Question came up during a discussion yesterday

so this guy was working as a pharmacist and a priest basically told him to quit because it involves filling out birth control prescriptions and telling clients how to use it.

does this mean no catholic can become a pharmacist now because of this?

Basically told him to quit, or actually told him to quit? What does “basically” mean? To me it means that whatever the priest told him, you are getting what the person believes or interpreted the priest to say or mean, not what the priest actually said.

The moral principle at work here is that of cooperation with evil. There are several types and degrees of cooperation with evil, some of which are sinful and some of which are not.

A person who is a pharmacist should read up on the Catholic teaching on cooperation with evil (see this document or this site), seek guidance from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, a group such as Pharmacists For Life, and legal counsel in their state of residence to understand conscience laws and their rights.

In most cases, a pharmacist with a religious objection to dispensing certain drugs can have another pharmacist fill those prescriptions.

What a pharmacist cannot do is provide immediate material cooperation with evil.


well, I wasn’t there with his discussion with the priest but it seems like the priest said that it would be better for him not to work in that profession at all.

I don’t know if we have the same thing here in Canada about getting someone else to do it if you have an objection

Birth control prescriptions usually mean pills, which aren’t always used for the purpose of preventing a pregnancy. As you might have noticed from the dozens of threads about the use of BCP, many of the questions posed on CAF involve using those pills as hormonal treatment for a gynecological condition. Now, how does the priest know exactly who is using those pills the pharmacist is filling for “birth control” and who is using them for treatment of a medical condition? How does the pharmacist know? I don’t know about Canada, but here in the US, our prescriptions that we take to the drug store simply have the name of the medication, whether a generic can be substituted for the name brand, the dose of the medicine, how it is to be taken, and if a refill can be given without a prior authorization. I must say, I’ve never heard of someone getting a prescription for birth control pills and the paper prescription having something written on it that says " use to prevent a pregnancy"…:shrug:

Sounds like the pharmacist went to the priest because he himself was concerned about filling birth control prescriptions…but like I said in my post above, here in the US, the prescription doesn’t indicate why it was prescribed, at least not on hormonal treatments such as birth control pills. I mean seriously, “Deb” doesn’t take a prescription for some brand of pills into her local Rite Aid to get filled and because she’s using them to deal with irregular cycles and heavy bleeding, the prescription doesn’t say “take to regulate cycles and minimize menstrual flow” nor does “Alice” take the same prescription into the Rite Aid, but because hers was written for birth control, does it now say “take to prevent pregnancy”. Given your issues with scrupulosity, I would advise you not to get involved in this conversation which apparently you have been privy to. Let it go. This is not something you need to worry yourself over.

What about if you work as a cashier at WalMart or Target or CVS or a whole bunch of other places that sell family planning materials that are morally objectionable according to Catholic teaching? What about if you are working at a Catholic Jesuit college and they are showing morally objectionable plays and requiring some students to participate? What if you are working as a cashier at a Catholic Jesuit college bookstore and they are renting out morally offensive movies?

I do not know what the priest said ,just that I understand we have to try to achieve a certain unity in our lives. That is to say ,what we do ,say and think and believe in ,sort of in harmony. This is what I was taught. And it is personal ,not that one has to go about shouting it out nor condemning it in others.
And if possible,cause it does take time and search and prayer at least to try to have our lives,our hearts in “one piece” and not divided.
It is healthier in every way.
To serve God. With every breath.
Difficult and beautiful challenge.

Once again, these types of questions and more all have their origin and their answer in the principles of cooperation with evil.

Would depend on whether such an action would constitute remote cooperation with evil. I know of no church teaching that forbids a Catholic to be a pharmacist or to fill prescriptions for contraception pills or devices . I think this is a decision that the individual involved would have to make . Catholic businessmen are faced with these decisions all the time . For instance I refuse to do tax returns for individuals who have income from any business that performs abortions . On the other hand after a lot of prayer and soul-searching I’ve decided that I will prepare joint tax returns for same-sex couples . I don’t think the church has a position on either one of these but I have to do what I am comfortable with .

I have a feeling that this story has gotten muddled beyond recognition by the time it reached you. I have never heard of the priest tell anyone to quit a job or tell them that there were duties of their current job they could not perform. I do think that businesses should bend over backwards to accommodate the religious beliefs of their employees, for instance in this case it seems very easy accommodation would be to have another pharmacist fill the prescription .

Right, and sadly, this is because they are far too concerned with satisfying, accommodating the secular company, they are more concerned with mans laws versus Gods laws, because mans laws have immediate consequences. I think it should be the other way around though.

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