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  #1  
Old Jun 15, '12, 2:47 pm
Wulfgar Wulfgar is offline
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Join Date: January 24, 2012
Posts: 75
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Boycotts and remote material cooperation

I know this particular topic has been discussed dozens of times on the forums, but it has been bugging me for at least a year and I really, really need a definitive, official answer (Be warned, this is going to be a long post, reflective of the inordinate amount of pondering I have done). I understand that there are numerous types of sins regarding cooperation: formal, proximate material, and remote material. In brief: is it gravely sinful, venially sinful, or not sinful at all to purchase from a company that gives/has given some of its profit to Planned Parenthood, gay "marriage" activism, or anything else that is gravely contrary to Catholic teaching?

DISCLAIMER: I am not trying to make a mockery of this, if my post begins to seem ridiculous. I am trying to take everything into account.

From reading countless posts and talking to several people face-to-face on this issue, I can guess that Catholics are pretty evenly divided on this question. Statistics aside, though, I need to know the real answer. My personal opinion has been (for the most part) that it's not a grave sin, but should be avoided and not obsessed over. I also thought, however, that no matter what you buy, your money WILL eventually go towards an objectionable cause if you take into account the global economy. That is inescapable. Then I thought: what is the difference between purchasing from such companies that donate to objectionable causes, vs making a purchase of, say, 10 degrees of separation from said cause, as long as you are purchasing morally good/neutral products or services, your end goal is not to fund said cause, you are in remote material cooperation, and what you are doing outweighs the bad done (with regards to abortion, however, one can make the argument that the death of an innocent trumps the vast majority of literally every single purchase we make; for instance, suffering from daily epileptic seizures because you don't have your anticonvulsants [which, say, come from an abortion-supporting company] is not as bad as being killed in the womb)? If you haven't already noticed, I am applying dual effect, which I heard applies to remote material cooperation, and the former two types are always immoral.

Another issue: if the fourth point merely was a "grave need" rather than something that trumps the bad outcome, does this mean that we are no longer allowed to purchase anything we don't gravely need? No more eating out (all restaurants have soda; Pepsi and Coca-cola donate to PP), no books, no movies, no graduate school (out of all vocations, a family man/woman needs the most money [to support said family, of course], so shouldn't a bachelor's degree cut it? Maybe even a high school diploma? Undoubtedly, your tuition will eventually end up with someone buying Windows. Microsoft supports PP), no clothes (technically we can make our own, if you think about it), no grocery stores (all of them sell, for instance, Kraft products, which are on the boycott list; and technically, we COULD live off the land), and no form of morally good/neutral entertainment or amusements whatsoever that require monetary payment? No matter where you put your money, it will undoubtedly go to, for instance, some office building in which the workers use Microsoft. And if you think this paragraph is just sly rhetoric to get you to say that it's alright to buy from such companies, it's not; I am just trying to illustrate potential consequences.

Taking this all into account, it seems that from a purely legalistic standpoint, the only solution is for us to break off from society and form a sovereign nation with absolutely no trade agreements with any other country. However, I heard that a major point in Christian teaching is that one must live in the world but not be OF the world, if you get the message. Is it possible to live in society without spending any money (aside from paying taxes; our Lord did tell us to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Perhaps only your government, your workers [if you run a business], and those to whom you are indebted fall under the category "Caesar", and not corporations, since boycotts are not immoral and businesses generally don't specifically require your patronage?)

