribute to assuring that quality vaccines and treatments are available to the global family, especially the vulnerable. The Church has many ways to assist in this such as her health networks, the Bishops’ Conferences, multiple church organizations who do outreach to the poor, religious communities, etc. Consider donations to groups that work to get treatments and vaccines to those most in need.


[1] Pope Francis, 2020. “Address to the Members of the Banco Farmaceutico Foundation, September 19, 2020.

[2] Pope Francis, 2020. “Urbi et Orbi – Christmas 2020”. December 25, 2020

[3] Cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, nn. 105-208.

[4] Pope Francis, 2020. To Heal the World. Catechesis on the PandemicIntroduction.

[5] Cf. Nuffield Council for Bioethics, 2020. Fair and equitable access to Covid-19 treatments and vaccines. London: NCB, p. 3. London: NCB,p. 3

[6] CDF, 2020. “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines, December 21, 2020, n.6.

[7] Cf. Charlotte Lozier Institute, Covid-19 Vaccine Candidates and Abortion-Derived Cell Lines, 3 December 2020, in https://lozierinstitute.org/update-covid-19-vaccine-candidates-and-abortion-derived-cell-lines/

[8] CDF, 2008. Instruction Dignitas Personae: On Certain Bioethical Questions, n. 35.

[9] Cf. CDF, 2020. “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines, December 21, 2020. nn.2-3.

[10] «Allocation guidelines must balance the obligation to assist individuals most likely to benefit against the obligation to secure the greatest aggregate benefit across the population». In: Wu, J.H., John, S.D, and Adashi E.Y., 2020, “Allocating Vaccines in a Pandemic: The Ethical Dimension”, The American Journal of Medicine, November 2020, Volume 133(11).

[11] President Von der Leyen has repeatedly expressed that the Covid-19 vaccine needs to be addressed as a public good, since all the efforts to tackle the pandemic can only succeed if we work together for the common good. See for example her later speech https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/ov/SPEECH_20_2258

[12] Pope Francis, 2020. “Urbi et Orbi – Christmas 2020”. December 25, 2020.

[13] Ghebreyesus, Tedros, 2020. “WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19”, 4 September 2020.

[14] Ghebreyesus, Tedros, 18 August 2020.

[15] CDF, 2020. “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines, December 21, 2020. n.6

[16] CDF, 2020. “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines, December 21, 2020.

[17] According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), “given the urgency of this crisis, the lack of available alternative vaccines, and the fact that the connection between an abortion that occurred decades ago and receiving a vaccine produced today is remote, inoculation with the new Covid-19 vaccines in these circumstances can be morally justified”. USCCB, 2020, “Moral Considerations Regarding the New Covid-19 Vaccines.

[18] As highlighted on a note on the website of the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM), if there is no other option but to take available vaccines in order to protect every human life and the health of all, vaccination cannot be considered to be in cooperation with evil (e.g. with abortion), but a rather a direct act of care for life. Cf. CELAM, 2020, “Vacunas con Fetos Abortados”.

[19] Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Department for Social Justice, 2020. “Covid-19 and Vaccination”.

[20] “The imbalanced and opaque sequence that characterized the early distribution of the limited supplies of the drug remdesivir should serve as a cautionary tale. The same mistakes must not be repeated. Only transparent and consistently applied allocation procedures will ensure public trust, especially in the case of vaccines. Ensuring that the allocation of vaccines is effective, fair, and justifiable to all is a priority that must not be compromised.” In: Wu, J.H., John, S.D, and Adashi E.Y., 2020, op. cit.

[21] Pope Francis, 2020. “Urbi et Orbi – Christmas 2020”. December 25, 2020.

[22] Pope Francis, 2020. Fratelli Tutti. On Fraternity and Social Friendship, n. 143.

[23] Cf. Pope Francis, 2020. To Heal the World – Catechesis on the pandemic. Vatican: LEV.

[01628-EN.01] [Original text: Italian] [Vatican-provided text]

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Archdiocese of Lahore Supports Former Christian Prisoners for Creation of Businesses https://zenit.org/2020/12/29/archdiocese-of-lahore-supports-former-christian-prisoners-for-creation-of-businesses/ Tue, 29 Dec 2020 01:49:41 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=206457 Diocese in Pakistan has Aided 42 of the Innocent

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“We give thanks to God because today we are able to support our brothers so that they create their own entrepreneurial activity. They have suffered a lot over the past five years. We have taken this initiative to ensure that 42 innocent former prisoners can run a new business to support their families and not depend on anyone. This is a Christmas gift for all of you, to restore stability to your life, to allow you to live with dignity. Let us pray for your good and invoke the blessings of God for your families”, said Mgr. Sebastian Francis Shaw, Archbishop of Lahore, intervening in the framework of the meeting held in the church of Saint John of Youhanabad, in Lahore, on the evening of December 19.

As Fides learned, the Archbishop also thanked the Pakistani government and Ijaz Alam Augustine, Minister for human rights and religious affairs in the province of Punjab, for their cooperation and support in releasing 42 Christian prisoners accused of having participated in clashes and riots after the suicide attacks perpetrated against two churches in Lahore in March 2015. Addressing those present, Archbishop Shaw also said: “We want to support you fully and we wish to see you engaged in a thriving activity so that you can live a happy life”.

Fr. Francis Gulzar, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Lahore and Parish Priest of the Catholic Church of St. John, informs: “Helping them in starting a personal economic enterprise is the best way: we handed out rickshaws (means of transport) to ten people, to others motorcycles with trailers. Still, others have received support for the opening of commercial activity such as a grocery store, a catering activity, a decoration store and sale of curtains and carpets, a store that sells construction materials”. Fr. Gulzar adds: “Among the beneficiaries, there is also a former Muslim prisoner, who was in prison with them”.
Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw and Ejaz Alam Augustine met the former prisoners, encouraging them for the future. The Minister said: “We appreciate the important support provided by the Church for the development of people. It is our government’s priority to free innocent prisoners”.

Christians were arrested after two suicide bombers hit two churches, Christ Church (Protestant) and St. John Church (Catholic), on March 15, 2015, in Youhanabad, the largest Christian district in Lahore, where over 100,000 Christians live. During the attacks, 70 people were injured and 15 people died. Among them Akash Bashir, a young Catholic who had blocked the perpetrator of the attack at the entrance of Saint John’s Church, thus saving the lives of the 1,500 people present inside.

After the attacks, Christians protested on the streets of the city. Two Muslim men were lynched in the riots accused of being linked to suicide bombers. Following the lynching, 42 Christians were arrested by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore but were found innocent and released after five years on January 29, 2020.

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Don’t Discard the Elderly, says Bishop in Philippines https://zenit.org/2020/12/29/dont-discard-the-elderly-says-bishop-in-philippines/ Tue, 29 Dec 2020 01:49:02 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=206527 They Deserve Care and Recognition

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On Holy Family Sunday, a Catholic bishop in the Philippines has called for more attention to the older men and women and the lessons they sow, reported CBCP News.

Speaking during Mass, Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila said that the elderly deserve not only care but the recognition they have much left to give.

“They have important roles to play, even if they are weakened by age. Let us not put them aside,” Pabillo preached at the Holy Family Parish Church in Makati City.

“And the elderly, although they may now bring less material resources, yet they are repositories of wisdom and of faith,” he said.

He stressed that one treasure that the elders have is their deep faith “because it has been tested by life”.

The bishop pointed to the wisdom of the older folks and the great role they can play in a culture that values “material productivity”.

In this kind of culture, according to him, the older folks are often “bypassed and set aside”.

“Let us respect and listen to them. Their stories and lessons are important to us,” Pabillo added.

“Really, we help one another in the family and each one, including the elderly and the weak, can contribute to the well-being of the family,” he also said.

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Cardinal Bo’s Message for the New Year https://zenit.org/2020/12/29/cardinal-bos-message-for-the-new-year/ Tue, 29 Dec 2020 01:48:23 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=206532 Let us Dream Together – for a New Myanmar – a Land of Peace, Health, and Wealth for All

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Dear Brothers and Sisters   in Myanmar                                                            1 January 2021

Happy New Year.

