Yvonne Bontkowski, Executive Director of Taking Recourse along with advisory board member Debi Vinnedge, retired Founder of Children of God for Life, are pleased to be among the signatories of The Bethlehem Declaration. Mrs Bontkowski stated: “This document should not even be necessary! We have hit the defining moment of the so called- “acceptable use” of abortion-derived vaccines and have not met the fundamental criteria necessary to justify its use, even on a temporary basis. We can no longer sit back blindly and remain complacent, the time is here and the time is now to take action- united in one voice of protest.”
Press Release issued originally on Life Site News: Thu Dec 16, 2021 – 10:10 pm EST
(LifeSiteNews) – A group of Catholic prelates, scholars, activists, and journalists have initiated a petition appealing to the hierarchy of the Church, the lay faithful, and “all people of good will” to “vehemently oppose” the “abortion-tainted experimental injections for COVID-19,” along with mandates for their reception, calling the shots “morally illicit.”
“The Bethlehem Declaration” (Declaration), sponsored by Deacon Nick Donnelly of England, has been endorsed by Bishops Marian Eleganti, Rene Henry Gracida, Athanasius Schneider, and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, along with ten priests and other scholars such as Drs. Peter Kwasniewski of the United States, Berthold Wald of Germany, and Caroline Farey of the United Kingdom.
Altogether, 52 individuals are listed as “Initial Signatories” of the petition, which argues that, according to the Church’s moral teaching, the conditions for reception of the abortion-derived injections, under ordinary circumstances, have not been met.
These conditions include the necessity of the abortion-tainted vaccine to evade a “grave danger,” and when an “‘ethically irreproachable Covid-19’ alternative health intervention is not available.”
According to the four-page document, a moral justification for utilizing these COVID-19 gene-based injections fails when these factors are not present, which is the case for many people, including healthy young people and those who have recovered from the disease and thus enjoy natural immunity.
The Declaration also observes that the injections available in the Western world “are really gene-based medical treatments,” therefore “calling into question” the applicability of the Church’s teaching on standard vaccines that are “qualitatively different.”
Treating “gene-therapy” specifically, an instruction from the Catholic Church emphasizes that due to the “significant risks” of these biologicals, science must “establish beforehand” that the patient is not “exposed to risks to his health or physical integrity which are excessive or disproportionate to the gravity of the pathology for which a cure is sought.”
The document goes on to propose that with a lack of prior animal testing, standard safety committees, and transparent data, “it is impossible to assert that the benefits of these injections are proportionate to the harmful side effects as is morally required to be known before such experimental gene therapies can be morally acceptable.”
Highlighting the harmful side effects, the missive continues citing government reports of vaccine deaths currently being “48 times higher in 2021 than 2020,” and growing, which could actually amount to “hundreds of thousands for the USA” alone.
Hyperlinking several studies, the petition asserts the superiority of natural immunity to short-lived vaccine-induced immunity, the “high levels of ‘breakthrough cases’” of the virus, and the fact that the shots do not even prevent infection and transmission, “vitiating the broadly advanced motive for the healthy to be injected out of ‘love of neighbor’ in order to ‘protect others.’”
Deacon Donnelly told LifeSiteNews that the manifesto received its name due to its release near Christmas when the Church is recalling the “baby Jesus, who manifests the sanctity of life of all babies, created in the image and likeness of God.”
“Bethlehem is also associated with the massacre of the Holy Innocents by King Herod,” he said. “This petition gives us the opportunity to protest on behalf of these silenced victims of the pharmaceutical industry” who have been exploited and used for the development and testing of COVID-19 vaccines.
Child advocate Elizabeth Yore, who also signed the Bethlehem Declaration, told LifeSiteNews it is “an outstanding document” that serves as “the definitive response to the globalist tyrannical health madness.” Encouraging everyone to read it, she said, this petition “must resonate strongly amidst the noisy covid clatter.”
“I so love the gravitas of this grace-filled and divinely inspired document,” Yore said.
The Bethlehem Declaration:
Challenging the moral liceity of the abortion-tainted experimental injections for COVID-19 and calling for universal opposition to ‘vaccine mandates’
’For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man’ (GS 22).
