Archbishop Paul Coakley encouraging Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccine offered to them

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CORRECTION: In the original version of the story, we quoted Archbishop Paul Coakley as saying that it is “morally illicit” to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The quote has been changed to reflect what he actually said, which is that it is “morally licit” to receive the vaccine.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Mixed messaging coming from Catholic Church higher ups, as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops now urging Catholics to avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine– if given a choice.

This coming as Oklahoma is gearing up to receive 31,000 doses of that vaccine.

“The needs of public health make it morally licit for anyone to receive the vaccine and whichever vaccine is offered to them in their community,” said Archbishop Paul Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

Coakley says he has received his COVID-19 vaccine but he didn’t get to choose which one.

“So, I suspect most other people will not be given that choice either,” Coakley said.

Across the country, some catholic bishops are discouraging church members from getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if another vaccine is available.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops saying earlier this week, “The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United States again raises questions about the moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested, and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines.

To clarify, fetuses are not used today by vaccine makers, but Johnson & Johnson did use lab-grown cells that descend from cells taken in the 1980s from the tissue of aborted fetuses.

In December, the Doctrinal Office for the Roman Catholic Church said in a note “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses.” That note was approved by Pope Francis.

“I’m eager to put out a clear and simple and direct message encouraging people to receive the vaccine. They need to make their own decision, but I want to tell them there’s no moral or ethical reason, at least in the view of the Catholic Church, that they should not receive the vaccine,” Coakley said.

“One of the things we’re encouraging people to do, is even though we’re saying that you should receive the vaccine,” Coakley said. “We’re really encouraging people to contact and write to the pharmaceutical companies and ask them to develop ethically pure vaccines. So, people will feel confident in approaching them.”

Archbishop Coakley says some members may still be waiting to get their vaccines due to concerns about side effects. But ultimately more and more are choosing to get the vaccine.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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