July 15, 2010 § 8 Comments

In the presence of a proportionate reason, it can – if additional double-effect conditions are met – be morally licit to engage in remote material cooperation with evil.

In politics, this means that it is possible, in specific circumstances, to licitly support a particular imperfect candidate (or imperfect law) while opposing those policies of his (or provisions in the law) which are wicked.
Of course this does require that one actually oppose those wicked policies or elements in word and deed. The difference between remote material cooperation and formal cooperation – all the difference between Heaven and Hell – is made manifest in other words and deeds which precede and follow that cooperation.


§ 8 Responses to Material-O-Meter

  • Anonymous says:

    Like the Catholic Church opposes unjust divorce by
    supporting abandoning spouses with annulments?

    Or when that is unsuccessful, because the truth was unavoidable when objectively sought, the tack changes to supporting the adultery in every way, save a Church wedding, at least until the death of the demoralized and civilly persecuted spouse can be attained with the “remote material cooperation” of the Church.


  • Zippy says:

    God bless you, Karl my friend.

  • not your average joe says:

    Speaking of marriage, does anyone know a good Catholic authority for what is permitted and what is not OK for a Catholic to do when friends and relatives (some of whom were baptized and some not) who are not practicing Catholics or Christians and are getting married, or sort of apparently getting married maybe? Like: when it is good to celebrate that they are at least getting civil recognition of their de facto union, instead of just cohabitating?

  • Zippy says:

    I don't have any Magisterial documentation offhand, but my own understanding is captured pretty well here.

  • not your average joe says:

    Hey, that's pretty good. I was hoping for a little more detail, but maybe that just isn't done. I have relatives who are getting married: 1 was born and raised Catholic, but the whole family fell away from the faith years ago. Another was baptized Catholic as an infant, but was not raised Catholic at all – his parents fell away when he was 1 or 2. For the second one, is there any distinction under Church law that says such a person's civil marriage is potentially valid because the “cult” of which they are knowledgeable does not include any recognition of a relationship to the Catholic Church's cult? Is there any way for such a person's marriage to be valid short of converting to Catholicism and then marrying in the Church?

  • Zippy says:

    Well, in a nutshell, you aren't forbidden to attend under the new code of Canon law, and the rest is a judgement call.

    As to the validity of the proposed marriages, in their face they suffer from a defect of form. To receive an annulment would not require the usual deep inquiry; all one would have to do is submit three pieces of paper to the tribunal. So I'm not terribly optimistic on the validity front, assuming that I know what I am talking about – an assumption one ought to always validate elsewhere, of course.

    IIRC a public formal defection from the faith on file with the local ordinary prior to the marriage is required – in addition to all the other things like permanence, fidelity, openness to life, etc. – to make a lapsed Catholic's marriage outside the Church sacramentally valid. Again, though, you'd want to follow up with someone more authoritative than a pseudonymous blogger-clown.

  • not your average joe says:

    IIRC a public formal defection from the faith on file with the local ordinary prior to the marriage is required

    You know, I have been really puzzled about that point. Canon Law 1124 backs that up:

    Can. 1124 Without express permission of the competent authority, a marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

    But on October 26, the Pope amended Canon Law:

    Pope Benedict has made two changes in canon law, regarding marriage for those who have formally renounced the Church, and clarifying the ministry of deacons…
    Archbishop Coccopalmerio's note then goes on to explain that the other changes contained in the Motu Proprio all concern the elimination of the clause “actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica” contained in canons 1086 para. 1, 1117 and 1124.

    This clause, “following much study, was held to be unnecessary and inappropriate,” he writes.

    Commentators say the effect will be to make remarriage easier for those who had formally left the Church but now wish to remarry in the Church.

    See this:

    The only way I can make sense of this is the following: the former 1124 said that if you had been a Catholic, and you formally renounced your Catholicism, then you could in fact get married in a valid civil marriage to a non-Catholic. This marriage could not later be annulled if you want to later marry a Catholic, because it would be a real valid marriage.

    The change eliminates the words “by a formal act…” and thus eliminates the condition that the non-practicing (renounced) Catholic's civil marriage is a valid marriage. This implies that if he divorces and later wants to marry a Catholic, this is possible because the civil marriage can be annulled, as having defect of form.

    But a priest I talked to last week said this was wrong, the recent change in canon law is what enables the non-practicing Catholic to marry civilly in a valid marriage, by a formal act renouncing his Catholicism.

    One of us must be wrong. Right?

  • Zippy says:

    Ah, you are much more familiar with the subject than I am. I was unaware of the recent change. I'd have to research it before I could render an opinion.

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