Something good always comes from something bad. I firmly believe that. I haven’t ever found a situation where that expression proved false. The reason must be God’s grace.
Some will challenge this belief with examples like the Holocaust. How could anything good come out of such evil? Yet aren’t there countless stories of people helping the persecuted, of good counteracting the evil?
The bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were horrible, but have you noticed that no other atomic bombs have been used in all the years since? It was a hard lesson, but there is a determination never to let it, or the Holocaust, happen again. That’s good.
In a previous blog, “There Is Equal Value in Everyone,” I wrote about how severely disabled children engendered a different understanding of “quality of life” from the nurses who attended them. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/musingsfromthepew/2021/11/there-is-equal-value-in-everyone/
Being disabled is a “bad” thing, but it evokes good in others. It also evokes good in the disabled person who finds new strength and sets bigger goals because of the disability.
Some say they would not change anything if they could. They have learned so much about themselves and what they can do because of their disabilities. What happened was bad, but the results were worthwhile.
Similarly, women with unplanned pregnancies report that the adjustments they made to their lives to accommodate a baby have all been for the better. The “crisis” of the pregnancy was bad, but the new goals, the determination to succeed for the child and the love were all good.
The COVID Vaccine
The ethical questions raised by some Catholics and Christians about the COVID vaccine also fit in this discussion. It is true that stem cells from aborted babies were used to develop the vaccines.
However, that was more than thirty years ago. The cell lines have since been altered multiple times. The vaccines are only remotely related to that bad beginning, and the vaccines are a good thing.
To say that today’s vaccine is tainted by those beginnings is like saying that your six-times great grandfather’s operation of a guillotine during the French Revolution is a curse on you today.
Yes, it’s repulsive that fetal tissue from aborted babies was used. Keep in mind, though, it was the abortion that was bad, not necessarily the research.
In like manner, Dr. Mengele’s experiments on humans in the concentration camps were monstrous, but his findings advanced medical science. Wouldn’t it have been foolish to reject that knowledge because of the way it was discovered?
Wouldn’t it have been better if such research had used other means? Yes, of course. But it happened, so let’s turn the tables on the evil intentions of the perpetrators and turn the results into something good.
In a December 2020 statement, the USCCB referred to these cell lines as morally compromised for their connection, albeit remote, with abortions.
Nonetheless, they reiterated the message from the Vatican justifying the use of vaccines, lacking alternatives, as an act of charity and moral responsibility in situations of serious health danger, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
If we are upset about the fetal cells used to develop vaccines — something that was done long ago and can’t be changed — then we should direct our attentions to in vitro fertilization (IVF) which supplies all the human embryonic stem cell lines currently in use. This is something happening now that we can work to stop.
The use of fetal stem cells is fueled by availability and the eagerness of the abortion industry to profit from their sale.
Change the Culture, Change the Source
If we want researchers to use cells from spontaneous (miscarriage) or therapeutic (ectopic) abortions rather than elective abortions, or to use adult stem cells, then we have to work to diminish the objectionable supply and stop the trafficking.
As it is, the cell lines used in the vaccines is also used to test and improve acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin as well as treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases.
In other words, these cell lines to which so many Catholics and evangelicals have objected are probably in a number of other medications and vaccines that we all routinely use.
It’s awful, but it is a good that has come from something bad. If we object to the bad, we need to eliminate the source. We need to petition, boycott and demonstrate against the forces that drive the market. Again, bad causing us to do good works.
A tragedy forces us to re-evaluate, to dig deep for courage and determination, to open our eyes to new possibilities. With the right attitude and trust in God’s plan, we can always find a way to make something good out of something bad