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  #1  
Old 6th February 2012, 03:10 PM
Shane Shane is offline
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Default Co-operation

Ron,

In reading about formal and material co-operation, would the following case be considered material co-operation, or would it even be considered co-operation at all?

A church newsletter contains, as part of its fundraising, some advertisements of local business at the bottom of the page. One of these is a pharmacy in town which is known to dispense contraceptives. Is it moral for the parish to continue to display and approve of this advertisement?


Thanks.

Shane
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Old 6th February 2012, 03:47 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Shane View Post
A church newsletter contains, as part of its fundraising, some advertisements of local business at the bottom of the page. One of these is a pharmacy in town which is known to dispense contraceptives. Is it moral for the parish to continue to display and approve of this advertisement?

For an act to be formal cooperation, the intentionally chosen cooperative act must be inherently directed at assisting the intrinsically evil act of another person in attaining its moral object.

Accepting an ad from a pharmacy is not inherently directed at promoting or approving of contraception, unless the ad is specific to that sin. So the cooperation is not formal, but material.

A faithful Catholic may purchase moral goods from a store that also sells immoral items, such as contraceptives, abortifacients, and movies of questionable morality. The purchase of moral goods from that store is remote from the sins in question. The good consequences of being able to buy goods outweighs the bad consequence that the store continues to be in business and so continues to offer some immoral goods.

But if it were possible to compell a store to give up its immoral products by a boycott, then perhaps, in this different circumstance, there would be a moral obligation to refrain from buying or advertising.

When an act is formal cooperation, that cooperative act is intrinsically evil and always immoral. When an act is material cooperation, the cooperative act may or may not be moral, depending on the moral weight of the consequences.
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Old 1st August 2012, 07:10 PM
Shane Shane is offline
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Hi Ron,

I'm reading the chapter in your book (CCE) on co-operation once again and I would like to clarify some practical examples of formal and material co-operation.

For example, take the case of a person about to murder an innocent person. He plans it, but requires a weapon. He asks his friend to lend him a weapon (say, a knife or a firearm).

Now, if the friend is aware of his plans, and willingly lends him the weapon, that would be explicit formal co-operation, is that correct?

Alternatively, if the friend had no idea that the man was about to commit murder, and lent him an implement, resulting in the subsequent death of an innocent victim, would the friend's act be described as material co-operation? (In this case I doubt it would be formal as I understand the moral object of the friend's act of lending is to provide the man with what he needs, being unaware of the murder) In otherwords, is there what may be described as implicit formal co-operation?

Thanks.
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Old 1st August 2012, 08:59 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Shane View Post
For example, take the case of a person about to murder an innocent person. He plans it, but requires a weapon. He asks his friend to lend him a weapon (say, a knife or a firearm).

[1] Now, if the friend is aware of his plans, and willingly lends him the weapon, that would be explicit formal co-operation, is that correct?

[2] Alternatively, if the friend had no idea that the man was about to commit murder, and lent him an implement, resulting in the subsequent death of an innocent victim, would the friend's act be described as material co-operation? (In this case I doubt it would be formal as I understand the moral object of the friend's act of lending is to provide the man with what he needs, being unaware of the murder) In other words, is there what may be described as implicit formal co-operation?

Thanks.

In the first case, the cooperation is explicit, if the friend not only knows of the sin of the other person, but intends to assist in accomplishing that sin. The friend would then be intentionally cooperating with the act of murder by the other person. Intention is the first font, which is the basis for explicit cooperation.

Mere knowledge of the sinful plan of another person does not make the cooperative act explicit. For example, suppose a man votes for a politician who favors legalizing abortion in some limited cases. If the man intends to support abortion, it is explicit cooperation. If the man does not intend to support abortion, but intends to do the most good and the least harm with his vote, then it is not explicit cooperation. Voting for a person is generally not formal cooperation, since you are not voting on the issue directly. Voting for a person who is pro-abortion to some extent (as most pro-life politicians are), is not necessarily sinful; it may be remote material cooperation.

But, going back now to a consideration of your hypothetical, the act itself of the friend is inherently directed at assisting the act of the other person, since the weapon is needed to commit the intrinsically evil act. He gives him the weapon so that the act of murder can occur. This pertains to the moral object, and so the cooperative act is intrinsically evil. Hence, it is formal cooperation.

Formal cooperation can be implicit or explicit, depending on the intention of the person who commits the cooperative act. If he intends to cooperate, then it is explicit. If he cooperates but for a different reason (different intention), i.e. something other than the intention to assist the other person with his sin, then it is implicit.


In the second case, the friend does not intend to assist the other person in murder, since he has no knowledge. So it is not explicit cooperation. His chosen act of lending a weapon is not formal cooperation because intrinsically evil acts (e.g. an act of formal cooperation) are always deliberately and knowingly chosen.

For example, if a person asserts a falsehood, believing that it is true, he does not commit the sin of lying. His assertion is not even a lie or a sin objectively, because intrinsically evil acts are always deliberately chosen.

Since the friend in the second case had no knowledge, he committed no sin, not even the sin of material cooperation. However, objectively, his act is related to the sin of the other person, since his weapon was used to commit the crime/sin. So we might say that his act is objectively material cooperation.
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