Morality of MP3 Talks


I sometimes do odd computer jobs. One of them is to take audio recordings (often just recorded lectures with no editing, sometimes edited talks), cut them up and burn them onto audio CDs. One of my customers is a very nice lady who is Catholic, but New Age-y. I have done jobs for her in the past of talks by Catholic speakers. I’ve also even sent her additional free talks from Catholic Answers, since we share some of the same Catholic interests.

This time, she wants me to burn some MP3 talks given at a silent retreat by Fr. Carl Arico, apparently concerning centering prayer. As I understand it, centering prayer is not something we should be doing. I will definitely include some resources concerning the dangers of centering prayer along with the talks.

However, my question is: Is it moral for me to burn these talks for her for pay, in spite of the spiritual dangers which may be present (concerning “centering prayer” and so on)?

Also: Does the nature of this as a (nominally) paid job change its moral value? What if I did this job for free? And, does the fact of her being Catholic(ish) change its moral value? What if I were doing a job for a complete non-Catholic New Ager or a Hindu? Would that make it okay?


I wouldn’t worry about it. I just finished writing a an article about the benefits of chiropractic treatment - exactly opposite of what I believe about it. But I need the money - so I write. If I were to be assigned an article about a church other than Catholic I’d have no trouble - unless the church was openly anti-Catholic. I would have to draw the line there.

But centering prayer isn’t anti-Catholic. Since you know the woman, you could tell her you have doubts about it. But if you need the money, do the job.


I don’t mean to be uncharitable, but- I don’t agree with your stance. I think its terrible to tell people something you don’t believe for pay. It sounds an awful lot like lying to me. Perhaps I am missing some key context here, though.


I understand your concern, but I say just go ahead and do it. You’re there as a computer tech, not a spiritual advisor. Now, if she asks your opinion on centering prayer, go ahead and be honest. But it’s really not your business to tell her what she can and can’t listen to. Would you refuse to work on a non-Christian’s computer, knowing they might use that computer to look up information on whatever their faith is?

To take another example, imagine you’re a high school student working the fast food drive through, and a car pulls up and orders ten double cheeseburgers. You see the driver is obviously obese and in poor health. Should you refuse to serve him because you don’t want to contribute to further destroying his health?

Like I said, I get that your heart is in the right place, but I think you risk coming across as preachy. It’s not really your place to act as someone else’s spiritual director.


I’m not lying because no where in my article did I say I believe it. And even tho I don’t believe that chiropractic does anything, it doesn’t mean I’m right. I could be wrong. I simply quoted the people I was paid to interview & wrote down what they said.

What I do is basically advertising. Even if I were a journalist I wouldn’t be able to write what I believe - if I disagreed with the owner or editor, I would no longer have a job.

I’m lucky that the paper I write for is owned by a Christian. She would never ask me to write anything immoral or unethical. A paper I used to write for was owned by an anti-Christian, but I never wrote about anything other than food there.


Since you do not know whether or not there are spiritual dangers in the talk, you are setting yourself up for stress and angst.

And if you tell her that you are concerned, you may open a can of worms which have no useful purpose, if for no other reason than you are likely to be seen as making a judgment concerning the content - which you have not reviewed.

If you don’t want to do it, that is fine. There is more room within such talks than some people are willing to concede, and I presume she is an adult (and if I got it correctly, she has already heard the talk). You seem to want to shut a door that she has a) already gone through, and b) that you are judging without having heard.

And unless you have a degree in theology, it is a matter that you may not have any ability to judge.

To take an unrelated topic, there are still Catholics who see Harry Potter series as evil. I am inclined to disagree with them on the matter, as well as many people in the Church who seem to have their head on straight.

All of which may not give you an answer, but you have not given much information. I do not see a moral issue with you duplicating the talk, other than perhaps the issue of whether or not she had permission to tape it to begin with - but that is a legal, not a theological issue.


Thanks for the replies guys.

After further considering it, I think it comes down to the soundness of judgement of the individual and an individual’s right to judge for him or her self. In this case, although I think the content is a little off-center from orthodoxy, I think she has a right and is capable of discerning for herself. I will also give her a copy of a article about the possible dangers of centering prayer, which I alluded to in my first post. I don’t think she will mind this as long as I get her the copies she requested.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t make copies of Planned Parenthood media for distribution or pro-euthanasia/assisted suicide media for a sick friend.

I don’t think we need a theology degree to identify something potentially damaging to the faith, though. We’ve got Catholic Answers.

As far as the cheeseburger example- It’s a no-go, because people have to eat and one does not become obese from one day to the next. It’s a process. For all we know the obese guy just got out of the gym, but didn’t have time to make lunch before a company meeting. On the other hand, people do become drunk within a matter of hours and need a few hours to recover, which makes it legitimate to cut someone off from drinks, but not necessary from a cheeseburger.

And no worries, I don’t see Harry Potter as evil, though there is certainly better literature out there. As for making copies- they are free and available for download. I just charge for making the copies, not the content (which is not mine).

Again, thanks for the replies. They’ve been helpful!


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