by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
A firestorm of criticism broke two weeks ago, when the official publication of the SSPX in the USA published an article which attempted to persuade its readers that the use of COVID-19 vaccines made in a process which employed the flesh of murdered babies, was morally licit.
So they revised it, because it was obvious even to those who attend their chapels that the doctrine contained was not Catholic.
In their revised version, they continue to sustain erroneous positions, which I liken to the NAZI system of ethics.
Here is the crucial passage, with my explanations why they it is gravely wrong. You can find the full article, in its new version here.
To be fair, I will quote the entire section of which I speak. The first regards cooperation in the sin of abortion. I have preserved the italicization in the original, but have indented the entire text here, to set it off from my comments:
Formal cooperation is always illicit and forbidden, because the agent takes upon himself the sin with which he cooperates. The cooperator himself intends the sin.
Immediate cooperation, even only material, is illicit, because it is an evil deed, and most of the time a sin identical to that of the principal sinner. For example, a surgeon’s assistant who participates in sterilization – tubal ligation or vasectomy – commits the same sin as the surgeon. For his action directly influences the sinful act which could not be committed without him or at least with much more difficulty.
Mediate cooperation may be licit or illicit. Most of the time and usually, it is illicit, because one should always seek to avoid evil actions or to avoid cooperating with them.
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.2
Let’s take a general example, by considering the various possible agents around an abortion:
– Immediate cooperator: the surgeon’s assistant who performs part of the abortion.
– Close mediate cooperator: the assistant who helps the doctor by passing him the instruments.
– Less close mediate cooperator: the nurse who prepares the woman for the operation.
– Even less close mediate cooperator: he who maintains the operating room.
– Moving further away: he who sterilizes the necessary instruments.
– Remote cooperator: the laboratory that supplies the anesthetic products and dilators, or the manufacturer of the surgical instruments. In both cases, the material provided could be used for operations other than an abortion.
– Very remote cooperator: the company delivering these products.
For every stage of the material cooperation, the “proximity” in relation to the sin committed is very variable. Are we to say that each and every one of these material cooperators is absolutely required to abstain from cooperating? No matter the cost?
Moral theology answers: No. The influence of the cooperation on the evil deed is so weak – for example, for the orderly who cleans the operating room – that a reason such as keeping one’s job is enough to continue doing it.
On the other hand, the stronger the influence exerted, the more serious the reason to continue must be. And when the closeness is too great, no reason can excuse. One must refuse, even if it means finding another job.
Here, the fundamental error in the exposition presented, is that the authors of the article fail to understand in what consists FORMAL cooperation. They have mistaken cooperation to be a physical act ex sui genere, and failed to note that cooperation can also be physical acts which are not sui generis collaborative, but in their intention or end.
An act which is evil ex genere sui is an act which is evil out of its own nature. But the morality of an act is defined not as the physical act which accompanies the moral act, but the moral act which is posited through the physical act. For example, I can mail a Christmas card to a family member, and it is an act of love. But I can mail a Christmas card to a client, and it is an act of self interest to encourage him to return to my business as a client. Both acts, physically speaking may be identical. But they are different moral acts according to the diverse motives or ends of the physical act.
But an moral act can be evil ex genere sui when the physical act is remote and in itself not evil, and yet the moral act regards the consent to the future intention of evil use.
For example, if your friend, who you know is an honest man asks you to borrow your pistol, and the law allows this, and he gives you a honest reason, it would not be a sin to consent. But, if he uses it to rob a bank, the question arises, “Have I cooperated in evil?” The answer depends on only one thing, in this case of which I speak: your prior knowledge. Because inasmuch as every act of ours must be prudent and prudence foresees and avoids possible evil, if you did not have the prudence to foresee the evil use, you have not collaborated. But if your friend, for example, had spoken to you in the past saying that he often thinks of robbing banks, then you would have collaborated in the robbery, by your failure to use prudence and refuse his request. This is called collaboration in causa.
According to the moral act, when you foresee the evil future use of a thing, and you consign the instrument to perpetrate it, the physical act of consigning is remote to the act of perpetration, but the moral consent to allow future evil use is proximate and immediate collaboration in moral evil future act on account of this, that by such a deliberate consent before or during the remote physical collaboration to the foreseen future evil act, you will to be a necessary, occasional or collaborative cause of the future act. This deliberation need not be positive, it can consist in the act of refusal to consider the moral implications, for all such refusals are themselves gravely morally evil ex sui generis, even considered in themselves.
A similar case is found in all those who remotely collaborate in the physical acts of grave moral evil, such as murder, abortion, etc.. Because even the janitor, who cleans the place of execution collaborates formaly in causa with the acts committed there, which could not be performed with the decorum or preparation of place, required, reasonably or not, by the perpetrators, without such physical remote collaboration. He collaborates remotely in the physical sense, yes, but inasmuch as he knows it is a place of execution, and that it must be cleaned so as to be used again, he consents formally in causa to the next execution by his remote physical preparation of the place. This is true to all who so act.
