(In a section titled "The use of human ‘biological material’ of illicit origin", the document examined the ethical questions posed for people who, in research or the production of vaccines or
other products, deal with cell lines that are the result of a procedure the church considers immoral.)
In cases where there is a direct connection, such as embryonic experimentation that inevitably involves the killing of the human embryos, such acts always constitute a grave moral disorder.
The situation is more complex when a researcher works with cell lines produced apart from his research centre or obtained commercially. The "criterion of independence", as formulated by some ethics committees, which argues that using such biological material would be ethically permissible as long as there is a clear separation between those causing the death of embryos, for example, and those doing the research, is rejected.
It is necessary to distance oneself in one’s ordinary professional activities from the injustice perpetrated by others, even when immoral actions are legal, in order not to give the impression of tacit acceptance of actions which are gravely unjust.
Therefore, it needs to be stated that there is a duty to refuse to use such "biological material" even when there is no close connection between the researcher and the actions of those who performed the artificial fertilisation or the abortion, or when there was not prior agreement with the centres in which the artificial fertilisation took place.
In the wider framework, there are differing degrees of responsibility, and grave reasons may in some cases justify the use of such "biological material". For example, the danger to the health of children could permit parents to legitimately use a vaccine that was developed using cell lines obtained illicitly. In such a case, the parents have no voice in the decision over how the vaccines are made. However, at the same time, everyone should ask their healthcare system to make other types of vaccines available.