A picture of Kennedy and the logo of the group he heads, the Children’s Health Defense group

By Stefanie Stark, special correspondent for Inside the Vatican.

As a family that supports freedom from government force and open debate, how can we condone government violence, censorship, and compulsory medical procedures which the Nuremberg Charter and numerous international treaties to which we are signatory emphatically outlaw? As human rights advocates, we must ask ourselves the question: “At what point does one stop blindly believing government and pharmaceutical officials?”

—Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. 

Father Paul D. Scalia, pastor of St. James Church in Falls Church, Virginia, baptizes Beatrice Anne Borman on April 18, 2020 (CNS photo/Zoey Maraist, Arlington Catholic Herald)

The COVID-19 pandemic has been at the top of international news headlines for several months now. Stay-at-home orders and restrictions on our daily lives, including a ban on attending Catholic Mass and receiving the sacraments, have been issued in the name of protecting the public health. At the same time, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recently promoted the idea of a mass vaccination campaign for COVID-19 when he said to Chris Wallace on April 5, 2020, on Fox News Sunday, “It is fair to say things won’t go back to truly normal until we have a vaccine that we’ve gotten out to basically the entire world.” On April 17, 2020, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sent an open letter to Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, urging the FDA to ensure that vaccines for COVID-19 be developed ethically and free from any connection to the exploitation of abortion victims.


In this unprecedented time, I reached out to my friend, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy (assassinated in 1968) and nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy (assassinated in 1963), for answers to some of the questions raised regarding coronavirus and the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Kennedy is an environmental lawyer, the president of Waterkeeper Alliance, and the chairman of Children’s Health Defense. He has spent the past 15 years advocating for proper safety testing of vaccines. Robert has taken on the unenviable role of David fighting the pharmaceutical and big business Goliaths, including an enormous $2 billion victory against Bayer’s Monsanto and its popular weedkiller, RoundUp, for causing terminal Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in consumers. Much more than that, Robert is a devoted husband, a father of six children, a grandfather, and an Irish Catholic.

Perhaps providentially, my interview with Robert Kennedy, Jr. on Monday, May 4, preceded by the April 17 letter from the USCCB to the FDA, was followed by the release of a very important document on Thursday, May 7, in six languages: the “Appeal for the Church and the World to Catholics and All People of Good Will.”

The “Appeal,” primarily authored by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former papal nuncio to the U.S., was signed by more than 80 people, including prelates, theologians, journalists, doctors, lawyers, and associations. The American signatories include Dr. Robert Moynihan, editor-in-chief of this publication, as well as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

The three-page open letter contains a call to action for all Catholics, religious, and all people of goodwill, in view of radical measures being forced upon much of the world’s population: “The facts have shown that, under the pretext of the COVID-19 epidemic, the inalienable rights of citizens have, in many cases, been violated and their fundamental freedoms, including the exercise of freedom of worship, expression, and movement, have been disproportionately and unjustifiably restricted. Public health must not, and cannot, become an alibi for infringing on the rights of millions of people around the world, let alone for depriving the civil authority of its duty to act wisely for the common good.”

Regarding vaccines, the “Appeal” goes on to say, “We ask the scientific community to be vigilant so that cures for COVID-19 are offered in honesty for the common good. Every effort must be made to ensure that shady business interests do not influence the choices made by government leaders and international bodies. It is unreasonable to penalize those remedies that have proved to be effective, and are often inexpensive, just because one wishes to give priority to treatments or vaccines that are not as good, but which guarantee pharmaceutical companies far greater profits, and exacerbate public health expenditures. Let us also remember, as Pastors, that for Catholics it is morally unacceptable to develop or use vaccines derived from material from aborted fetuses.” 

The full text of the “Appeal to the Church and the World” can be found here

It has come to my attention since the release of the “Appeal” that some of the signatories, including Cardinal Gerhard Müller, have become the subject of attack in both the media and the Church, in order to silence them. They have been called names such as “conspiracy theorists” when they have questioned the programs and policies being rolled out internationally in response to COVID-19.

I asked Mr. Kennedy about his thoughts, given the call by the World Health Organization, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, and others for mass vaccinations, about vaccines “for the greater good” versus the health of the individual.

