Another Contraception Thread - serious health concern

There are so many threads on contraception and I have been reading through many. There are so many pages and I can’t find what I’m looking for so I’m just asking my question here. Sorry for another tread on an old topic.

I’m not Catholic…yet. Seriously considering it.

I take communion pretty seriously. I would never want to participate when not in right standing with God. From what I can understand, using contraception is considered a mortal sin.

So, with our first child my wife was diagnosed with a serious condition but made it through OK. With the second child it was even worse and she could have died. After the 2nd was born multiple doctors said they would have advised her not to even have a 2nd child and would really advise against a 3rd. We have since tried to adopt. We were there ready to take the baby home and the birth mother changed her mind. We were devastated and haven’t again considered adoption and certainly haven’t considered another pregnancy.

Our own pregnancy isn’t worth the risk to me or my wife. I do not think it would be loving to her to put her life in jeopardy. I know some will say we just aren’t trusting God enough, but I just don’t buy that argument.

So, if we have no intention to stop using contraception, would I be considered in mortal sin if I was to join the Catholic Church? Would I then never be able to participate with good conscience in the Eucharist?

What “some people” think, and what the Church teaches are two different things. The Church clearly teaches that when you have serious reasons to postpone (even indefinitely) a child, you may do so.

There are moral and immoral means of doing so.

If you are considering becoming Catholic, then you need to consider openly why the Church teaches what it does about contraception and how you can both be in conformity with the moral law God sets before us and preserve your wife’s health.

Contraception is grave matter against the sixth commandment.

However, one need not use contraception to achieve the ends you desire of preserving your wife’s health.

I urge you to consider the Church’s teaching with an open heart rather than approach it with “I’m going to do X”. As Catholics we are required to assent to Catholic teaching even if we do not yet understand it fully. That means, while you may have doubts or “disagree” you are not free to act on that such as contracepting. We are called to be faithful to ALL of Christ’s teachings, even those that are difficult.

The good news is, you don’t have to contracept to preserve your wife’s health.

Also, if you are talking about a situation where you convert and your wife does not-- and she continues to contracept-- there is certainly Church guidance for pastors on this matter and the Catholic spouse is not guilty of sin where a non-Catholic spouse refuses to stop contracepting.

The answer is NFP (natural family planning)
There are several methods that may be benificial. In general I would advise against joining a religion you would not be able to be faithful to.

I think that would be “getting away with it” - If I think we should use contraception I wouldn’t want to claim it wasn’t a sin for the reason you state above.

It depends on the situation. If she is contracepting against your wishes, it is not your sin. If you are actively contracepting or not opposed to it, then yes of course you share culpability.

You can googld Vademecum for Confessors if you want to read the Church’s pastoral guidance to confessors on the matter.

That’s heart-breaking. Would you say current practicing Catholics that use contraception (NOT NFP) should not remain in the Catholic Church?

I understand there is such a push for these natural methods. Frankly I don’t trust it when my wife’s life would hang in the balance. We use contraception that we know and trust. If I didn’t feel I could trust the current method I would get a vasectomy.

Even though you have not yet joined, I recommend you speak to a priest, either face to face or over the phone. I can also suggest, for all reading, to get advice from the National Catholic Bioethics Center:

They are able to guide you through your spiritual and medical concerns.

God bless you and your family,


If you don’t trust NFP then you shouldn’t trust contraception. If used correctly, NFP has the same or greater success rates than any contraceptive.

If you’re truly that worried about your wife’s health, then you should abstain from sex altogether, because no method is 100% successful.

Sex, while certainly a good if undergone properly, is not the cornerstone of a relationship, and shouldn’t be a reason to engage in an action that is objectively mortally sinful.

I understand your fear for your wife’s life. I am sorry that you and she are in this situation.

What HD was saying is that it can be spiritually dangerous to bind yourself to a religion that you don’t intend to be obedient to. Especially with the reality that contraception is grave matter, and receiving the Eucharist when not in a state of grace is eating and drinking condemnation upon oneself.

People who are already Catholic and use contraception (or willfully commit other sins of grave matter) do not need to leave the Church, but they should not receive the Eucharist.

Regarding NFP, there are extremely conservative methods that are safe for women in your wife’s situation. There are some that methods which make sure ovulation has already occurred before marital relations are resumed (an ova is only viable for a short period of time after release, so after confirmation of ovulation each month, and the waiting period is over, then the ova would be dissolved in the womb and not viable) via hormonal testing and/or blood tests. This is what I would encourage you to look into if you hope to join the Church.

If you are interested in joining the Church, but do not accept the authority of the Church to teach on certain matters, then it is vital that you take more time to learn and understand. Once you join, you have spiritually bound yourself to obedience. So take your time to discern.

I hope you find your way home to the Catholic Church. I am a convert, and it was the teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage and sexuality that drew me in in the first place. So I will pray for you and your wife, that the Holy Spirit will lead you in all truth, and that even the hard teachings are clear in their beauty and goodness. God bless you!