May this new year come as a blessing to all of you.  Birth of the new year is also birth of hope.   Let us celebrate hope as one nation.  We leave behind 2020 with all its challenges. That was an unforgettable year.   It caused pain, it wounded us deeply.   Globally it emerged as an arrogant enemy against human survival.  Life and livelihoods are threatened. Starvation is a reality to nearly 122 million people in the world.  It was an existential disruption.

But 2020 is not the story of human submission, it is the story of human resilience.  As the doors of 2020 were closing, the scientists have won a strategic battle against our enemy.  The vaccine came with an astonishing speed. Hope is in the horizon.  Covid also will end.

The year 2020 also proved to be the year of compassion.  Our generous Myanmar people rose against the prospect of chronic starvation through sharing their food when lockdown came in.  For a country that was facing pre-Covid socio-economic morbidities, our people’s response was poignant.   When nature attacks us, we stand together.    Once again, we have proved that we are a golden land, not because we have jade and diamonds.  We are a golden land because our people’s hearts are made of gold.   They can melt at the sight of the tears of fellow human beings.  For a country with a fragile health infrastructure, the surge and rate of death was controlled by the inspiring example of our front-line health workers. The government responded with commendable clarity.  Guns in war areas have fallen silent.  Compassion has become the common religion.  This is a golden opportunity to build a new Myanmar of justice and peace.

Covid like any other disaster globally uncovered the underlying visceral injustice.  Pope Francis was eloquent in articulating that the virus did not attack all people equally.  Economically and socially marginalized communities are disproportionally infected and die.  Virus kills.  Discrimination also kills.  Disempowerment kills. Poverty kills.

Covid is a pandemic that needs not only a vaccine but a surgery.  Social surgery.  Surgery in our priorities, in the way treat the poor and the vulnerable.    It is becoming clear, that extensive destruction of forests resulted in this virus jumping from exotic animals into the human population.  We face an existential crisis: the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

Any disorder, or disruption of social order, is a challenge. But it is also an opportunity.  To build back better, set our moral compass towards the vulnerable, let the arc of history bend towards economic and environmental justice.  Pope in his latest booklet “Let us dream together”, says Covid offers a great opportunity to reset priorities.  Even superpowers which spend billions on war machine realized their folly when they understood they have more soldiers than doctors, more guns than ventilators.

For all of us in Myanmar, this is a lifetime opportunity. Covid is not the only pandemic that diluted the dignity of our people.  The senseless chronic war and displacement of seven decades is the worst pandemic.  In a country of enormous resources, enforced poverty is a cruel pandemic.  Millions of our youth forced into unsafe migration and modern forms of slavery are the heart-wrenching pandemic.   Time has come to make all these pandemics to disappear from our wounded history.

I call upon all to ‘dream together’ for a new Myanmar.  We can do it together.  2020 saw our people voting overwhelmingly for democracy and peace.  Even in ethnic areas, people voted for the national party, hoping it would bring peace.  Signs are clear: times to heal our fragmented identities based on race, religion, and language.  Too much blood and tears have been shed. Heal this wounded nation through reconciliation.  There is no peace without justice. Let those who rule respect the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of all. There is dignity in diversity.

This country has been open for loot for too long.  The illicit economy robs billions from the people of Myanmar.  Drugs, Gems, Jades, Teak, and other resources, above and below the ground, are looted by international mafias, mercenaries, and their local enablers.  Democracy is waging an asymmetric war.  As a nation, we need to rise up against these evil forces that eat out of the bowels of the poor.

Let us dream together for a day when peace based on economic and environmental justice prevails in Myanmar, the day when all the refugees, internally displaced people will return home as full citizens.  Let us dream for the day, democracy marches without any impediment, let us dream for the day when religions will be instruments of peace and reconciliation, let us dream for the day we will really become the ‘Golden Land’ when all the resources are shared in a transparent way, let us dream of the day when we will move away from the shameful tag as the ‘least development country’ into the most developed nation in South East Asia.

Let the nightmares of 2020 fade away.  Let a new Myanmar of dreams rise again. Let a new Myanmar of peace, health, and wealth become a reality to all of us.

Wishing my countrymen and women, a blessed New Year,

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar.

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