Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2012


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Health Care Ethics


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Gerry Magill

Committee Member

Henk ten Have

Committee Member

Aaron Mackler


Catholic, formation, health care, moral development, moral theology, principle of cooperation


While not exactly back room political bargaining, the traditional use of cooperation has been by moral theologians attempting to define the level of cooperation for a particular situation. This chosen definition, in turn, may help focus the range of appropriate actions in response to the situation's circumstances. In this customary usage, an organization's associates (employees) may assist the implementation of relevant responses to a cooperation analysis, whether the issue is clinical or organizational in nature. They have not been integral to the decision-making process - until now. Cooperation has been the proverbial candle under the bushel (Matthew 5:15). This paper proposes the involvement of organizations' associates not only for decision-making and discernment, but for their own moral development. The foundation of this thesis is not only that organizations are moral agents, but also that organizations are reflective of the moral development of their associates when they exercise their agency. Using this model, this theory advances a use of the principle of cooperation by interpreting cooperation as a function of moral development for advancing associates. Advancement, in this case, means that, optimally, the process will expose participants to individuals in various stages of moral development, challenge them in appropriate ways, and enhance their moral development as characterized by Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan. Even if participants do not advance in their moral development, the model proposed here will form participants in moral decision-making within the Catholic moral tradition. To a lesser degree, it is also a useful ministry discernment tool if appointed to discriminate responses to some of the individual and organizational issues (topics) mentioned above.