Volume 33 February 2021 No. 2
MORAL GUIDANCE ON VACCINES
There has arisen a legitimate and fairly widespread concern among conscientious Christians about the ethics of using certain vaccines. Although the research is somewhat unclear, the grave concern is over the possibility that some of them have used in their research a cell line that has been developed from an aborted fetus.
This line in particular is called HEK 293, whose origin is a bit unclear, but which came from infant female fetal cells from 1973. What’s unclear is whether this line comes from an elective abortion or from a miscarriage. This information comes from Canadian biologist Frank Graham, who established the cell line. But if the former is true, then it is also true that although no fetal cells went into the actual production of the vaccine, most of them did go into the necessary research, which helped to produce the vaccine. Ethicists are pointing to two producers, Pfizer and Novovax, which did not use the fetal cells except for confirmation, and although these may be considered the least objectionable, there are still potential risks, especially for women of child-bearing age and people with certain allergies. In any case, the data are not abundant, so great care should be taken.
But does any of this present a moral problem? After all, the fetus is long gone, and great good can result from this. The trouble is that this line of reasoning is called utilitarianism, first made popular in the 18th century by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, which holds, simply, that the ends justify the means. So much good for so many comes from this evil act, so why not look the other way? So goes the reasoning.
It should be easy to see the moral flaw here. If the ends justify the means, then we are free to perform all manner of evil acts, provided the outcome is good. Yet the commandments are clear. The Fifth Commandment does not say, You shall not murder unless people will benefit from it. So also, you shall not perform abortions, because without a doubt they involve the brutal killing of unborn innocent babies. Can we, can a society, ever justify abortion in the name of some societal good? Every abortion kills a helpless prenatal infant. The debate should end there.
Therefore it is right to take great care in asking ethical questions about vaccines. Did this one or that one result from unethical, that is to say, unspeakably horrendous, murderous research? If so, how can we in good conscience accept the results?
Professor Gifford Grobien from our Fort Wayne seminary has been carefully researching the ethics, and has drawn this conclusion for now:
"Some populations at high risk for complications or death from COVID-19 may choose to receive the Pfizer vaccine, or, when available, the Novovax vaccine. Due to their use of fetal tissue cell strains as an ingredient, the AstraZeneca and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines should be avoided. The Moderna vaccine, likewise, due to its heavy dependence on fetal tissue cell strains for development, should be avoided, especially with other options available. Those with allergies to ingredients should not take the vaccine, and those with a history of anaphylactic reactions should consider the benefits and risks of the vaccine in more detail. Still others may choose not to take a vaccine for now due to the relatively small amount of data on their side effects."
Whatever the choice, it should be supported when made conscientiously, considering the ethical sourcing of the vaccine and one’s specific responsibilities and circumstances.
It is incumbent upon us Christians to find out as much as we can about the ethics here, and to stay away from anything that has resulted from the greatest moral wickedness civilized society has ever seen.
For further reading, see
+ Pastor Eckardt
Septuagesima January 31st.
On Septuagesima Sunday we turn our gaze toward Easter, though liturgically it is still off in the distance. This Sunday marks the first day of pre-Lent, a period of preparing our minds for the coming of Lent. A few liturgical matters are noted: we bid the Alleluias farewell, for we will not sing them again until Easter. The choir sings The Depositio, which is a “farewell to the alleluia” at the opening of the service. In addition, and we have changed the color to violet, also the color for Lent. The period of pre-Lent is observed in three Sundays: Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima. These Latin terms mean 70th, 60th, and 50th, for we pass, roughly, the 70th, 60th, and 50th days before Easter. Following Quinquagesima comes Ash Wednesday, the first day of the 40 days of Lent. Lent itself was once called Quadragesima, which means 40th.
In the middle ages Septuagesima was also seen as New Year’s Day, because of this shift in our focus: we had been living, as it were, in the wake of Christmas, since the Epiphany season is an extension of the Christmas season. Now we live in the first stages of preparation for the coming of Easter.
Shrove Tuesday February 16th
A good opportunity to make confession privately in preparation for Lent. Pastor is available Tuesday afternoon until 5 pm and, as always, by appointment.
Ash Wednesday February 17th
On Ash Wednesday, February 17th, we will congregate at 7:00 pm to mark the beginning of Lent. The rite of imposition of ashes precedes the Mass.
The season of Lent emphasizes penitence, in preparation for Easter. Its span is forty days, like the forty days in which Jesus fasted in the wilderness, in fulfillment of the fast of Moses and Elijah on Mount Horeb.
The Apostles themselves left the specific manner of observance to Christian liberty, saying, Let each be convinced in his own mind. Leaving aside the question of what things one should fast from (whether sweets, or meats, or milk products, etc.), what is clear is that the custom of fasting itself is quite biblical. If Moses, Elijah, and Jesus himself fasted, certainly it must be a good practice. Indeed, on Ash Wednesday we hear Jesus saying, “When ye fast, be not as the hypocrites,” etc. Luther’s Small Catechism also declares, “Fasting and other bodily preparation is indeed a fine outward training.” Therefore we conclude two things: first, that fasting is a good thing, and second, that it is a matter left to Christian liberty.
Liturgically the Church fasts during Lent (as Israel fasted forty years in the wilderness). The color is penitential violet. Alleluias are not sung, and there is less music; flowers are absent, and weddings are not to be scheduled.
