CNS Deceptive Reporting Undermines Vatican Statement - Retraction Demanded

Debi Vinnedge
For Immediate Release, Monday July 25, 2005
Contact: Debi Vinnedge,
727 584-3332
Reproduced with Permission
CNS Undermines Vatican - Retraction Demanded

In response to an article put out by Catholic News Service regarding a recent Vatican statement on using aborted fetal cell line vaccines, Children of God for Life accused the agency of both irresponsible coverage and dishonest reporting of the statements they claimed were made in an interview last week.

"Not only did CNS grossly misquote me, they printed statements that were never said at all," said Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director of Children of God for Life who was interviewed for the article. "Their╩report also completely undermines the╩importance of the Vatican document which strongly advocates the need to bring ethical alternatives to the market - the very heart of our mission."

Vinnedge pointed out the errors and demanded a retraction from CNS writer, Carol Glatz noting that the article "contradicted every other Catholic news agency around the world that had read the Vatican statement.╩It also has the potential to destroy years of work in obtaining the alternatives", Vinnedge warned. Neither CNS nor Glatz have responded.

Not only did the story appear to portray Ms Vinnedge as dissatisfied with the Vatican statement, the writer failed to acknowledge the significant value the document provided, which Vinnedge had pointed out to Glatz in the interview.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," Vinnedge said. "I openly praised the Vatican for its concise teaching and clear directives, which was certainly evident in every other press release issued."

At one point in the interview Glatz asked Vinnedge if anyone in the US even cared what the Vatican said.

"I told her that most certainly the US pays close attention to the Vatican. Their statement was a blessing to us, especially since it placed the burden on the pharmaceutical industry to bring about changes to their immoral practices. She never acknowledged what I actually said."

Vinnedge further told Glatz in the interview that unlike the US where rubella is mandated for entrance to schools and licensing requirements are stringent, other countries had the freedom to use the ethical Takahashi alternative from Japan which has been on the eastern market since 1986 and does not use aborted fetal cell lines. Nothing to that effect was ever mentioned in the CNS article.

Meanwhile Vinnedge says they have been working on gaining licensing for that vaccine for years, noting that until the Vatican statement came out, there was╩skepticism by some ethicists as to whether that effort was even necessary since they did not see any moral problem in using the tainted version.

"With the Vatican behind these efforts, we have a chance to make a real difference," Vinnedge said. Her concern now is that some will view the CNS article and misunderstand what the Vatican is actually saying. "That would not only be a grave injustice, it could have the potential of effectively ending any opportunity to do exactly what the Vatican is advocating," she said.

"If anyone wishes to see what the Vatican stated - or even what we have publicly stated in response to their statement they can view those documents on our website and decide for themselves," Vinnedge added.

What did the Vatican really say?

If you read the Catholic News Service article, you'd probably conclude that the Vatican said parents should have their children vaccinated, even if the vaccines were developed from fetal tissues. So you wouldn't need to worry much more about the issue.

If you read the Catholic World News article, you'd probably conclude that the vatican said parents should not have their children vaccinated if the vaccines were developed from fetal tissues. And even if there are times when such vaccinations are morally justifiable -- when it's the only available way to guard against a serious disease -- there is still a heavy obligation to lobby for change in a fundamentally immoral situation. So you do still need to worry about it.

Which story is more accurate?

Read the actual text sent by the Vatican -- we linked to it in the original CWN story -- and see for yourself. (Phil Lawler, Catholic World News)