Is it ok to receive communion after donating to an anti-life group?

I have been speaking with a friend of mine about the American Cancer Society and their funding of embryonic stem cell research. During our Lenten fish frys our parishes Relay for Life Team has set up shop selling Easter Baskets and other knick knacks. One of the women from the team approached our table and asked if we would be interested in making a donation for a raffle for Relay for Life. I handed the woman a brochure that I printed from the Coalition for Moral Cancer Research’s website. The woman then stated that she did not agree with everything within the brochure. I asked her how she could not agree that embryonic stem cell research is the act of killing babies just the same as an abortion.
Anyway, the woman then turned to my friend and asked if he would like to make a donation. My friend then handed her a five dollar bill while smirking at me from across the table.
Sunday rolls around and I see my friend present himself for communion.
My questions are…is it right for one to present themselves for communion if they have actively engaged in funding of anti-life groups? Is knowingly donating to an anti-life group that funds the destruction of human embryos not the same as helping with an abortion? Why do so many parishes across this nation allow the American Cancer Society to infiltrate with the oxymoronic title of “Relay for Life”?
To read more about the American Cancer Society’s funding of embryonic stem cell research please visit the following sites: click the Funding button on the left hand side of the screen,

Yes, it was objectively wrong to give money to an immoral cause and probably doubly so when done purposely to goad you.

Regarding going up to receive the Eucharist-- try not to make judgments. Confession is available, and perhaps he/she made a confession.

You can try to engage this person in a discussion regarding stem cell research, and certainly ask your pastor to discontinue any assocation with the organization that does this research. But, it’s not your place to tell someone they should or should not go up to receive communion. You can help form their conscience, though.

Take this information to the priest. I see more of a problem that Relay for Life was able to set up at church. Maybe the priest doesn’t know this information.

That’s where I would start.

I can’t believe your friend smirked at you as he gave her money… what’s up with that? Your friend must be at the cafeteria, huh?

Several years ago when I was in college, I was confronted with a similar issue involving donations to the Alzheimer’s Association. Part of their donations went to funding ESCR, something which, as a Catholic, I am morally opposed to. Fortunately, an administrator at our school who was also Catholic informed me that such groups often allow you to ‘earmark’ your donations so that they will not be used in certain areas, such as ESCR.

I don’t know if this option is available with the ACS, and it still doesn’t change the fact of the matter at hand, just thought I’d share this possibility with all of you.

God Bless!

Unfortunately, in the world in which we live, it’s not always easy to make the right choice–and by that I mean that the choices presented to us are not always a simple “right or wrong”

There are many organizations out there who do a lot of very genuine, morally upright works, but the problem sometimes is that they also participate in some very immoral acts, or those of questionable morality.

What this comes down to is similar to the moral principle of “double effect.”

We can support an organization which does good works so long as it’s the good works which we are supporting, and not the immoral ones. We must ask ourselves “why am I supporting this organization?” To give to a charity because one is supporting the primary mission of that charity and that primary mission is morally sound can be a legitimate act. On the other hand, if the primary mission of that charity is immoral, or if a significant function of it is immoral, then we should not make the donation, nor support it.

We can never commit an outright evil act even if our intentions are good.

If one says to himself “I am going to support this organization because they engage in embryonic stem cell research” that would be an evil act. On the other hand, if one says to himself “I am going to support the legitimate activities of this organization, but unfortunately some of their activities support embryonic stem cell research” that might be morally sound. I think it would depend upon just how much of their resources are actually devoted to the immoral activities. Perhaps an organization is also supporting other forms of research which are morally acceptable, and by making such a donation, we can help to bring about a cure (or other solution) which makes embryonic stem cell research obsolete?

In a perfect world, it would be easy and unambiguous to make a clear distinction between an organization which does only good, and one which does only evil–but then again, if it were a perfect world, the evil wouldn’t be there in the first place. We don’t live in that perfect world, we live in a fallen one. And that world often presents us with choices that are not easy to make.

My thoughts exactly. Fr needs to be aware of this!!

A Catholic group I know participates in Relay for Life.

Do you know why your friend was smirking? Did you talk about it afterwards?
What were his intentions? Was he mocking you? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I think they’re important.

I looked this up on EWTN and the Pro-life expert there, Judie Brown, had this to say:

My short answer is no, there is no way you could support the American Cancer Society while they are supporting research that kills innocent human beings.

A lot of groups are doing “good” but when they are also doing “evil” we have a problem. They are not consistent and do not recognize the dignity of the human being. If they did, they would condemn human embryonic stem cell research.

