Monday, August 04, 2003

I was reading from Bishop Gregory's comments about the CDF document against Homosexual unions. He notes that it is "formal cooperation" if a Catholic legislator legislates in favor of such unions.

Formal cooperation is when one's intentions converge with the intention of another person who is performing an intrinsically evil act. For instance, a nurse assisting in a direct abortion is formal coorperating with the act and is culpable. Informal cooperation is when one performs an action that is abused by another. An example is if a cab driver drives a thief to the bank. The driver cooperated because his direct action got the evil doer to the bank. But the cooperation is informal because it was not his intention to drive this guy or gal to the bank to rob the bank.

So by calling legislative actions in favor of homosexual unions "formal cooperation" the stakes are being raised considerably. Homosexual unions are being labelled as intrinsically evil. This means that no amount of good intentions can make these unions good. What if they decided to life chaste lives? The fact that it is intrinsically evil makes the chastity irrelevant.

One issue here that the US Catholic Church needs to spell out is the relationship between the Church and the Legislative arm of society. How does a Catholic politician not become a mouthpiece for the Church? This is precisely what the anti-Catholicism of decades ago, in JFK's time was all about. There was always the fear that the Vatican would insert itself into national politics by imposing moral mandates on the consciences of Catholic legislators.

This document on homosexuality was, quite frankly, tactless. They should have taken a page from what the Pope did in Evangelium Vitae, where he introduced powerful ideas and phrases into the Catholic general lexicon and these ideas then found their way into the political discourse. That's the way to influence Catholic legislators not by commanding them on how to vote.


Post a Comment

<< Home