The general principles concerning cooperation in evil actions


#1

[LEFT][LEFT]When another person is sinning, when is your related act (cooperative act) sinful?

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]Explicit cooperation occurs when your intention (intended end, purpose) is to assist the other person precisely in what is sinful. Explicit cooperation is always immoral because it denotes a bad intention; the intended end is evil. In explicit cooperation, you share the immoral intention of the other person.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]Cooperation without such an intention is termed “implicit cooperation”. Implicit cooperation may or may not be moral.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]Formal cooperation occurs when your act, by its very nature, can be defined as a direct participation in the intrinsically evil act of the other person. In other words, their act is intrinsically evil, and your act is directly ordered toward helping them accomplish that intrinsically evil act. It is never moral to cooperate formally in evil.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]So if your cooperation is either explicit cooperation or formal cooperation or both, your act is a sin. Implicit formal cooperation occurs when you do not share the immoral intention of the other person, yet you knowingly choose an act directly participating in their intrinsically evil act. Despite your good intention, such a choice is never morally licit.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]Material cooperation occurs when your act participates in the sin of the other person, only in the form it takes in a concrete situation, i.e. in the circumstances surrounding the act. If their act is intrinsically evil, your act must not participate directly in their act, and you must not share their immoral intention.

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT][LEFT]Material cooperation is moral if your act has only good in the intention, and your act is not intrinsically evil, and you reasonably anticipate that your act will not do more harm than good. Typically, material cooperation is moral when your act is remote from the other act, and immoral when your act is proximate to the other act. But certainly all the reasonably anticipated good and bad consequences must be taken into account, including scandal.[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]


#2

So if you are a bartender, would it be sinful to serve liquor to an intoxicated person?


#3

If you know they are intoxicated, it is a sin, at least because of the reasonably anticipated bad consequences that may occur. It’s also a crime: over-serving.

Before considering whether an act is sinful by cooperation, we must consider whether the act is a sin by perpetration (i.e. regardless of the sin of the other person).


#4

Actually that is against the law in many places and in most states.
file:///C:/Users/Doc%20&%20Erni’s%20Toy/Downloads/811142.pdf

So merely by breaking a just law it would be sinful


#5

The file address you gave is a local file on your computer (that none of us can access). Here is the internet address for that file:
nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Traffic%20Injury%20Control/Articles/Associated%20Files/811142.pdf

Breaking a just law is not always sinful. For example, a nation or state may justly enact regulations, but in a dire circumstance you might morally break that regulation. I’m not recommending law-breaking, just stating the general moral principle.


#6

Thanks for the link.

Right. I understand the general moral principle regarding law. But in the aforementioned case, it would be hard to imagine “dire circumstances” But yes, if a bartender had to save someones life by giving them a liquid then they could morally disregard the law…


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.