Cardinal Burke Clarifies: Employers Providing Contraceptives “Materially and Formally” Cooperating with Sin

April 9, 2012 — Catholic Action for Faith and Family announces a timely and insightful thirty minute interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke as he discusses critical matters of faith, religious liberty, and culpability in relation to the threatened government mandate for employers to provide free contraception, sterilization services, and abortion inducing drugs. Catholic Action Insight, a special program series hosted by Catholic Action founder and president, Thomas McKenna, will air on EWTN on April 11 at 2:30pm and on April 13 at 9:00pm EST.

“We were very blessed to be granted this interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke who,not only details the church teaching on contraception and the moral conflict for Catholic employers who provide contraceptive services to employees, but also provides education on the role of the Church in this time of governmental interference with the right to ‘freedom of religion’,” said Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family. Thomas and the show’s director, Jim Breen, recently returned from Rome where the interview was conducted.

“Cardinal Burke stands in solidarity with U. S. Bishops and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in defense and advocacy for Church dogma while highlighting the critical role that the Bishops must play as shepherds to their flock,” McKenna added.

Catholic Action Insight has released the following excerpts from the interview:

Thomas McKenna: “It is beautiful to see how the Faithful has rallied behind the Hierarchy… How does your Eminence comment on the union of solidarity of our bishops?”

Cardinal Burke: “Yes, I have received emails and other communications from lay Faithful who say that they are supporting their bishops 100% and they have communicated to their bishops their gratitude and assured them that they want them to continue to be courageous and not to be deceived by any kind of false accommodations which in fact continue this same kind of agenda which sadly we have witnessed for too long in our country which is totally secular and therefore is anti-life and anti-family.I admire very much the courage of the bishops. At the same time I believe they would say it along with me that they are doing no more than their duty. A bishop has to protect his flock and when any individual or government attempts to force the flock to act against conscience in one of its most fundamental precepts then the bishops have to come to defend those who are entrusted to their pastoral care. So I am deeply grateful to all of the bishops who have spoken about this and who are encouraging the members of their flock to also speak up because our government needs to understand that what is being done with this mandate is contrary first of all to the fundamental human right, the right to the free exercise of one’s conscience and at the same time contrary to the very foundation of our nation.”

Thomas McKenna: “So a Catholic Employer, really getting down to it, he does not, or she does not provide this because that way they would be,in a sense, cooperating with the sin… the sin of contraception or the sin of providing a contraceptive that would abort a child, is this correct?”

Cardinal Burke: “This is correct. It is not only a matter of what we call “material cooperation” in the sense that the employer by giving this insurance benefit is materially providing for the contraception but it is also “formal cooperation”because he is knowingly and deliberately doing this, making this available to people. There is no way to justify it. It is simply wrong.”

This comment by one of the highest ranked American Cardinals is the clearest explanation to date on the issue of an employer’s culpability when providing contraception, sterilization, and abortion inducing drug options in the insurance plans for employees. Cardinal Burke has illuminated with piercing clarity the controversial issue which has seen dissent from Church teaching on this matter among Catholic institutions and universities here in the United States. Cardinal Burke’s profound statements come at a critical time in this divisive debate over the legality and morality of forcing anyone to act against his own conscience.

Cardinal Burke issued a public statement of support for Catholics to sign the Stop the Birth Control Mandate Petition.

For more information on the entire interview and the additional times it can be seen on EWTN or to watch the full interview after it airs on EWTN please visit

To request an interview with Thomas McKenna contact Megan Morris at 913-426-0002 or email at [email protected].


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  1. Dave says

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. 1) The initial statements of the Bishops ignored this aspect of the problem. Private Catholic employers were never mentioned nor were their rights defended. 2) In many states Catholic organizations have for a long time submitted to state laws requiring the same provisions that the Bishops now protest. All the sudden capitulation is sin (I tend to agree) but it has been going on for a long time. Am I wrong here?

  2. Ann M True says

    With all our Catholic hospitals and universities could we unite and independently provide insurance and medical care? I don’t know how possible it would be to survive without medicaid and medicare. I have no idea how to do this but I will volunteer in any way I can and offer what I can.
    Ann M True
    Catholic RN

  3. Ted Seeber says

    This raises a question in my mind- what of the employer who has no choice, such as the man who has his contract with an insurance company unilaterally modified behind his back? Is it possible to materially cooperate in a sin without formally cooperating in a sin?

  4. Glenda LaGarde says

    I’ve read and heard live the comments of Church leaders like Cardinals Burke, Wuerl, and Dolan and several outstanding bishops supporting religious freedom and protection of conscience , and most eloquently, Pope Benedict XVI. These deal with facts–the present administration’s consistent pro-abortion, contraception, and sterilization agenda, its funding of embryonic stem cell research using and discarding human embryos, its rejection of conscience protection in law, and its use of dissendent and prominent titular “Catholics” to support this agenda. If Catholics were to join with and other people of faith to elect another candidate and administration which at least shows positive signs of more moral behavior on these issues, hope could revive for a turn to a more moral way for America. The hard fact is–too many clergy, including many bishops, are more concerned with not taking any stand for a candidate or party than with fighting for religious freedom for all Americans. They will not simply state that public leaders who promote abortion and deny the rights of conscience, placing themselves as authorities on Catholic teaching and causing great public scandal in the Church do not represent true Church teaching and to the extent that they know what they’re doing are not Catholic no matter how they represent themselves
    On Nov. 7 we may find ourselves beginning four more years of hostility to all who believe in and try to live by a moral law based on natural law and the teachings of Christ and his church. If we find religion defined and dictated by Washington and the education of our children snatched from parents, we have ourselves to blame.

  5. says

    I could never understand why it took so long for the bishops to finaly come out against abortion and DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) homosexual marriage, homosexual/pedophile priest. America has become a culture of death and secular. The athetists, femininists, homosexuals, communists, drugs, porno, etc. want to take over America with the help of Obama. We have to strike down marxistscare. Marxistcare is not about health but about money for the Marxist regime. The above has been festering for 20 years and with marxistobama they are gaining ground. Please God help us.


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