I once had a discussion with a woman in her twenties who found more than disagreement with Sidewalk Counselors outside abortion clinics who offer prayer and outreach with hope and help for the abortion-vulnerable parents.  This woman maintained that the Sidewalk Counselors were judgmental and accusatory toward “those in need” of an abortion.

 

I sought to dispel the false notions she had of the Sidewalk Counselors and explained that what she says is nonsensical as likely forty percent of all Sidewalk Counselors, maybe even more, have had or participated in an abortion themselves.   There is enormous sensitivity among Sidewalk Counselors that we are there to help dissuade others from putting themselves at risk of suffering what so many of them already do suffer.

 

The woman quickly countered that she wasn’t relying on hearsay, but instead had experience on the sidewalk when escorting a friend to get the “needed” abortion.

 

Not to give too strong a focus on this aspect of the conversation, I quickly mentioned that if her claim was true then she had objectively sinned herself and sought to return to a discussion of Sidewalk Counselors.

 

She quickly interrupted me and asked how she could have sinned if she didn’t have the abortion.

 

This was a teachable moment for me.  We have fallen to a state that our relationship with Christ and His Church is so intensely legalistic and blind.  Though she had gone to Catholic School for sixteen years, it escaped her that one can sin through the cooperation of another’s sin.  This is a teach of the Church, the teaching of a loving relationship with Christ, with which could refresh my Examination of Conscience.

 

In rereading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 1868 explains that we cooperate with another’s sin when we

approve of their sin;

knowingly benefit from another’s sin;

command the sin of another;

counsel another to sin;

concealing the sin or by not hindering them from sinning when one has the obligation to do;

defending the sin;

praising their sinning behavior; or

by facilitating the sin.

 

The issue is less the legal quest for a loophole and much more the trust we give to Jesus Christ is being our God to whom nothing is impossible.