How to Act when a Work Place
Demands Moral Compromises?
Atila S. Guimarães
Dear Mr. Guimarães,
Let me first begin by thanking you for the clarity you have provided the readers of the Tradition in Action website. I find great consolation in your perspective, as I read more and more of the articles posted..
I would ask the favor of your help for this issue: I obtained a Ph.D. in a professional field of therapy years ago, and have taught part-time at a local university (since we have children I have duties and demands at home).
Roughly two years ago, when I awakened to the problems in the Catholic Church, as well as my own sinfulness, I also realized that the national association to which I had belonged, as well as from which I had received some of my credentials, had a relatively long history of providing a platform to advance the homosexual agenda. (Last year, they also hired a speaker for their national convention who was a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood, although this was never advertised in her bio printed in the national newsletter.)
In addition, about two years ago, a Catholic woman wrote a letter to the editor of the national association monthly publication expressing her concern about the national association's affiliation with an immoral group. She was subsequently calumniated and berated in the subsequent issues of the publication by other members of the association, all with the support of the editor. I was horrified. Due to these events, I had decided that I could no longer justify membership in the national association, as I did not want to contribute to the immorality of the world, and I feared to stand before God in this regard.
What ensued was the loss of my job because the university does not hire professionals who are not credentialed from the national association. Membership in the national association is tied to one's credentials, oddly enough. I could reinstate my membership, which would grant me back my credentials, but the thought of doing so creates conflict for me. It seems that if I were to do that, I'd be engaging in a type of "selling out" the truth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) for a job.
I don't want to sell out, but without the credentials, it's almost impossible to gain employment. I have specialized training, and though I don't work much, I know that I can offer a great deal of help to those persons who are able to seek my expertise.
Could you please give me a perspective on this issue?
I thank you most sincerely for any help you can lend to this situation, and again, for the light you are able to provide at such a dark time.
The Editor responds:
Thank you for your kind words and consideration in asking my advice on this delicate matter.
Perhaps you do not know, but I have no special studies in Morals. When I answer questions like yours, I am only applying the principles of Catholic sense proper to any layman. With this presupposition, let me see whether or not I can help you by trying to interpret the mind of Holy Mother Church and give you some parameters to orient you.
Summarizing, the problem is that you need credentials to exercise your profession, and the only national organ that issues them requires an oath or a signature or another kind of adhesion (you didn't specify which) that you will respect homosexuals, planned parenthood and other such issues against Catholic Morals.
General rule of charity
The first point that you should clarify is to what degree this national association demands your adhesion to the promotion of homosexuality and the other moral issues you mentioned.
In principle, a Catholic should assist any of his fellow men should an emergency arise, independent of who he is. This is what Our Lord taught us in the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is what the innumerable Catholic institutions of charity always did in the Church throughout History.
So, if the requirements of that association are general in terms, referring to those emergencies where homosexuals are included among other victims, I believe that they should be assisted like any other person. So, it is my opinion that you may agree with this requirement without concern of committing a sin.
Facing immoral demands by official organs
However, if the requirement is specific, demanding either that you dedicate a considerable part of your time to assist homosexuals or to engage in promoting the cause of homosexual rights, then the matter demands further attention.
The solution of this problem relies on your answer to this question: To what degree do you really need to work and earn money to provide for your family?
To answer this question, you may consider that regarding necessity, there is a hierarchy. When you say that you need to work, you should determine your degree of need from the following categories:
If the income you are seeking is for superfluous or convenient needs, do not try to get back the license for your job. The compromise you will have to make represents a moral damage far above your needs.
- Indispensable - something vital for life - you need the money for the maintenance of your family; without it your children will starve or your mother will lose the medical assistance she needs to live, or you will lose your house because you cannot make the monthly payments;
- Necessary - you need the money for something that your children can live without, but lacking it they cannot pursue their studies, go to the doctor, or dress according to the social level of your family;
- Convenient - with this extra income you would be able to pay for extra courses of languages so that your children can eventually get better jobs, frequent better social circles, marry persons of a better economic condition. If it were not languages, then it would be some other similar thing: to join a suitable club, dress in a more dignified way appropriate to Catholic principles.
- Superfluous - with this extra money you could send your children on vacations in Florida or take a family ski trip in Colorado to relax from the stress of life, or you could remodel your courtyard in a more fashionable style for your pleasure and to make a good impression on your friends.
However, if you need to work in order to earn a salary for indispensable or necessary things, then you may submit to the association rules without agreeing with them. That is, you accept them not for what they represent, but to acquire the means for your family to survive.
If I am not mistaken, this is what in Morals is called the principle of double effect.
A simpler example is this: A man needs his car to earn money to survive; the only gas station in town supports homosexuality. When he goes to fill the tank of his car, he is not supporting homosexuality, but acquiring the means to provide for himself and his family.
In conclusion: if the association that issues credentials for your job is the only organ able to do so, and you need (indispensably and necessarily) that job to provide for your family, you may submit to their terms without agreeing with them.
If this is the case, when concrete situations arise with which you do not agree, you may make practical arrangements to avoid promoting homosexuality, planned parenthood etc. If these arrangements are impossible, it is better to quit the job and look for another means to provide for your family. It is never licit to promote homosexuality or any other issues against Catholic Morals.
Having provided these guidelines, I believe you are the one who must judge how your situation fits in these parameters.
I hope that these principles will help you to go ahead in peace of conscience.
Atila S. Guimarães