A reader writes:
My place of employment is doing a drive to raise money for the United Way. I went to their Website, where they state a position of neutrality on abortion, yet have collaborated with Planned Parenthood on projects. Hence, I view this as an indirect support of abortion, despite their statement on their Website.
You are perceptive.
The United Way is deceptive.
Therefore, I’ve decided not to contribute to the drive. However, I was asked to help with the collection of money.
Would this still make me compliant, or am I being scrupulous about this matter.
Well, if you comply with the request then you would, by definition, be compliant. That's not what you're concerned about though. I assume that you are wondering whether you would be morally culpable.
In this case the money is not being given directly to abortionists to do abortions but to a charitable agency that then, one way or another, gives some portion of it to abortionists. That's poor stewardship, but then any time you give money to any fund there is a risk or even the known fact that some of it will not be used as it should be. If you were to maintain the position that you can't have anything to do with such a fund then you're going to end up not giving to anybody, and the good that you could otherwise do will not be done, including all the other charities that the fund would have supported, the abortionists only being a small percentage of the fund's outlay.
I say that, not to encourage you to give to the United Way (I, myself, will not give to them until they change their policy on abortion; I'll give my money elsewhere) but to point out the remoteness of your act from the evil that you may foresee the fund will do.
Remoteness is important in moral theology. Since there is a human will (the fund manager) intervening between the donor and the recipient, the donor's cooperation is not as direct as if he were himself giving money to an evil cause.
In Catholic moral theology, remote cooperation with evil is sometimes permissible. It has to be because, since humans are sinners, remote cooperation with evil is unavoidable. That guy you paid ten dollars for the pizza may use the money to buy a porn magazine. You can't control that. You have to make an up or down decision on whether you're going to do business with someone, and you are not responsible for micromanaging every aspect of what they do with the money you give them.
A key is whether you are, with your will, endorsing the evil that someone else will (inevitably) do with the money you give them (either as a payment or a donation). If you endorse the evil then your cooperation with it is formal, and this is never permitted. If, on the other hand, you do not endorse the evil then your cooperation is only material, and remote material cooperation with evil is permitted . . .
. . . for a proportionate reason.
If you have a proportionate reason (e.g., you'll suffer in some way at work if you don't honor the request to collect the money) then, since the act of collecting money is morally licit in itself and since only a tiny portion of it will be used for evil and since you are not directly supporting evil (it's only remote cooperation, remember) and since someone else will collect the money if you don't, it seems to me that in that case it would be morally licit for you to collect the money.
So I wouldn't say that you are being scrupulous. It's good that you're trying to think these things through.
Hope this helps!