Whereas the Second Vatican Council rightly summarized the horror of abortion classifying it as an “abominable crime” which also encompasses a “supreme dishonour to the Creator” (GS 51 § 3; 27);
Whereas St. John Paul II taught all must oppose such deliberate “murder” of the most vulnerable with “maximum of determination” (EV, 58; CL);
Whereas, the sanctity of pre-born babies, created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:27), is gravely violated by their utilitarian exploitation and commodification; thereby furthering the descent of the human race into “a civilization of ‘things’ and not of ‘persons’, a civilization in which persons are used in the same way as things are used” (St. John Paul II, GS 13);
Whereas all of the experimental COVID-19 gene-based vaccines currently available in the Western world, are abortion-tainted having been tested or developed through the abuse of stolen fetal cells from the bodies of murdered pre-born children;
Whereas last December (2020) the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) released a Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines (Note) the subject of which was limited to “the moral aspects of the use of the vaccines against Covid-19 that have been developed from cell lines derived from tissues obtained from two fetuses that were not spontaneously aborted,” while specifically stating as well that the congregation did “not intend to judge the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, although ethically relevant and necessary;
Whereas the Note affirms there remains a “moral duty to avoid such passive material cooperation” in the crime of abortion by use of said injections; yet explains this duty is “not obligatory” in the presence of a “grave danger” that can be evaded by the “vaccine,” and when an “ethically irreproachable Covid-19” alternative health intervention is not available;
Whereas absent the presence of at least these criteria it remains morally illicit to receive said injections;
Whereas despite the Note stating the current “pandemic spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19” constitutes the necessary “grave danger” to justify the use of abortion-tainted vaccines, such a judgment is “contingent and conjectural” relying on scientific data which continually develops over time (DVer, 24), while also being outside the proper competence of bishops, as their authority is defined as pertaining to the realms of faith and morals (LG 25);
Whereas hundreds of medical professionals with due competence have come to the opposite conclusion classifying use of these experimental COVID-19 injections as “unnecessary, ineffective and unsafe;” while over 59,000 medical scientists and practitioners have affirmed that due to the relatively mild danger of COVID-19 to the vast majority of the population, “those who are at minimal risk” should be permitted “to live their lives normally [and] build up [herd] immunity to the virus” apart from any vaccines; and several thousand others have called exposing the population to an inadequately tested vaccine to counteract such a mild virus “irresponsible;”
Whereas “[i]n the vast majority of people (~99.8% globally), SARS-CoV-2 is non-lethal. It is typically a mild to moderately severe illness. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of people are not at risk from COVID-19 and do not require vaccination” (source)
Whereas reported survival rates for those under eighteen years of age are 99.998%, for those between eighteen and fifty years, 99.95%, from fifty to sixty-five, 99.4%, and for those over sixty-five years, 94%, equating to those under 70, having a better chance of dying from influenza than COVID-19 which presents an overall threat comparable to the medium influenza pandemics of 1936 and 1957;
Whereas hundreds of medical professionals affirm, “approximately 99% of people are already protected against COVID-19 by memory-type antibody responses,” and “most people will now have immunity due to exposure to SARS-CoV-2,” thus this population will not “benefit at all from being vaccinated;”
Whereas the government officials who have been charged with vetting the COVID-19 gene-based vaccine injections have been heavily compromised with multiple conflicts of interest through their deep connections to the pharmaceutical industry even actually profiting from the products that they have vetted, even while the research is funded and influenced by these drug corporations who are producing the products in question;
Whereas these same conflicted-interest government officials, along with the media, suppressed the voices of thousands of doctors and scientists from around the world who attested to the availability of safe, very effective, inexpensive and ethically produced treatments for COVID-19, including “miraculous ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), quercetin, vitamins D, and C with zinc, etc., all of which have a phenomenal track record whenever these protocols are administered, such as in Mexico City;
Whereas all of the currently available COVID-19 “vaccine” injections are really gene-based medical treatments, “qualitatively different than standard vaccines,” calling into question the Note’s applicability to these drugs;
Whereas Dignitas Personae distinguishes such drugs from vaccines specifying, “[g]iven that gene therapy can involve significant risks for the patient, the ethical principle must be observed according to which, in order to proceed to a therapeutic intervention, it is necessary to establish beforehand that the person being treated will not be exposed to risks to his health or physical integrity which are excessive or disproportionate to the gravity of the pathology for which a cure is sought. The informed consent of the patient or his legitimate representative is also required” (26);
Whereas since there has been no long-term animal testing to determine the long-range harmful side effects of the new experimental gene-based COVID-19 products, nor have standard safety committees been put in place to assess the data—causing many experts to insist the vaccination program “should be halted immediately”—it is impossible to assert that the benefits of these injections are proportionate to the harmful side effects as is morally required to be known before such experimental gene therapies can be morally acceptable;
Whereas by means of comparison, American casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars equate to 7,074, yet in the U.S. alone credible death reports due to the these injections currently number 20,244 (through December 10, 2021) and are steadily increasing on a passive government reporting system which has historically “under-reported adverse events by about two orders-of-magnitude” meaning actual deaths could be in “the hundreds of thousands for the USA” (source);1
Whereas reports of these vaccine deaths, presently 48 times higher in 2021 than 2020, continue to be suppressed by the media along with the accounts of almost 106,000 hospitalizations and over 33,700 individuals being permanently disabled; and in consideration of a peer-reviewed study revealing a “five times” greater chance of death from the vaccines than from COVID-19 “in the most vulnerable 65+ demographic,” including an increased risk vs. benefits ratio with younger age groups, at least hundreds of doctors insist these experimental gene-based injections are “dangerous” and “not safer” than COVID-19 itself;
Whereas the onus is upon the scientists, government health officials and moralists who promote the acceptance of these injections to prove that the unprecedentedly multitudinous reported adverse events related to these injections are not caused by these shots before others are subjected to them — which certainly has not been done;
Whereas these gene-based vaccines have been shown to be ineffective—far less effective than natural immunity of recovered patients — suffering high-levels of “breakthrough cases” of the “fully vaccinated” as compared to the “unvaccinated” (74%), including hospitalizations (60%), with significantly higher risks to the recovered who accept the shots (56%), along with showing a curious correlation between implementation of “vaccine” campaigns across the globe and sharp increases in COVID-19 deaths; and, lastly, revealing strong indications that the “vaccinated” are just as likely to carry and transmit the virus as the unvaccinated, vitiating the broadly advanced motive for the healthy to be injected out of “love of neighbor” in order to “protect others”;
Whereas facing the unjust implementation and advancement of freedom-killing “vaccine passports”— which “protect nobody” from the virus—in Europe, Israel, Australia, and Canada, along with initiatives at the city, state and federal level in the United States, sparking vast global protests, a legitimate act of “love of neighbor” can rightly be exercised by what many agree is the “only way” to protect the freedom of western democracies: massive non-compliance with “vaccine” mandates and passports;
Whereas the Church has also taught that the use of any such abortion-tainted injections may be chosen only on a “temporary basis,” as habitual material cooperation through multiple shots may, among other dangers, erode the subject’s “sense of right and wrong” engendering “an occasion of grave sin;” and yet the use of at least the two mRNA experimental gene-transfer COVID injections are designed to require “boosters” on an ongoing basis involving a routine and physical concatenation with the crime of abortion;
Whereas taking abortion-tainted products encourages the abortion industry and the pro-abortion pharmaceutical and biomedical research industry to continue abusing cell lines stolen from murdered babies (and even developing new abortion-derived cell lines) despite any and all verbal protests of pro-lifers speaking out in opposition to these atrocities;
Whereas such a counter-witness has the potential of causing scandal to the secular world, it also serves to undermine a higher duty of “love of neighbor” by encouraging the gravely immoral acts of abortionists, researchers, marketers and administrators involved in these evils, further endangering their immortal souls;
Whereas it must be emphasized that our brothers and sisters who have received these injections with insufficient knowledge or freedom, being victims of propaganda or the violence of criminal mandates, cannot be said to have incurred guilt to their consciences on account of this act;
We the undersigned, in observation of Church teaching, hereby affirm that even presuming an individual is fully opposed to these gene-based vaccines being tainted with the horrendous crime of abortion, that due to the presence of any of the three following conditions as supported above, it remains objectively morally illicit for a person to accept these shots:
- the manifest lack of a “grave danger” posed by COVID-19,
- the positive availability of safe and effective “ethically irreproachable Covid-19” health interventions, and,
- the absence of adequate testing data which is morally necessary for even attempting to calculate a risk / benefit analysis for such experimental gene-based injections, especially when these shots have been shown to be exceptionally ineffective and dangerous, particularly to the most vulnerable.
We further confirm that as a matter of logic at least one such prohibitive condition will apply to virtually all, if not every, individual.
In circumstances which constitute criminally imposed duress or coercion, mandating reception of such dangerous, ineffective and under-tested experimental injections, in violation of the Nuremburg Code and international law, those victimized by these acts of violence are encouraged to make the most prudent decision possible in service to their own health, freedom and the common good.
It also naturally follows that it remains morally illicit to facilitate, promote or mandate the mass reception of these dangerous, under-tested, under-monitored, abortion-tainted COVID-19 injections.
We therefore respectfully appeal to the Holy Father, the CDF, all Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, lay faithful, and all people of good will to vehemently oppose the reception of these morally tainted, dangerous, and ineffective products, along with the gravely unjust mandates for their reception being imposed upon millions of students and workers across the Christian West.
Initial Signatories December 15, 2021
+ Bishop Marian Eleganti, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Chur, Switzerland
+ Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop, Apostolic Nuncio
Rev A B. Carter B.Sc. (Hons.) ARCS DipPFS
Fr Koenraad Huysegems
Fr. Timothy Sauppé, S.T.L.
Fr. Michael Menner M.A. Theology; Bachelor of Science in Human Biology
Abbé Janvier Gbénou, Priest
Abbé Fr. Guy Pagès, Priest, author
Don Pietro Leone, Priest and author
Fr. Luis Eduardo Rodríguez Rodriguez, Parish Priest, Venezuela.
Fr. John Rizzo, Diocese of Parramatta, Australia
Fr. John Lovell, President, Coalition of Canceled Priests
Deacon Nick Donnelly, MA
Lynn Colgan Cohen, OFS, MA, Secular Franciscan
Prof. Dr. Phil Habil Berthold Wald
Professor of Systematic Philosophy (ret.), Theological Department Paderborn, Germany
Dr. Claude E. Newbury M.B., B.Ch., D.T.M&H., D.P.H., M.F.G.P., D.O.H., D.C.H., D.A., M.Med.
Physician, public health expert, former President of Pro‑Life South Africa
Peter A. Kwasniewski, Ph.D., independent scholar and author
Dr. Caroline Farey, BA, MA, STB, STL, PhL, PhD (Lateranensis)
Prof. Dr. Dr. Daniel von Wachter, philosopher and theologian,
Principality of Liechtenstein
Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski, Independent Scholar and Author
Carlos A. Casanova, Philosopher, University Professor
Donna F. Bethell, J.D. Prof. Dr.rer.nat. Dr.rer.pol. Rudolf Hilfer, Stuttgart, German
Andrea Rosario Iñiguez. PHD Law.
Dr. Gerard van den Aardweg, psychologist
Prof. em. Dr. Hubert Windisch, Germany
Dr. Robert Hickson (USA ret.), Scholar of literature and military history
Dr. Maike Hickson, Journalist and author
Gabriele Civello, PhD in Law
Edward E. Schaefer, President, The Collegium
Michael Hageböck, School Headmaster, publicist
Sarah Henderson DCHS MA (RE & Catechetics) BA (Mus)
René Fuchslocher Raddatz, Attorney, politician and farmer
John-Henry Westen, Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com
Michael Matt, Editor, The Remnant
Sven von Storch, Editor-in-chief of Frei Welt, Chairman of the Zivie Allianz and
Chairman of the Institute for Strategic Studies in Berlin
Brian M. McCall, Orpha and Maurice Merrill Chair in Law; Editor-in-chief, Catholic Family News
Matt Gaspers, Managing Editor, Catholic Family News
Rod Pead, Editor, Christian Order magazine, UK
Helene und Alexandra Walterskirchen, Castle Rudolfshausen, Germany (Kultur-Magazin Schloss Rudolfshausen)
Leila Marie Lawler, Author of The Summa Domestica: Order and Wonder in the Home
Maureen Mullarkey, Writer
Jeanne Smits, Journalist, France
Adrie A.M. van der Hoeven MSc, Published Scientist and Author of www.jesusking.info
Elizabeth Yore, Esq., Founder, YoreChildren
C. Joseph Doyle, Executive Director, Catholic Action League of Massachusetts
Ernest Williams, Switzerland
Debi Vinnedge, Retired Founder of Children of God for Life
Yvonne Bontkowski, Executive Director, Taking Recourse
Patrick Delaney, M.Div., MA, Journalist