How far must one go?


To the Editor:

In Father Ken Doyle’s column of Nov. 15 a reader asked an excellent question: “How far must one go in pro-life issues to be a good Catholic?” The case in point involved the morality of contributing to Doctors Without Borders, an organization that provides desperately needed medical care to the most vulnerable, war-torn and famine-stricken areas — places that most of us would never think of entering. The sore point is that the organization admitted to performing abortions.

I respect Fr. Doyle but have some problems with his response. He said that donating to this organization would be cooperating with evil, which should be avoided in all circumstances.

None of us wish to cooperate with evil. But think of the ramifications of this position. If your doctor performs an abortion to save a woman’s life, do you cooperate with evil by retaining him as your physician? In an election, if one candidate condemns abortion but violates every other Christian value, do I sin by voting for his pro-abortion rights opponent? In taxation, how responsible am I for tax dollars that filter down to activities that violate Catholic teaching? Must I not pay taxes to avoid cooperation with evil? Must I investigate every firm I invest in, question every charity I contribute to and boycott every speaker who is not 100 percent supportive of church teaching?


The Catholic Church teaches that in applying just war theory, “the person who is sincerely trying to form his conscience must judge whether or not the end achieved by a particular war or all-out war is proportionate … to the devastation wrought by that war.” (

Why can’t this concept be applied to other areas of moral life?

Think about it. Are we cooperating with evil? We may be doing a lot more of it than we realize.

Richard O’Neill
Rock Island, Ill.

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