Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love

by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The following letter was sent by a Congressman to one of his constituents in Springfield:

“I believe we should end abortion on demand, and at every opportunity I have translated this belief into votes in the House of Representatives. I am opposed to the use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions, and will continue to support amendments to prohibit the funding of elective abortions for federal employees and Medicaid recipients. … I continue to believe the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade should be reversed.” That letter was sent on Aug. 14, 1989, by then-Rep. Richard J. Durbin. Now Sen. Durbin’s wish has finally been granted by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, reversing Roe v. Wade.

Similarly, when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 just 17 days after Joseph Biden entered the U.S. Senate, he said, “I don’t like the decision. I think it went too far.” His wish has now been granted, too.

Unfortunately, Biden and Durbin and other formerly pro-life politicians have flip-flopped their positions 180 degrees and are now promoting a very pro-abortion agenda. In his opening statement on July 12 during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “A Post-Roe America: The Legal Consequences of the Dobbs Decision,” Sen. Durbin said, “A woman’s choice to get an abortion is her choice alone.”

President Biden has gone beyond words by issuing an executive order on July 8 to promote access to abortion. The Office of Personnel Management issued guidance that allows for federal workers to take paid sick leave to cover absences for travel to obtain an abortion. This is truly scandalous, in that it leads others to take similar immoral actions. Following the lead of the Biden administration, dozens of companies announced that they will pay for employees who want to get an abortion. See the accompanying list of companies who have issued new “health care” policies that provide thousands of dollars in abortion stipends and travel reimbursement. It would be good to keep these companies in mind and avoid buying their products whenever possible.

These actions in promoting abortion have crossed a significant line with profound moral implications for their proponents, moving from what might have been considered material cooperation with evil, which sometimes is excusable, into the realm of formal cooperation, which is always sinful. The difference is that material cooperation does not share in the intent to commit sin, but may involve unintentional cooperation with evil. An example would be paying taxes in a state like Illinois which provides for taxpayer funding of abortion. When paying sales tax for purchasing goods in Illinois, the purchaser is a material cooperator in evil since the sales tax will go into the state treasury from which abortions are funded. Such material cooperation is remote and usually unavoidable, which means that it is not sinful.

Formal cooperation shares the intent to commit evil, and is therefore sinful. In the case of a person who deliberately purchases goods in Illinois with the intent of providing the State with sales taxes to help pay for abortions, that person is formally cooperating in grave evil and thereby is committing a serious sin. One of the consequences of formal cooperation with grave evil is that those who commit serious sins are not permitted to receive holy Communion unless they repent and receive sacramental absolution.

When Catholic politicians like Joe Biden, Dick Durbin, and Nancy Pelosi proactively promote abortion in their words and actions, they can no longer claim that they are “personally opposed to abortion, but are not going to impose their beliefs on others.” They are in fact intentionally imposing their pro-abortion beliefs on others and hence are now formally cooperating in evil. As such, they are not to receive holy Communion because of their manifest, obstinate, and persistent promotion of grave sin and their strident support for intrinsic evil. This applies to business executives who promote abortion policies as well.

In a television interview broadcast July 12, Pope Francis responded to a question about President Biden’s support for abortion by saying, “Let him talk to his pastor about that incoherence.” It is indeed incoherent for Catholics to promote abortion and it is incoherent for such Catholics to receive holy Communion. We must continue to pray for their conversion and return to full communion with the Catholic Church.

May God give us this grace. Amen.

The following companies announced new “health care” policies that include thousands of dollars in abortion stipends and travel reimbursement: