Recently, an online firestorm erupted among Catholics surrounding a recent letter from the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X arguing for the moral permissibility of taking an available COVID-19 vaccine if the situation were grave enough to warrant the act.
My intent here is not to evaluate all the details of the letter, or to offer a comprehensive explanation or apologetic as to why this particular letter was written. The crux of the argument put forth in the letter, as far as I can tell, is that there are situations wherein it is grave enough to cooperate with an evil—that you did not commit—without sinning. In addition, there may be situations where it is “charitable” to acquiesce to certain government coercion if the situation warrants it.
As you can imagine, the use of the term “charity” by the priest who wrote it encouraged furious journalists and internet commenters to cry that the proverbial sky has fallen. Granted, like the word “mercy,” there are few words that have been as misused as the word “charity” in today’s Church parlance. In the mind of the liberal Catholic, everything that is “nice” is charity. Leftist prelates the world over are calling on the faithful to take the jab as an act of charity for their neighbor; because, of course, the coronavirus pandemic is the single most important illness on earth, in their minds.