Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Schools and Centres

Philosophy and Theology

First Supervisor

Rev Dr Peter Black CSsR


This dissertation views the Principle of Legitimate Cooperation as a guiding norm for the activity of Catholic institutions in the world. It samples various expressions of the principle from the seventeenth century to the present day, noting the significance of the central terms ‘intrinsically evil acts’ and ‘sufficiently serious reason’, and suggests that while the principle traditionally applied to individual moral agents, it can also apply to institutions. Taking as starting-points the Second Vatican Council’s call for a renewal of moral theology and the Church’s post-conciliar view of itself as ‘Sacrament of Christ’, the dissertation sketches an essentially Christological and ecclesiological background against which to view the identity and mission of Catholic institutions: their actions make the Church ‘present and active in the world’ From the case study of a Catholic hospital in rural Western Australia the dissertation concludes that while the principle often forbids cooperation with others who do evil, in particular instances a Catholic institution might determine that its Catholic identity impels it to cooperate.

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