I know this all probably sounds ridiculous, but I am trying to work out solutions based off of what I have come across. I am not mocking boycotts; in fact, I believe it is quite noble that some people can manage to avoid countless corporations in their spending. Then again, taking into account everything else I have said, I must ask: is it really MANDATORY? I am not trying to get away with the bare minimum, mind you; I just need to know the baseline rules so I am not freaking out the next time I buy a candy bar or a morally good/neutral book. I am afraid I will continue to get nothing but personal opinions and guilt trips, for that is all I seem to be coming across (with the exception of reading about remote material cooperation; but as I have shown, something in this particular scenario seems quite wrong [i.e., not buying ANYTHING]). Please, if you can, provide a definitive answer. Church teaching, official documents; anything that is TRUE will help. This has been haunting me for a long time, and I desperately need a real solution. I am willing to make some sacrifices, but I don't think I am willing to lose my sanity over this (or become intemperate in any boycotts, for that matter; true moderation in all things, even such things as prayer, is virtuous and obligatory, so I have learned). Thank you very much for your time, if you have managed to muster the patience to read all of this .
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  #2  
Old Jun 15, '12, 4:03 pm
1ke 1ke is offline
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Join Date: May 25, 2004
Posts: 24,629
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Boycotts and remote material cooperation

No, boycotting is not mandatory.

I have participated in boycotts in the past. But when I do, I boycott a specific company for a specific reason and I let them know why by writing to them. The purpose of the boycott is to change business practices and corporate giving. So, if you decide to boycott a particular company, write to their board of directors and their CEO and tell them why.
__________________
Pax, ke

ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
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  #3  
Old Jun 15, '12, 5:41 pm
Cath4life Cath4life is offline
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Join Date: July 13, 2008
Posts: 144
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: Boycotts and remote material cooperation

I boycott as many companies as I can. I also agree with the previous post that we should be boycotting and sending letters/emails as to why we are boycotting. It does seem overwhelming sometimes, but if there are alternatives why not?? "Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, sins." (James 4:17). For instance, instead of home depot, I use Loews. Instead of Staples, I go to Office Depot. Instead of Target and Jcpenney (both are promoting the radical homosexual agenda), I now stick to Walmart. I don't think Walmart is great with all the worker issues, but I feel better than shopping at the other places. Instead of Starbucks, use Dunkin Donuts. Instead of Whole Foods, I go to the local nutrition stores. I usually carry my little boycott checkbook from LDI (www.fightpp.org) and it is very handy when going out shopping,eating out etc. My advice is to boycott to the best of your budget/resources/abilities. It is better than ignoring what is TRULY going on. The culture of death needs to be fought in many ways including prayer and ACTION.
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  #4  
Old Jun 15, '12, 5:47 pm
tabycat's Avatar
tabycat tabycat is offline
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Join Date: May 21, 2012
Posts: 2,852
Religion: catholic
Question Re: Boycotts and remote material cooperation

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ke View Post
No, boycotting is not mandatory.

I have participated in boycotts in the past. But when I do, I boycott a specific company for a specific reason and I let them know why by writing to them. The purpose of the boycott is to change business practices and corporate giving. So, if you decide to boycott a particular company, write to their board of directors and their CEO and tell them why.

The only thing I can add (for a person doing this for the first time) is before you write the company this is something you had to make a choice, not something you would have done any ways.
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  #5  
Old Jun 15, '12, 8:36 pm
Wulfgar Wulfgar is offline
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Join Date: January 24, 2012
Posts: 75
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: Boycotts and remote material cooperation

So far, again, we seem to have different opinions as to what our obligations are. The first after mine said there isn't a strict obligation but it's still good to boycott; the second implied that it is indeed sinful (venial vs. grave debatable) NOT to do so. I am NOT bashing or mocking your posts; I am honestly glad that there are people out there who are trying to help me out in this. Yet, I really need to know not only WHAT the "official" obligation is but WHY it is so, as there seems to be diverse views on this topic, even between loyal Catholics.
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  #6  
Old Jun 15, '12, 8:40 pm
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Join Date: May 26, 2007
Posts: 20,269
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Boycotts and remote material cooperation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wulfgar View Post
I know this particular topic has been discussed dozens of times on the forums, but it has been bugging me for at least a year and I really, really need a definitive, official answer (Be warned, this is going to be a long post, reflective of the inordinate amount of pondering I have done). I understand that there are numerous types of sins regarding cooperation: formal, proximate material, and remote material. In brief: is it gravely sinful, venially sinful, or not sinful at all to purchase from a company that gives/has given some of its profit to Planned Parenthood, gay "marriage" activism, or anything else that is gravely contrary to Catholic teaching?

