I was just watching a show on Denial-ism where people will deny medical science because of their religious or philosophical beliefs. What does the Catholic Church teach about this subject. If a child was diabetic and the parent(s) denied the child insulin then he died would that be a mortal sin?
That kind of behavior is definitely unCatholic.
In June 2005 the Vatican Pontifical Academy for Life issued a document Moral Reflections on Vaccines Produced from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses. The Academy’s report on this issue was approved by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Moral Reflections on Vaccines offers the following guidance:
• It is morally wrong to produce, market, and distribute vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines because this could encourage the performance of other voluntary abortions for the purpose of producing such vaccines.
• We have a duty to request and use alternative vaccines which were produced in a morally acceptable way, if such alternative vaccines exist.
• In the case of vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines for which no alternatives currently exist, it is morally permissible to use them “on a temporary basis” and “insomuch as is necessary” to ensure the health of individuals and the population as a whole.
• It is right to abstain from using vaccines produced with aborted fetal cell lines on condition that this can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health.
• We have a responsibility to “oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.”
For much more information read the entire document:
Did anyone see the ABC special last night on the “Church of Wells”(located in Wells, TX)(website online if you care to look). A church members infant died. They drove around laying the child in various places and praying, believing the Lord would resurrect the infant, much like Lazarus. Finally they called 911 after the infant was dead for over 12 hours.
Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Issued by USCCB, November 17, 2009
Copyright © 2009, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved.
- While every person is obliged to use ordinary means to preserve his or her health, no person should be obliged to submit to a health care procedure that the person has judged, with a free and informed conscience, not to provide a reasonable hope of benefit without imposing excessive risks and burdens on the patient or excessive expense to family or community.18
Catholicism affirms that human beings are capable of reason precisely because we acquired that capability by being created in GOD’s image who is supremely rational. Because God is rational, we can expect to see rationality in nature and can, within the limits of our imperfect humanity, comprehend much of that rational order to nature. This includes medical science and vaccines.
Some religions consider God to be inscrutable and classify it almost sinful to attempt to understand His motivations and designs. We’re not one of those groups.
This issue concerns me because I see it as a huge polarization scheme. When non-scientific objections to vaccinating are cited as reasons to forgo ALL vaccines, infectious disease can once again run rampant leading to a backlash against the non-vaccinators. That backlash is then exploited to force vaccination in areas NOT crucial for overall health and wellbeing of society.
While I consider it nearly criminal to refrain from vaccinating for MMR, I suspect that the chicken pox vaccine is more about reducing employer costs due to parental absence from work when a kid has it than actually improving public health. Only time will tell if the CP vaccine truly results in better herd immunity than what we used to have where every kid actually GOT chicken pox before 3rd grade, or if the vaccine will be less effective in the long run leaving unboosted adults vulnerable again.
Same goes for the HPV vaccine. While side effects so far appear to be minor, that one was adopted widely BEFORE anybody knew if the side effects would be worse than NOT vaccinating and the patient refraining from promiscuous behavior…
So while I am firmly FOR vaccinating against deadly diseases where vaccines are the best defense, I’m not yet to lump ALL vaccines into the vital category. Some really do appear to be more about cultural and economic expediency than true public health best practices.