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Contraception Mandate and Formal Cooperation


ANN SCHNEIBLE

Source:
Zenit.org
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
3/16/2012

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ABSTRACTZENIT - Contraception Mandate and Formal Cooperation Indexed Archive | Advanced Search | The World Seen From Rome Zenit? All about Zenit Testimonies Services Conditions of use How is Zenit financed Prizes and Recognitions Faqs Identity and Organization Technical Problems Receive zenit Subscribe by Email Unsubscribe Gift-Subscriptions Zenit in RSS Zenit on your Web Conditions of use Problems receiving Zenit Support zenit Send a donation How is Zenit financed Legal Status Participate Help Zenit Spread Zenit Give the gift of Zenit Recommend Zenit Contact us FAQ Identity and Organization Technical Problems Advertising Contact us English > See information Why I support ZENIT... SEND DONATION ZE12031601 - 2012-03-16 Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-34467?l=english Contraception Mandate and Formal Cooperation Christendom College Theology Professor Explains Moral Implications for Catholics By Ann Schneible WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 16, 2012 ( Zenit.org ).- Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities throughout the United States are facing the possibility of being forced, by law, to violate Church teaching under the Obama administration's Health and Human Services Mandate. Under the HHS Mandate, most Catholic institutions will be required to pay for abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilization in their employees’ health insurance plans. William H. Marshner is professor of theology at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia. He recently spoke with ZENIT about the moral implications that the mandate could impose upon American Catholics. ZENIT: To start off with, why is contraception morally prohibited by the Catholic Church, and why is it immoral for us to pay for others who wish to use it? Marshner: We can't justly be forced to pay for it because that means that we're cooperating with it. So the question is, why is the act immoral? I mean, if it weren't immoral, we'd be okay to cooperate with it formally or otherwise.  Why is it an immoral act? Because it is a willful violation of a key part of a woman's health, and a man's health. Fertility is part of health. Pregnancy's a healthy development. You cannot call contraceptive practice a medical service; it's not aimed at a medical problem. There's a fundamental dishonesty about performing acts per se act for the procreation of children, and then covertly doing something to undermine those acts so that they can't have that effect. It's as though I said, let's go off and play golf. I bet I can beat you. And unbeknownst to you, I have gone around and filled up the little holes so your ball can't go in. This is a dishonest golf-game.  It's also similar to saying, well, I'm going to play poker but I'm not going to lose any money.  How am I going to ensure that? Ace up the sleeve. A contraceptive is like an ace up the sleeve.  I'm going to play, but pregnancy's not going to happen.  Why?  I've got an ace up my sleeve. It's an internal chemical thing, or it's an IUD, or whatever it is.  But contraception is a falsification of an act which ought to be a marital act. ZENIT: Regarding the HHS mandate, a great deal has been said about religious freedom. Is the immorality of contraception being adequately addressed in these discussions? Marshner: No, quite frankly, because I have yet to hear a clear public discussion of the issue of formal cooperation. Granted, a Catholic organization that insures itself, buys an insurance policy that provides coverage for contraceptive "services" is not itself engaging in a contraceptive act. The question is whether the institutions' cooperation with those who would use that coverage to perform such acts is formal cooperation. Formal cooperation is distinguished from merely material cooperation, and the basic nub of the distinction is this: material cooperation does not involve your sharing, in any way, the intention of the person who does wrong, whereas formal cooperation arises when you do share in that intention. I would say that if an insurer provides coverage to pay for a drug, device, or procedure intended to be used to render infertile the sexual acts that the user intends to perform, then the insurers' cooperation with that immoral act is formal. It you pay for a person to have x, you intend the person to use x. And if x is described as a contraceptive, you intend it to be used as such; if you pay for it as such, you intend it to be used as such. Moreover, the government has removed any ability for insurers to say that they don't have this intention, because the US Federal government is now mandating… insurers to provide coverage for everyone under the description "contraceptive services." At the moment, only houses of worship are exempt – that would be parishes. But any Catholic hospital, school, or charity would come under this mandate. Now, many Catholic hospitals, schools and charities are self-insured. In other words, they don't go out to an outside insurance p.......