“None of the 72 vaccines now mandated for American children have ever been safety tested against a double-blind placebo”

Stefanie Stark: What are the moral implications of sacrificing a small number of individuals who we know will have severe adverse reactions, including death, to vaccines for the greater good of the community, the state, the country, the world?

Robert Kennedy, Jr., son of the late Robert Kennedy.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: That raises a number of ethical issues. Also, it raises a question: what do we know about vaccine safety and efficacy? That is a threshold question because vaccines are not safety tested, and people find that hard to believe, but unfortunately, it’s true. And that is an artifact of CDC’s (CDC stands for “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”) legacy of the public health service, which was originally a quasi-military agency. That is why CDC officials have military ranks such as “Surgeon General.”

The vaccine program was conceived as a national security defense against biological attacks on our country by the Russians or other Cold War enemies. The military objective was to be able to fabricate and deploy a vaccine very quickly to 200 million Americans without regulatory impediments. The regulators and generals understood that testing medicines for safety takes years, so they opted to call vaccines by a different name — “Biologics” — and exempt biologics from safety testing.

As a result of that decision, none of the 72 vaccines now mandated for American children have ever been safety tested against a double-blind placebo. Which means nobody knows the risk profile, and nobody can say with any certitude that the vaccine is averting more problems than it’s causing. That is why I say it’s a “threshold” issue because the ethical questions become much more clouded if we don’t even know if the vaccine is actually serving the greater good. 

The second part of the answer is, even if we believe that a vaccine averts more deaths than it causes, do we have a right to force healthy children to take a risky medicine against their will? And that question has already been answered in numerous treaties and universally accepted ethical statements like the Siracusa Principles, the Nuremberg Charter, and the United Nations Charter, which state that no government has a right to force citizens to take medicines against their will. One would assume that this would apply doubly to citizens who are otherwise completely healthy and at little risk for infection.

The problem is the slippery slope. If we begin telling doctors that they are no longer functioning to serve the individual patient but that their job is to protect society as a whole, we have opened the door to a lot of distasteful downstream results. For example, we know that 80% of our nation’s medical costs go to treat senior citizens during their last year of life. It could be argued, therefore, that letting those citizens simply die, or even killing them, would serve the greater good. China decided at some point that parents having more than one child was against the interests of the greater good and implemented a policy of forced abortions. Those are the scary places you end up once you start down that road. 

“If we begin telling doctors that they are no longer functioning to serve the individual patient but that their job is to protect society as a whole, we have opened the door to a lot of distasteful downstream results.”

According to the World Health Organization, there are 70 vaccines in development — three of which are in clinical trials. What do you think about the push for the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine? Is it okay to skip animal trials and go straight to human trials? Can those human volunteers truly have informed consent?

KENNEDY: No. What we know about coronavirus from 30 years of experience is that a coronavirus vaccine has a unique peculiarity, which is any attempted making of the vaccine has resulted in the creation of a class of antibodies that actually make vaccinated people sicker when they ultimately suffer exposure to the wild virus. Following the SARS epidemic that began in 2002, China launched a concerted effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine. They succeeded in developing 30 promising models, and they chose the four “best in class” to fabricate and then test on ferrets, the animal most analogous to human beings when it comes to upper respiratory infections.

The ferrets all developed admirable, robust, and durable antibody responses, and the scientists believed they had hit the jackpot. But then, when the animals suffered exposure to the wild virus, something frightening happened. The vaccinated animals sickened and died with body-wide inflammation. The vaccine had created a condition known as paradoxical inherent immune response, which amplified the injury caused by the illness rather than preventing it.

The scientists at that time recalled a similar occurrence from the 1960s where the NIH had conducted studies on a vaccine for RSV, an upper respiratory illness very similar to coronavirus. The 35 children in that study had developed a strong antibody response but had become terribly ill upon exposure to wild RSV. Two of the children died. Remembering this incident, the scientists in 2012 abandoned their efforts to create that vaccine. And that is why today you are hearing dire warnings from unexpected quarters — Paul Offit, Peter Hotez, Ian Lipkin, and even Anthony Fauci himself — who have all warned that a coronavirus vaccine may end up making people sicker from coronavirus rather than avoiding the disease.