Thus the janitor, the company which supplies electricity, the owner of the property, the Newspaper who takes advertisements, even the mail man: All are involved in mortal sin, if they know what is going on there and still render services to the place. You simply cannot separate consent according to physical barriers or time. Formal moral consent in causa to the evil of another can transcend time, place and physical proximity. That is why a lawmaker who does not vote against a bill which promote abortion, is STILL guilty of all the murders, by his negligence in testifying to the truth, that such a bill is gravely immoral and MUST BE rejected.
Thus the SSPX article promotes the immorality of the kind which supported or allowed the Nazi party to perpetrate crimes against humanity, because it allows everyone to pretend that they are not collaborating in evil, by mis-identifying the nature of formal cooperation.
In moral acts, the respect under which every act is considered is always the moral one, not the physical one. To proceed with an analysis which reduce the moral to the physical misses the entire point of ethics. We are not robots, and a moral theology for Nazis is simply not Christian.
Some might remark, that a good number of Jesuit books of Moral Theology printed before Vatican II sustained a position similar or like the SSPX position. I reply, thus: “Did you know that the Waffen SS studied Jesuit books on obedience to craft their own doctrine of ‘I was only following orders’?”
The Jesuits have for centuries sustained a position in moral theology which is gravely evil, and the mere fact that they have not yet been censured is no argument that their position is not wrong, because the Catholic Church a thing is not right or wrong because the Vatican approves it or disapproves it. It is right or wrong in itself, and the Vatican should approve it or disapprove it on that basis.
Application to Vaccines
As regards any sort of vaccine, the same moral principles apply. If the manufacture, development, or production used the tissue of murdered human persons, when whether this was necessary or not either in its development or manufacture, then the decision to do this makes all the commerce and production of the vaccine gravely morally evil.
This is because one participates in causa with their consent to Abortion by participating in the process whereby they distribute the vaccine. Since they consented to abortion for the sake of profit or distribution or simply to promote abortion as a “value”, to help them obtain that profit, distribution or indirect consent, after they use the tissue obtained in the abortion, consents to their approval of abortion. This is called collaboration after the fact. Just as it gets you put in jail for murder, when you help dispose of the body, so in morals, it makes you participate in the evil of the prior act. This kind of posterior collaboration is formal consent or moral collaboration for this reason, that just as the perpetrator of the crime does so in hope of obtaining some benefit from the crime, to be used in the future, so by helping him obtain that benefit in the future, you enter into the group of those who collaborate, after the fact, in giving him the hope or motivation to commit the crime, not to mention collaborating in the acquisition and/or use of the ill-gotten gain, when this occurs. Thus, to know a man is a mass murderer wanted by the Law and not to report him to the authorities is formal consent to his mass murder even decades after the fact.
But if it be the case of a RNA vaccine which alters the genetic heritage of the human person — I speak of RNA vaccines which are not designed to repair genetic damage in a single individual who might have inherited a gene for a deadly disease, and thus uses a RNA vaccine which has the code for the correct God given human natural sequence — then the problem is compounded. Because it is always gravely morally evil to alter one’s genetic inheritance, as this is a prerogative alone of God, our Creator. We do not belong to ourselves and we have not the right of God our Sovereign over ourselves.
It is also gravely morally evil to experiment on oneself at the risk of death, grave illness or malformation. In fact, as St. Alphonsus teaches, it is a mortal sin to receive a tattoo. How much more would it be to alter one’s genetic composition with a man made mark or code? And since none of these RNA vaccines have been tested thoroughly, indeed, since RNA vaccines have NEVER BEFORE BEEN USED OR DEVELOPED, it would be an insanity against all natural and supernatural prudence to allow oneself to be injected with such a risky product.
All these cases can be compared to the case of parents who are gravely obliged to refuse that their son invite his girl friend over to stay for a time in his bedroom with doors closed, for to consent to such a thing would be to consent to everything that might happen with the doors closed. Likewise, to loan them the family boat, after their arrival at the family vacation house on the lake, to enjoy themselves on the lake, with no one else around, is the same act of formal collaboration as giving them the keys to the car to go to the lake house by themselves. One is prior in time, another is posterior in time. Both consent to all the moral acts done in the lake house.
Of course if the son is married and the woman is not merely a friend but his wife, there is no sin. But if he is not, there is at the very least the sin of putting oneself in proximate occasions of mortal sin of impurity. Thus, a janitor in a hospital which refuses abortion and sex change operations, does not sin. But if the hospital does, he must quit or refuse his work in all parts of the hospital which serve the victims or perpetrators of such crimes.
Thus in conclusion, it is always gravely evil to knowingly produce, manufacture, sell, take, receive, transport or administer a RNA vaccine which alters the genetic inheritance of a human being with an artificial or non human code, just as it is always gravely evil to knowingly produce, manufacture, sell, take, receive, transport or administer a Vaccine which was developed using the tissue of murdered human persons, either as a necessity in the development, or to make a statement in favor of abortion.