Adoption vs Procreation


Suppose a married couple is not infertile but, for purposes of avoiding overpopulation and a desire to reach out to the parentless, decides to adopt instead of naturally have children. Would the Catholic Church consider this “wrong” or is it perfectly acceptable?


Overpopulation is not a current concern so I assume you are contemplating a future hypothetical scenario, but a hard to grasp one, given that more than 2 children per couple is required to sustain a stable or growing population.

Prior to marriage, a couple thinking along these lines would be advised not to marry, but to consider a vocation of caring for the homeless or parentless.

If already married, and coming to this view that they are unwilling to have any children of their own, the couple could consider a Josephite marriage, which would be compatible with their objectives, but rare and for most of us unrealistic.

I did not read into your scenario a serious suggestion that the couple would have grounds to practice NFP for the whole of their married life.


There is nothing wrong with adopting children.


I think the OP wanted you to comment on the “instead of” bit in her post.


I don’t want to hijack this thread, but I’m wondering whether you could say something similar about so-called “global climate change” or “global warming.”

We cannot speak of the climate on one day. For a day, the appropriate word is “weather.” Nor can we speak of the climate in one season of one year. Climate is by definition a characteristic of some geographical region over a relatively long period of time, and that whole interval of time lies in the past insofar as the climate of that interval of time has known rather than merely anticipated characteristics.

However, there is certainly some hype about global warming or global climate change. Is all of the hype coming from people who are pretending to be concerned, and not really concerned?

In a nutshell, my question is: if you start from the assumption that something isn’t currently a problem, then can you reach the conclusion that it isn’t currently a concern?


Catholics are not supposed to marry with the intention of never being open to life. There is nothing wrong about adopting children, and after children are adopted, Catholic parents may have a good reason to avoid a pregnancy for a time, but that is different from declaring from the get go that they refuse to have children.


You simply dismiss overpopulation as of no concern. It was the reason given by the questioner. I think with more than 7 billion people we are already stretching our resources.


Still fine. As far as the relevant points go:

First, there is no requirement in marriage to have sex. There just has to be the ability to have sex at the time of marriage.

Second, there can be no permanent intent against having children. If the couple is adopting children, that’s a pretty good sign that the intention against having children doesn’t exist. :slight_smile:


I didn’t dismiss it - I expressed my view that it is not at a level of concern that would make the OP’s scenario a current day reality, and that I presumed it was raised as a hypothetical, and suggested how she might deal with such a situation.


Fine - your response now more resembles mine! But your last sentence contradicts the OP’s stated intention - which was to adopt **instead of **have children. I think the OP’s scenario does include a permanent intention not to have children, though this intention arises after marriage. Hence, their licit choices would then be:

  • Josephite Marriage (no sex); or
  • NFP for so long as their overpopulation concern constitutes just reason.

To my mind, the more taxing question arises for the couple who have one or more children, and then feel their talents do not run to managing a large household and look to apply their talents (generously) in other ways, but avoiding more children via NFP.


The Church/Canon law does not make the distinction between natural or adopted children.

I think the OP’s scenario does include a permanent intention not to have children,

The OP is clearly describing a couple who wishes to have children. You’re attempting to make a distinction between different types of children; i.e., natural and adopted. The Church makes no such distinction.


Your use of the verb “to have” (children) is not the common language meaning!

So, marrying with the intention to adopt, and not to have (natural) children is acceptable? I haven’t heard that before. Presumably the marriage would need to be Josephite, absent a serious reason to avoid natural children? In which case, this collapses to the right to enter a Josephite marriage, which was already on the table!


Not by the wording, the proposition is attempting to put a greater value on reaching out to the parent-less and adapt, then the guidelines in the church’s teaching concerning these area’s. Population is introduced as a crisis concern, i don’t know maybe it is a critical crisis concern, but there is no explanation.

a married couple due to overpopulation decides, to not have children naturally and are intending on reaching out to the parent-less and adapt.

so the proposed becomes,

a hypothetical couple has decided not to have children. Due to over population they are going to adapt .


You keep distinguishing between children that are adopted and children that are born from the married couple. That is an improper distinction, not used by the Church. In fact, the Church treats adopted children exactly the same as “natural” children; e.g., a parent cannot marry an adopted child (diriment impediment). Children are children…period.

With regard to "Josephite marriage, I don’t believe that the Church even officially uses that term. Anyway, such a marriage is done under spiritual guidance prior to marriage. I don’t believe that a marriage defaults to a “Josephite” marriage after the fact. The couple could certainly choose to not have sex, since abstinence is never sinful if both spouses agree.


If the couple intend to avoid natural children for the entirety of their marriage, can they use NFP for their entire marriage, absent a serious reason to avoid natural children? I understand the answer is no.


The problem with discussions like this is that details matter.

The way this specific scenario is being played out is that the couple, open to life, is adopting children and raising a family, yet are sinning. I cringe at the thought.


Is the problem with the discussion? Or are you cringing at something else?

Is that why you respond to me only indirectly?


The way the question plays out is pretty clear,

If a hypothetical couple is open to adaption, can the couple have a different set of guidelines.

not judging in 'any way at all ', a proposition is a proposition.


I think the question is understood. Do you have a comment on any of the responses given so far?


That is my comment, there has been no progress, so I need to explain the question so things are understood,

If the question was understood , and clearly shown , there would not be all these problems .

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