I suspect your “trust” issues arise from a lack of information:

“According to Contraceptive Technology, those who used FAB (NFP) methods correctly and consistently saw failure rates between 0.4 and 5 percent. Under typical use, however, the failure rates are between 12 and 24 percent depending on the specific FAB method.
These perfect and typical use failure rates are only slightly higher to those found with other contraceptives. For example, condoms have a “perfect use” failure rate of 2 percent. This means that when used the right way every time, they are 98 percent effective. In typical conditions, though, they fail up to 18 percent of the time, because couples use them incorrectly or forget to use them at all during intercourse. Meanwhile, the pill has a 0.3 percent failure rate if used perfectly, but a 9 percent failure rate under typical conditions”

Failure rates are only part of the issue. Discerning what the Church teaches is the other, very important part.

The CDC has the technical data but the OP needs spiritual guidance and knowledge as well.


I’m actually kind of sorry I asked. NFP isn’t going to happen. I understand NFP is pushed for in this community as much as staying away from vaccines is in the circles I run with. People are extremely passionate about it.

I do not question that the Catholic Church has a firm belief as related to birth control. I do want to know if there is any way to be in full community with the Catholic Church and still use various methods of contraception.

I have started talking more and more to the priest at the local parish and I will be talking to him about this…

If you are suggesting that I intimated otherwise, I suggest you read my entire post in red. I specifically limited that part of my response to the “trust issues” as a secondary point.

Don’t be sorry you asked, Slime. It is good to ask questions.

This issue has nothing to do with the vaccine debate. Catholics are permitted to use vaccines. It is not an intrinsic evil.

Contraception, on the other hand, is. If you don’t understand why, then definitely ask away. Ask your priest, read up on some Catholic websites, ask the apologists here at CAF.

What no one can tell you, however, is that it would be acceptable to continue with contraception while also converting to the Catholic Church. If your wife chose to continue despite your objections, your priest could help you navigate that marital challenge without falling into sin. But if contraception is a willfully chosen act on your part, despite knowing the clear teachings of the Church, then it would be spiritually dangerous for you to proceed with joining the Church and receiving the sacraments.

But right now, you are operating from a place of deep concern for the life of your wife, whom you love. You are trying to make the safest choice for her. That is commendable. It is not the avoiding of pregnancy that is the sin. It is the means in avoiding pregnancy, the choice to contracept, that is immoral. The world sees it as prudent to attempt to sterilize marital relations. The Church teaches that true prudence is to wait for the natural period of sterility in the monthly cycle to enjoy natural marital relations. I hope that helps you to see that there is a difference there, and this is an area for you to explore more through reading and discussion and prayer.

I agree with jmjZelie that you shouldn’t be sorry you asked. If you don’t ask questions, you don’t find stuff out. :wink: I’m glad that you are reaching out to a priest about this. Talking to a priest in person is generally more helpful that we are (as helpful as we try to be).

Take this all to prayer. Conversion generally requires some acquiescence on our part. And that’s not always easy. We need to be open to what God wants us to do. What would be the point of converting if we simply want to follow our own path as we were doing before?

Your situation isn’t an easy one. It seems your openness to life is being thwarted by physical limitations. That’s a cross, for sure. But you owe it to yourself to be as informed as possible. Do the research on NFP. See what is involved. For me, it’s quite helpful to know what is going on with my wife’s fertility.

God bless. I will say a prayer for you and your family.

Well here we get a little technical. Allow me to incorrectly use some terms to make a point. I think they are really out of the “church” already and perhaps even more culpable and in danger of hell than non Catholics. The plus is that they have access to saving sacraments.
I do understand your feeling believe me I do.
My wife and I are both converts who used contraception for a time. We knew it was not just against th church but we also knew it was wrong and believed that. But we chose it anyway. That is the mortalest of all mortal sins. We have grave matter(contraception which is intrinsically evil) and full consent and full knowledge but we chose it anyway. If one of us had died we would have gone to hell. So, I ask you, why would you join a faith in which you accept all the fluffy good happy parts but dismiss the ones that are hard to accept?
I suppose it is best to be Catholic because you have access to sacraments that can save you but if one refuses to confess the sin and know it’s wrong, repent and not do it anymore then what difference does it make if you are Catholic or not?
You are not required to know or believe it all when you convert, I still struggle with things. But you are required to be faithful and OBEDIENT. If you cannot, then what is it about the church that you would find “true” enough to convert?
We also have life threatening issues involving future pregnancies. We could never use artificial birth control. The satisfaction of our genital needs do not surpass our spiritual ones.

Contraceptive use is a bigger mortal sin than murder or racism?:eek:

The answer to your question is no. One cannot be in communion with the church while in mortal sin. It can’t be done. There are no faithful Catholics who use birth control for contraceptive reasons. You could convert and use abc and march up the communion line and say amen every Sunday and no one would know. Except God, the one who’s body you just put in your mouth and said amen to., He would know. And that is the only reason to convert to any faith, to have a relationship with God. Whom you cannot have a relationship with based on a lie. I suppose the same goes for the lie of contraception In marriage. While Mary is known for her “fiat” her “yes” contraception is the anti fiat the “no” of the serpent.

Does the scale of mortal sin affect the heat of the flames of hell?

Hell is probably full of people arguing over who’s sin was worse.
That’s human nature. Prisons are full of that kind of rationale. But guess what? They are all in prison…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit