Mercy Hospital’s scandal and material cooperation with abortion

In a previous article, I explained why Catholic hospitals should never fail to defend life which served as a basic guide suitable for addressing any aspect of Catholic healthcare. Abortion was particularly mentioned, as was Mercy Regional Medical Center’s failure to defend life. This article will deal more specifically with Mercy Hospital’s mediate material cooperation with abortion and participation in scandal which Live Action President Lila Rose will be addressing at the Mercy Protest.Human hands

Mercy Hospital engages in both ‘mediate material cooperation‘ of abortion and  ‘scandal‘ by granting privileges to abortionist Richard Grossman. Grossman is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Colorado babies in his capacity as an abortionist for Planned Parenthood. Scandal is present because Grossman engages in public attacks on the Catholic Church and core life teachings while receiving material support from Mercy Hospital.

Before we can engage in a discussion of some important, specific details in this case, it is vital to point out the basic principle of religious freedom which too many seem to have forgotten. Some critics of the Mercy Protest claim that the Catholic Church is bound to ignore basic teachings on human life in order to be in submission to American law, specifically Roe v. Wade. The Catholic Church is not forced to explicitly, formally or materially cooperate in fundamentally illegitimate activity, whether or not it happens to be “legal”, least of all something so contrary to Catholic teaching as the murder of  unborn children. To the contrary, all religious groups are free to provide healthcare completely apart from the abortion industry or any other industry.  Further, the Roe decision is illegitimate, in and of itself, and should be overturned. If Roe, or any law, were to force any church, Catholic or otherwise, to explicitly, formally or materially cooperate in abortion, this would be all the more reason to overturn it because it would be a violation of the principle of religious freedom.

What is “material cooperation”?

To my knowledge, Mercy Hospital is not engaged in explicit or formal cooperation in abortion, but these are not what will be addressed at the Mercy Protest. At issue is the hospital’s material cooperation in abortion. More specifically, the hospital engages in “mediate material cooperation” by granting privileges to abortionist Robert Grossman.

Mediate material co-operation is concurring in the wrong action of another, but not in such a way that one actually performs the act with the other or agrees with the evil intention of the other. While doing something that is in itself good or indifferent, a person rather gives an occasion to another’s sin, or contributes something by way of assistance.

Even if Mercy Hospital in no way “performs” abortion, and even if Mercy Hospital does not “agree” with Grossman’s killing of thousands of unborn children, the institution is “contributing” to him in that he has been granted privileges. Saul held the cloaks of those who stoned St. Stephen. Mercy Hospital arguably goes further than Saul in providing material resources to Grossman despite his activities as an abortionist and as an activist who publicly attacks the Catholic Church.

What is “scandal”?

“Scandal” is a complete disregard for the souls of others.

Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.” This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

Grossman is certainly a “manipulator of public opinion who turns it away from moral values”. This is clear from his writings.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, material cooperation is never allowed. Scandal, which can occur in many contexts, is offered as a danger that can occur in the context of material cooperation in abortion. Both of these are forbidden and both are occurring at Mercy Hospital.

Catholic health care institutions are not to provide abortion services, even based upon the principle of material cooperation. In this context, Catholic health care institutions need to be concerned about the danger of scandal in any association with abortion providers.

There is nothing unclear about what is happening at Mercy Hospital. All people of good will should be aware that the Mercy Protest is a defense not only of the right to life, but also of religious freedom. If we accept, as some are claiming, that religious groups should be forced by our government to provide material cooperation in abortion, even to the point of scandal, there is no end to the mischief such a government would impose on the people.

Please sign the petition in support of the Mercy Protest here.

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