I agree with her.

I also wouldn’t present myself for Holy Communion after knowingly doing something like that. But, perhaps your friend is just very ignorant of all of this and needs to be, as someone else already mentioned, properly informed. Just because we know and understand something doesn’t mean everyone else does, even after we inform them, sometimes it takes awhile to take it all in. Further proofs are needed in order to convince some people. Just keep trying to inform as you are and speak out when necessary. Don’t get mad at them for not just taking you at your word, but continue to find more ways to inform them. God bless your efforts!!

I agree in the main with your argument, Father, but probably not in this case. Unless, as a previous poster noted, one can earmark their particular donation to this organization for non-immoral activities, one has no assurance that their donations won’t go to funding immoral activities. There is also the additional dis-similarity with the double-effect concept in that there is no necessity for a person to have to make this choice (to donate or not to donate to this particular organization) at all. He or she is likely free to donate their money to similar causes that don’t engage in immoral activities (or to not donate to any of them at all) without it being a possible occasion of sin.

Well, taking the advice of the Bible, I approached my friend after Mass this Sunday and said - “I have a bone to pick with you.” He looked at me and asked about what, and I told him that I felt it was wrong to sit and give a donation to a group that he and I have been discussing giving money to ESCR and that I had just given him the written information regarding the ACS. He said, “Since you plan to shut their operation down here at our parish, I figured I would give them one last donation.” I then asked him why he would do that in my face and why he thought it was ok to fund a group that goes along with killing innocent human babies for research purposes. He then said “Yeah, that is what they do, kill babies…” This was said in a very sarcastic way. He and I work together and needless to say, we have not spoken to one another since Sunday after Mass. I tried to do what the Bible prescribes and that was to approach my brother who I felt had wronged me and I tried to address the issue at hand. After approaching him he did not want to hear what I had to say. So now what? I forgive him, especially since that was the reading for the day today and is what is expected of us all - but how do I keep a friendship with someone that just out of spite did what he did?

Go to confession first and right this wrong by donating to a pro-life group twice the amount that you donated to that Masonic Anti-Life group.

You did the right thing by confronting him. It’s a witness to your own faith and belief in what the Church teaches! :thumbsup:

It must go deeper. Something is going on with him that you may never know. I’ll pray for him as well.

Maybe print out some information and give it to him, outside of work of course, so that he can’t say anything to your employer.

I have a friend who lives a immoral life. I’m just being honest. Much more than doing something like this … is she a real friend? … right now, I don’t know. I’ve just known her all my life and we grew up together. However, she will listen to me when I mention something and she doesn’t smirk at me or do things against me … I guess now is the time to determine whether this man is a true friend or not … because a true friend would value the opinion of another friend… And my friend, I value her opinion on some things as well… so… it’s tough.

My point was to express the fact that unfortunately, we don’t always have clear-cut unambiguos choices presented to us. I carefully avoided saying whether or not donating to this particular cause would be either right or wrong, but presented some principles to help “guide” someone who might be in this or a similar situation.

I can think of a number of very well-known organizations which most people would consider a worthy cause, and yet which also engage in or otherwise support immoral activities. In fact, to list them would probably offend some people, and certainly shock many people–that’s why I won’t mention them here. Take a look at some of the threads dealing with scrupulous confessions and that might put this into a slightly different perspective.

The best thing we can do is to donate only to organizations which are completely dedicated to morally upright activities–no question about that. However, we don’t always have the opportunity to research organizations extensively, especially when we’re being asked for a small donation on-the-spot. If I hand someone a couple of dollars because the cause seems like a worthy one at the moment, but later learn that some of their peripheral activities are questionable, my conscience can be clear. On the other hand when I plan my “annual” donations and give careful thought about making a significant contribution to an organization, the standard is much higher, and likewise the responsibility to research.

There’s also the issue that sometimes we very much want to support the overall good works being done by that organization, or sometimes we have a particular reason for supporting them; let’s say that the Acme Organization was very helpful when my grandfather was dying in the hospital and dedicated many resources to his comfort and dignity. After the funeral, I want to express my thanks by making a donation because I feel that I have a responsibility to do so. Well, it turns out that they also marginally support some questionable activities. I might still make that donation as an expression of gratitude, even though I’m careful to note in my own mind that I’m not supporting the bad but the good. Many people reading these threads might be in a similar situation, and that’s why I’m trying to be very cautious here.

It’s now on his own conscience, and it’s between him and God. You did what you could. Keep it up, but also keep in mind that there’s only so much you can do.

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