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“Ask a Priest: Is It OK to Work for a Firm That Pays for Out-of-State Abortions?”
Q: I was recently rehired at a company which I was so excited about! Our growing family needs all the financial support that my husband and I can give. I had a wonderful experience working for this company during 2016-2017. My first day back at the company was a few days ago, when our store manager goes through the mission statement of the company, health benefits and even childcare. I learned in that moment that a new addition of employee support was in the form of helping our fellow partners (financially) for sex-change healthcare. Not only that, but they are making it very clear that if you reside and work in a state that has strict abortion laws, the company will actually give you the financial support to travel to a state where abortion is “perfectly” legal. Needless to say, that as a Catholic mother of two, this left a saddened feeling and a bad taste in my mouth. I need guidance, knowing full well that this job is going to be the reason I will be able to continue supporting and caring for our 1-year-old son. I haven’t been in an ethical or moral dilemma like this before, and I would greatly appreciate any advice to help settle my mind and heart. – A.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: Your basic question involves cooperation in evil.
There can be material cooperation and there can be formal cooperation.
Formal cooperation is when we intentionally support an evil, such as abortion. This support could be public and high profile, or it could be private and quiet. By its nature formal cooperation is sinful.
Material cooperation in evil is harder to avoid. In fact, it’s almost impossible to evade.
The fact that you and I are communicating through computers and the Internet means that we are probably using devices or software made by companies that somewhere, somehow, support bad causes.
Material cooperation is acceptable if our intention is not to support evil, and if our contribution is so small as to have practically no effect on a company’s decision. The best we can do is to distance ourselves from evil as much as possible, to seek better alternatives if possible, and to work to promote the common good.
There are also levels within material cooperation; some are proximate (or close), some are remote. Drawing a sharp line between the two is not always easy.
Here you would need to consider your employer in general. It is known as a company that supports causes that we Catholics find objectionable.
First, you would need to ask whether your very presence in the store would be interpreted as your support for evil causes. Would your employment at this company scandalize others who perceive you to be a “good Catholic”?
Second, you might ask whether you have voiced your opposition to the company mission statement.
You might or might not be able to persuade the company to change its policies. That, too, is something you want to consider.
This is worth taking to prayer. Count on my prayers.
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