The first COVID-19 vaccine trial began in mid-March. The potential vaccine is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in partnership with the pharmaceutical company Moderna, Inc. Please speak to the problems you see with DNA-altering vaccines, since some of the proposed vaccines, including Moderna’s, are using genetic engineering.

KENNEDY: MRNA vaccines function by altering DNA expression. There are many vaccines developed using aborted fetal tissue. And that also has health implications, because fetal tissue has been rendered carcinogenic. A lot of the fetal tissue they use in vaccines was taken from a 14-week-old child who in 1966 was forcibly aborted from a woman in a mental institution. There are DNA snippets from that child that are injected with the vaccines. And we have no idea what the implications are for sexuality when male DNA is injected into female babies, or for cancer when tumor cells are injected into healthy babies. These are frightening scientific and health implications, even putting the moral implications aside. There is a possibility that they are permanently altering the human genome with the mass vaccination of this child’s DNA.

I’m finally making my way around to the burning question about COVID-19: Is this a wild virus or a created virus?

KENNEDY: That is unclear. There is strong circumstantial evidence that the virus could be the product of not so much genetic engineering as accelerated evolution, and that is the mechanism that is used to create vaccines and bioweapons. There was a research program that was being used at the Wuhan lab, and we know this because they published many studies on it. It’s a way of creating “gain of function” organisms. In other words, created organisms that are very virulent and extremely transmissible. 

Your answer might strike some as controversial. Why would anybody do such research?

KENNEDY: The reason is, it’s a way of developing vaccines. So what they do is, they take a wild coronavirus and then they grow it on pangolin tissue. Then they’ll take it off of pangolin tissue. They take the colonies from the pangolin tissue and regrow those colonies on mouse brains. And they’ll take the colonies from mouse brains and they’ll regrow them on monkey vero kidney cells. And then finally, they will grow them on human lung tissue. It’s a way of teaching the virus to jump species. You’re training it.

When they do that, they will give that trained virus to rats that have been genetically engineered to have human DNA to see if they can make the rats sick from coronavirus. And when they prove they can make the rats sick, they then try to develop a vaccine to stop the spread of the thing. And it’s called “gain of function” research. Many doctors and scientists have criticized it as having little benefit historically, of adding little to the knowledge while taking huge risks.

Anthony Fauci has been a huge champion of gain of function. President Obama found out about it in 2014, that Fauci was doing this, and that they had released a number of viruses. Some 200 scientists signed a petition angrily denouncing these experiments. And Obama shut them down. But Fauci simply moved his operation to the Wuhan lab and started funding gain of function studies in Wuhan for the same purpose — to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

“Anthony Fauci has been a huge champion of gain of function. President Obama found out about it in 2014, that Fauci was doing this, and that they had released a number of viruses.”

President Trump, when he came into office, cut funding to the biosecurity agency inside the White House that was funding those studies. The funding ran out in Wuhan on September 30, 2019, and the scientists there were dismissed. One hypothesis is that those scientists may have accidentally or even deliberately released the virus because the spread of the virus could have given them job security. That actually is what happened with the Anthrax virus in 2001. All of the Anthrax attacks on the U.S. Congress, when traced back, were coming from the psychiatrist who was the head of the Anthrax program that had been defunded. He apparently committed suicide as the FBI closed in on him.


It is difficult to imagine that the entire world has come to a grinding halt because one lab in one city, Wuhan, China, may have accidentally or intentionally released a contagious virus. What of the unelected international leaders who see potential profit and power in this? What of the healthy children whose health may be permanently damaged by experimental vaccines in the name of the “greater good”? And what of the unborn babies upon whose remains vaccine manufacturers are building a vast new enterprise?

The purveyors of darkness in the world are many and growing. 

Perhaps the COVID crisis is the Lord’s way of awakening the Church to the powers and principalities that threaten us — the health of our bodies, the freedom of our souls.

It seems that we, the faithful, are being called to take up our own slingshots with the bravery of our forebear David, and stand against the Goliaths who believe our health and freedom are theirs to grasp.

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