Then, the last two weeks of Lent are designated as “passiontide,” when statutes, images, and crosses in the churches are veiled, and no Glorias are sung at all, except in the Gloria in Excelsis on Maundy Thursday.
But in the midst of this penitential mood there is joy, especially at Laetare, the fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare means ‘rejoice’). The entire penitential season is not to be sad, but joyful. For true joy of heart, born of the suffering and resurrection of Christ, transcends all parts of Christian life, even the deepest of sorrows, as we confess with David that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Thus the forty days of Lent is followed by a contrastingly festive forty-day season from Easter until Ascension Day.
Candlemas to be observed February 3rd
The Feast of Candlemas (the Presentation of our Lord and the Purification of Mary) is always set on February 2nd. Since it is a Tuesday this year, we will observe it on the following day, February 3rd, to accommodate more members who are already accustomed to coming every Wednesday evening. Candlemas is a First Class Feast of our Lord. Invite guests!
Hand-candles are used twice in this service. First, at the opening, in a procession toward the altar and back to the pews, all the while singing the Nunc Dimittis (the song of Simeon). Second, the hand-candles are re-lit, when the Sacrament is consecrated.
The declaration by the priest Simeon of the Christ Child as a Light to lighten the Gentiles is the reason for the ceremonial use of candles at this Mass. The use of these lights in connection with the Blessed Sacrament emphasizes the analogy of Simeon’s jubilation on receiving the Child with our own reception of Christ at the altar.
The name of this Feast, Candlemas, also subtly provides a link to the Feast from which it springs, that great feast of forty days earlier, namely Christmas.
The first Tuesday events (altar guild, vespers, elders) will be held, God willing, on Tuesday, February 2nd. Altar Guild at 6 pm; Vespers at 6:45; Elders at 7:15. All members are always encouraged to join us for First Tuesday Vespers, as you are able.
February Council Meeting
The February council meeting is scheduled for the third Wednesday of the month as usual. This will be Ash Wednesday, February 17th, at 5:30 pm.
Robin Sighting Contest:
Who can find the first robin of spring? Call Pastor if you see and can verify one. This is the eighth year of the contest.
2020 Michele Keehner
2019: Steve Kraklow
2018: Steve Kraklow
2017: Barb Kraklow
2016: Judy Thompson
2015: Carol Eckardt
2014: Michele Keehner
A sign of spring, the robin may also help us think of the approach of Easter!
February Anniversaries None
2/2 Mindie Fisher
2/4 Joshua Kraklow
2/5 Tom Wells
2/23 Carol McReynolds
Jim Hornback, Otis Anderson, Bill Thompson
New Officers and Board Members, Installed January 17th
At our annual voters’ assembly the following people were elected; they were then installed on January 17th.
Chairman Bill Thompson
Vice-chairman Tom Wells
Recording secretary Charlene Sovanski
SS chairman Sheri Kraklow
Treasurer Diana Shreck
Finance Chairman Barb Kraklow
Finance Committee Michelle Armstrong
Finance Committee Judy Thompson
Finance Committee Jim Watson
Remaining in office (no election needed)
Missions Chairman Judy Thompson
Stewardship Chrmn Jan Schoen
Trustees John Sovanski
Elders Steve Kraklow
The voters also resolved that any individual may hold two offices at once.
Thanks be to God for all willing to serve!
In Our Prayers
Our current list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists here following. Anyone wishing to update the list by addition or subtraction, please inform the pastor.
in our parish:
Emilie Ricknell, John Ricknell, Linda Rowe, Emmy Wear, Sue Murphy, Don Murphy, Dick Melchin, Bea Harris, Allan Kraklow, Sandra VerPlaetse, John Sovanski, Tara Wagenknecht, Otis Anderson, and Jim Watson
and beyond our parish:
Anna Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Katy Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Jody Rutowicz [Harrises’ daughter]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Elizabeth Godke [Sharon Field’s mother]
Brandt and Oneida Hendrickson [Ricknell relatives]
Janice Hart [Judy Thompson’s sister]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknells’ grandson]
Dennis Hoag [Adam Shreck’s father-in-law]
Rachel Smith [Emmy Wear’s cousin]
Matthew and Yvette Baker [Dale’s son and wife]
Theresa Moore [Ricknells’ niece]
Carol Grigsby [friend of Jewneel Walker]
Tim Newman [Kemerling relation]
Kathy Boeger [re Harrises]
Allison Leezer [relative of the Kraklows]
Floretta Reynolds [Jim Watson’s aunt]
Dana Conley [relative of the Kraklows]
Roger Wear [Emmy’s father]
Bud Harfst [Sue Murphy’s brother]
Everly Stoner, great grandchild of the Murphys
Jeff Lewis [Eckardt relation]
Sue Lewis [Eckardt relation]
Natalie Lewis [Eckardt relation]
Lisa Hammons [re Eckardts]
in the military:
Donny Appleman [at request of the Ricknells]
Richard Heiden [at request of the Eckardts]
Luke Van Landigan [grandson of Dick Melchin]
Jaclyn Alvarez [daughter of Kris Harden]
Eli Wetzel, Traven Wetzel, Shawn Wetzel
Eric Verplaetse [Sandra’s grandson]
Jake Mahaffey, Trevor Shimmin, Shad Draminski
James and Annley Armstrong
any unborn children in danger of abortion
those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan, Madagascar, Iran, Iraq, Syria, India, China, Vietnam, North Korea, and elsewhere.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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