Bishop McElroy is vaccinated in January. Courtesy of the diocese

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego assured San Diegans Wednesday that the new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is “entirely morally legitimate” despite the company’s use of cell lines that originated from an abortion.

Bishop Robert W. McElroy’s comments come after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed concerns over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which used lab-grown cells cloned from a fetus aborted in the 1970s in research and production.

He told local Catholics that accepting any of the vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Astra-Zeneca is morally right.

“I want to make clear to the Catholic communities of San Diego and Imperial Counties that in the current pandemic moment, with limited vaccine options available to achieve healing for our nation and our world, it is entirely morally legitimate to receive any of these four vaccines,” he said, “and to recognize, as Pope Francis has noted, that in receiving them we are truly showing love for our neighbor and our God.”

McElroy noted that “Catholic moral teaching is often highly complex and nuanced in its reasoning about how to navigate the issues of balancing good and evil in confronting ethical choices.”

Bishops in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Tyler, TX, and Burlington, VT, have expressed concerns over use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.