Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Anon asked: “My question is this- if contraception is permanent, (vasectomy or tubes tied) what is the church's point on the couple being intimate? Does one confession of the procedure they have undergone allow them, in the church's eyes, continue to have an intimate physical relationship? If there is not the possibility for any future conception as a result of medical intervention, is the couple expected to refrain from sexual relations?”

I found a couple of other Catholic Q & A sites that have addressed these very questions: 1) the Diocese of Lincoln, NE and 2) catholic.com. The third commentary is from omsoul.com which addresses sterilization reversal; to view the site, please click on the title of this page.

1) If a spouse is sterile and incapable of having children, may a couple then continue to have a sexual relationship in their marriage?Certainly they may. Artificial birth prevention is forbidden by God's law, which prescribes that every marriage act must not artificially block the possibility of its being fruitful in the conception of children. However, natural sterility, either from old age or an other cause, does not preclude the legitimacy, goodness, and sacredness of a couple's sexual relationship in their marriage.

2) Q: Am I correct in assuming that a Catholic husband who has had a vasectomy cannot receive Communion? If that is true, what is the remedy? Obviously, reversal cannot always be accomplished.

A: A vasectomy constitutes grave matter. Together with full knowledge of the gravity of the action and full and free consent to the action, a mortal sin is committed. Assuming these conditions were met, the remedy is the same as for any mortal sin: the sacrament of reconciliation, through which a person is restored to a state of grace and may again receive Communion. The Church does not require that a sterilized man attempt to reverse the vasectomy. But if he chooses to do so, he might wish to contact One More Soul at www.omsoul.com.

3) Amid the pressure and confusion generated by the Culture of Death, many couples have allowed themselves to be sterilized. God, in His mercy stirs up in them a hunger for wholeness in their bodies and in their relationships. We have heard many wonderful stories from couples who had their sterilizations reversed and experienced renewal in spirit and in their relationships. Often they are blessed with additional children as well. One More Soul has a variety of resources to offer couples in this challenging process: a book of the experiences of 20 couples (in their own words) who were sterilized and made their way back to wholeness, online stories of couples who have had a sterilization reversal, names of doctors who have a complete pro-life philosophy and perform sterilization reversal surgery for men and women, encouraging books, pamphlets, and tapes to help in the journey, and online publications providing helpful information and encouragement.


At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“God, in His mercy stirs up in them a hunger for wholeness in their bodies and in their relationships.”

I like this statement, for I hadn’t thought about “wholeness” in body. After I had my last child, there was pressure from doctors, who felt additional pregnancies would be “high risk,” to have a tubal ligation. There was also pressure from family members with whom this info was shared. My personal feeling regarding the procedure was complimented by the church’s teachings, but I was at a loss to adequately explain to others how I felt; I didn’t have “plans” to have more children, but willfully removing that option from my life made me feel like I would no longer be “whole”, and it was sense in myself that went pretty deep. I don’t think of women who have gone through menopause that way, for that is a natural part of every woman’s life, but to actively make a choice to alter myself seemed wrong in a way I could not express. I now have the words.

At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God created and designed sex and not merely for procreation. God designed sex to be an act of joyful pleasure by which a husband and wife bond physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Sex between a husband and wife has the sanctity of symbolizing God's great, intimate love toward His created beings. God whats us to have a marriage that sizzles, after all marriage was His idea. He has a divine purpose and plan for every single relationship between a husband and wife. We sometimes do not think this but His plans, are always perfect.
And to keep His perfect plan you need to work at it, because life doesn't make it any easier. A new acronym I learned that I put toward my daily activities and toward my marriage to my wonderful wife is -
M otivated
A ttentive
T ender
U nderstanding
R espectful- important
E xcited

If you work on these your love will grow and last.

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

an off topic ?-
Do priests go to other priests to confess?

At 3:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the other hand, what about the argument that God blessed us with the knowledge and the know-how to overcome setbacks that at times have been known to destroy marriages and families? Obviously Jesus was cool with whoever invented big fishing boats, so that fish could be taken from places that were otherwise off-limits to man. Thus, man lived longer and better lives for him and his family.

So why is the beautiful and wonderful act of having children, even if science helps out, looked at differently? Those children have just as good odds of becoming priests or doing something truly magical and wonderful in life, but it almost sounds like the church views those kids as illegitimate aliens of some sort. Why isn't it looked at as God found a way for a couple to have children, even if it's not the way it usually happens?

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some methods of medical assistance for conception are not considered illicit by the church. I was suprised to learn that. Perhaps the church doesn't openly condone those methods but it also doesn't doesn't have an official stand against them. However, with some methods, as with IVF and any others when the egg is fertilzied outside the womb, embryos are manipuated and destroyed in the process. That's inconsistent with a pro life view. Plus, the whole concept of embryo selection is more than just weird science to me; it goes against God's natural plan. Also, just because we CAN do something doesn't mean we should.


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