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Moral Theology Lesson for the Day

  /   Thursday September 05, 2002  

I may not be a theologian, but I won’t let it stop me. Since I blogged the appeal to support the law to protect pharmacists from being forced to dispense abortifacient drugs, I thought I’d post a couple of reflections.

First, in some of the articles I’ve read concerning conscience clauses for pharmacists, a question has been raised. It goes like this: What if you are the only person available to “provide the service” (to dispense abortifacient medication)? The thinking of many of these people is that a pharmacist who objects to abortion should be obliged to “provide the service” because otherwise the patient’s “rights” would be violated. However, Catholic moral teaching would actually state that the pharmacist would have a greater obligation not to dispense the medication. The reason for this is that the pharmacist’s cooperation would become necessary to the performance of an objectively evil action.

The second reflection may seem to make the first one a moot point if you haven’t been reading pharmacy “ethics” literature (most of which is stinky relativism, hence the quotes). In fact, the only reason that I brought up the second point was due to literature I had read. Pope John Paul II stated in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that formal cooperation in an abortion is never morally acceptable, even under the guise of “I don’t impose my values on others.” See the quote from article 74 of the encyclical below:

In order to shed light on this difficult question, it is necessary to recall the general principles concerning cooperation in evil actions. Christians, like all people of good will, are called upon under grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it. Each individual in fact has moral responsibility for the acts which he personally performs; no one can be exempted from this responsibility, and on the basis of it everyone will be judged by God himself (cf. Rom 2:6; 14:12).

This is pretty powerful stuff from the Holy Father. It speaks of truth in an age of moral relativism. It is my hope and prayer that more people will follow suit.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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