Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil


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Petri and Fr. Gresko, however, found Gibson's use of these categories to be flawed and inaccurate. But, as the Dominican pointed out, no Catholic employer is currently in that hypothetical future situation. Rather, Fr.

Religious Liberty and Participation in Evil

Petri noted, employers are now in the predicament of being forced to agree, knowingly, that such agreements will be made in the future as part of their contracts with insurers. By confusing the two situations, Gibson drew attention away from the question actually facing the Church — which is not about whether to make contracts under which contraception could be provided; but rather, about whether to accept being forced to make such contracts in the future.

Catholic Health Care Ought to Offer Abortion Referrals, Guttmacher Study Says

This confusion, Fr. Petri explained, could cause readers to confuse two significantly different questions: on the one hand, whether the mandate could be followed if imposed; and on the other hand, whether its imposition should be accepted in the first place.

How to survive a secular workplace

But even the question Gibson focuses on — in his attempt to say Catholic organizations could follow the mandate in good conscience — is murkier than he would have readers believe, according to Fr. Petri responded that Gibson had applied this distinction wrongly, by defining it incorrectly in the first place. You're not allowed to 'immediately' cooperate with evil.

Petri said of the HHS mandate. Gresko, in his response to Gibson, stressed the Church's duty to reject the revised contraception mandate just as it did the first version — since both force believers to underwrite practices they oppose. Gresko stressed the Church's obligation to stand not only for its own freedom, but also for the truth about human sexuality. Accounts of opposition to Catholic hospital directives ran the gamut from secretly providing contraceptives and contraceptive counseling to booking appointments for their patients at abortion clinics.

The authors of the study conclude that, because some Catholic hospitals and obstetrician-gynecologists oppose providing referrals for abortion and contraception, Catholic health care entities should require health care providers to give referrals for these services. This, the authors argued, was a more than sufficient justification for overriding the religious liberty rights of OBGYNs and Catholic health care facilities.

The Guttmacher published study went on to lament that women found it more difficult to obtain an abortion at a Catholic hospital than at non-Catholic facilities. The study was funded in-part by the radically pro-abortion David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

For Catholics, abortion is a violation of the Fifth Commandment. Few actions are commensurate in gravity to either providing for, or facilitating, the termination of the life of an unborn child. For Catholics, abortion is an intrinsically evil act—its willful commission is never permitted under any circumstances.

Providing a referral for an abortion necessarily constitutes formal cooperation with an intrinsic evil—a degree of cooperation that is never morally licit in Catholic teaching. What does it mean to say that providing an abortion referral constitutes formal cooperation with an intrinsically evil act? Formal cooperation occurs when someone participates in an activity with the intention that the morally illicit act in this case, the abortion will occur. Formal cooperation can be either explicit when the wrong is willfully intended or implicit if the wrong is not intended but the action itself is so closely linked to the wrong that there can be no morally licit reason for doing it.

If the wrong is not intended it is called material cooperation.


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Material cooperation may or may not be morally licit depending on how far removed the action is from the wrongdoing. But if the act i. In the case of an abortion referral, the act of referring is inseparably linked to the abortion procedure because the referral can only serve to facilitate access to abortion. An abortion referral has no purpose but to lead to abortion. So even if a doctor does not intend that an abortion will result from a referral, the act of referring is so closely linked to it that it cannot be anything other than facilitating the abortion.

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Abortion that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus is never permitted…Catholic health care institutions are not to provide abortion services, even based upon the principle of material cooperation. In this context, Catholic health care institutions need to be concerned about the danger of scandal in any association with abortion providers.

Protecting the right to life and the dignity of every human being is by no means a uniquely religious or Catholic perspective. Rather, the right to life is a basic axiom of human existence.

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Nonetheless, for Catholics, abortion is a grave evil that is never permissible. Forcing Catholic doctors and hospitals to provide referrals for abortions and contraceptive services is a clear violation of the fundamental right to religious liberty. Denigration of the Catholic Church on account of its stance in defense of the unborn and other vulnerable members of society is all too commonplace these days.


  1. Vogel Brothers; 91-2557 03/12/93;
  2. Formal vs. Material.
  3. No Cooperation with Evil - The Catholic Thing.

Most states, even most states with loose abortion restrictions, provide, as a matter of public policy, safeguards for conscientious objection rights when it comes to providing abortion services. A few states , however, including Alabama, Colorado, New Hampshire, Vermont, and West Virginia still lack urgently needed laws to protect conscience rights for health care workers who oppose providing abortion services on moral or religious grounds.

Moral theologians reject Catholic writer's defense of HHS mandate

Abortion advocates have long called for the repeal of public policies that protect healthcare workers from being forced to participate in providing abortion services. The right to life for every person is tantamount and should be protected unconditionally. Physicians must not ignore the right to life of the unborn when providing care. No government or organ of society should be able to force doctors or health care institutions to participate in providing abortion or contraception, particularly when doing so violates deeply held moral convictions or religious beliefs.

Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil
Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil
Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil
Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil
Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil
Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil
Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil Roman Catholic Teaching on Cooperation with Evil

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