14 February 2012

A Moral Theologian (and I Mean One Who is Actually Catholic) on the "Great (non) Accommodation"

If you read this blog at all regularly, you know I admire the work of La Salette Father Edward Richard.  Formerly a professor of Moral Theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, he now pastors a parish in his native Louisiana, and thankfully for us internet surfers, has more time to devote to his excellent blog, Catholic Morality.

Enough praise.  Consider this a standing invitation to assume control of Saint Louis Catholic whenever he wants, but that is beside the point.

Like many other concerned Catholics, when Il Duce came out with his "Great Accommodation" I wanted to consider carefully (since I am not the head of Catholic Charities or a leftist nun) whether this accommodation cured the moral problems with the prior mandate.  Father Richard does the heavy lifting below:

We are going to hear all sorts of attempts to accommodate the President's Mandate "accommodation" within Catholic ranks.  The chiefs of Catholic Charities and the Catholic Health Association were obviously given the advance notice they needed to be ready to give the President the shout out on this. There will be many more. They will all make their comments based upon convoluted, moralistic platitudes about the good of providing universal access to health care which, they say, trumps participation in moral evil.  These positions will be mortally flawed.  Will they be corrected?  I would hope so.

Willing cooperation in grave evil in order to secure a benefit for oneself makes the person who cooperates equally guilty of the grave evil.  What is the goal, exactly, of agreeing with the President on this?  Is it because those who go along with the President's mandate want people to have access to these so-called preventive services?  If so, the cooperation in the program of contraception, sterilization, and chemical abortions is immoral and gravely sinful.  Is it because they want to maintain government funding and the ability to "serve" the general public?  The cooperation is still gravely sinful.

In fact, it is quite clear that these agencies and their affiliated institutions cannot cooperate in this plan to provide abortion, sterilization, or contraceptives.  Indeed, this plan of the President's is morally evil, in itself.  It is what moral theology and Catholic doctrine refer to as "intrinsic evil."  Yes, that's right.  The plan itself, not just the acts of abortion, contraception and sterilization, is intrinsically evil.

Please see the following Doctrinal Statement issued by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith on March 13, 1975.  (SLC Note:  you may read it at the linked post here).  It was called "Quecumque sterilizatio." Some will argue that this doctrinal statement does not apply because we are talking about health insurance plans and not the health care institution as the statement does.  I say, however, that this is a distinction without a difference.  As a matter of fact, on the basis of principles espoused in the document itself, one must conclude that providing the approval of a plan for such gravely immoral actions across a wide array of institutions and circumstances is itself a greater evil than a plan which consents to the evil in one single institution. 

I will post later on the abortion drug issue. 

For convenience sake, I have highlighted some of the more pertinent elements of the CDF's statement.  (SLC Note:  click the link below and scroll down to read).

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