DISCLAIMER: I am not trying to make a mockery of this, if my post begins to seem ridiculous. I am trying to take everything into account.

From reading countless posts and talking to several people face-to-face on this issue, I can guess that Catholics are pretty evenly divided on this question. Statistics aside, though, I need to know the real answer. My personal opinion has been (for the most part) that it's not a grave sin, but should be avoided and not obsessed over. I also thought, however, that no matter what you buy, your money WILL eventually go towards an objectionable cause if you take into account the global economy. That is inescapable. Then I thought: what is the difference between purchasing from such companies that donate to objectionable causes, vs making a purchase of, say, 10 degrees of separation from said cause, as long as you are purchasing morally good/neutral products or services, your end goal is not to fund said cause, you are in remote material cooperation, and what you are doing outweighs the bad done (with regards to abortion, however, one can make the argument that the death of an innocent trumps the vast majority of literally every single purchase we make; for instance, suffering from daily epileptic seizures because you don't have your anticonvulsants [which, say, come from an abortion-supporting company] is not as bad as being killed in the womb)? If you haven't already noticed, I am applying dual effect, which I heard applies to remote material cooperation, and the former two types are always immoral.

Another issue: if the fourth point merely was a "grave need" rather than something that trumps the bad outcome, does this mean that we are no longer allowed to purchase anything we don't gravely need? No more eating out (all restaurants have soda; Pepsi and Coca-cola donate to PP), no books, no movies, no graduate school (out of all vocations, a family man/woman needs the most money [to support said family, of course], so shouldn't a bachelor's degree cut it? Maybe even a high school diploma? Undoubtedly, your tuition will eventually end up with someone buying Windows. Microsoft supports PP), no clothes (technically we can make our own, if you think about it), no grocery stores (all of them sell, for instance, Kraft products, which are on the boycott list; and technically, we COULD live off the land), and no form of morally good/neutral entertainment or amusements whatsoever that require monetary payment? No matter where you put your money, it will undoubtedly go to, for instance, some office building in which the workers use Microsoft. And if you think this paragraph is just sly rhetoric to get you to say that it's alright to buy from such companies, it's not; I am just trying to illustrate potential consequences.

Taking this all into account, it seems that from a purely legalistic standpoint, the only solution is for us to break off from society and form a sovereign nation with absolutely no trade agreements with any other country. However, I heard that a major point in Christian teaching is that one must live in the world but not be OF the world, if you get the message. Is it possible to live in society without spending any money (aside from paying taxes; our Lord did tell us to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Perhaps only your government, your workers [if you run a business], and those to whom you are indebted fall under the category "Caesar", and not corporations, since boycotts are not immoral and businesses generally don't specifically require your patronage?)

I know this all probably sounds ridiculous, but I am trying to work out solutions based off of what I have come across. I am not mocking boycotts; in fact, I believe it is quite noble that some people can manage to avoid countless corporations in their spending. Then again, taking into account everything else I have said, I must ask: is it really MANDATORY? I am not trying to get away with the bare minimum, mind you; I just need to know the baseline rules so I am not freaking out the next time I buy a candy bar or a morally good/neutral book. I am afraid I will continue to get nothing but personal opinions and guilt trips, for that is all I seem to be coming across (with the exception of reading about remote material cooperation; but as I have shown, something in this particular scenario seems quite wrong [i.e., not buying ANYTHING]). Please, if you can, provide a definitive answer. Church teaching, official documents; anything that is TRUE will help. This has been haunting me for a long time, and I desperately need a real solution. I am willing to make some sacrifices, but I don't think I am willing to lose my sanity over this (or become intemperate in any boycotts, for that matter; true moderation in all things, even such things as prayer, is virtuous and obligatory, so I have learned). Thank you very much for your time, if you have managed to muster the patience to read all of this .


Never take the most extreme position. Please talk with your priest or Bishop. Do not rely upon anonymous internet opinions - talk to a real person.

Of course you can't not buy anything.






Peace,
Ed
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