CALGARY -- The Catholic Bishops of Alberta and Northwest Territories have given their blessing for members of the faith to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

A letter posted over the weekend addressed the question, “if it is okay for Catholic to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” and the short answer is, yes.

“The Catholic Church does certainly support and encourage ethical scientific research into the development of vaccines that will mitigate or even end the harm caused by this terrible disease,” read a release issued Dec. 2.

According to the Catholic bishops, the moral issue arises from the fact that vaccine development and testing often make use of cell lines derived from either the tissue of aborted fetuses or destroyed human embryos.

This is where the reception of a vaccine presents a dilemma with the Catholic conscience.

“Making use of abortion to create cell lines for research and development is an affront to human dignity,” read the release.

“Sadly, such cell lines are so widely used in the biopharmaceutical industry that a vaccine that has not been ethically compromised in its production and/or testing by their use may very well not be available for employment against COVID-19.”

With respect to someone receiving the vaccine, the Catholic bishops said, the connection with original controversial act is so remote when there exists a proportionately reason for vaccination such as the need to halt the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The church wants to assure that it is morally permissible for Catholic to receive the vaccine for the good of personal and public health,” stated the release.

“It remains imperative that Catholics make clear their moral objection to vaccine development derived from abortion, and to advocate with their governments for ethically produced vaccines.”