Artificial Contraception + Non- Catholic spouse


#1

One thing I am continuing to struggle with as a new Catholic is the ban on artificial contraception. My wife is not Catholic, nor can I get her to understand or accept the Church’s teaching on this. Abstinence is not possible (if we intend to remain married that is) I do not know what to do, I feel awful. I tried to use NFP in my head to know when I can and cannot, but every now and then its bound to happen. Everybody has a different opinion on it, some say that it is up to me, that the practice is not written in stone, but that we should strive to follow the rule of no AFP. I don’t know what to do. I simply want to love my wife, i have to respect her beliefs as well. After all it is she who would carry the child. What do I do. Please respond with things other than, thats just the way it is and you have to deal with it. I know many of you out there have spoken with your priests and spiritual counselors on this issue. What have you learned. Thank you in advance.


#2

Have you taken an NFP class? Has she been willing to try? It sounds like you are the one making the effort, when the woman needs to be participating since it is her body you’re looking for the signs of fertility from. If not, I’d suggest, if you wife is willing, to take a class. It will help a lot.

The other thing, maybe to mention, is how ABC (esp. the Pill) is so unhealthy for the woman. If she understood fully what it REALLY does to her body and can do to her health, she may think again about using it.

Either way, you are in my prayers :).


#3

I know the difficulty with which you are in. I am married to a Lutheran who even after years of practicing NFP. The difference in our situations is I am the woman so, if I choose, I can do the charting all by myself and interpret them all by myself since it is my signs we need to follow.

May I suggest that you get your wife this book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler? It is a secular book talking about NFP. I understand it does talk about using condoms or other barrier methods but it will give your wife some idea of what it is all about and how it is far healthier for both of you (especially her) if you use NFP.

My prayers are with you and your wife.

Brenda V.


#4

Another person asked a similar question on the Ask an Apologist Forum and got the following answer, which you may find comforting:

** Feeling trapped regarding birth control–what do I do?**

Hi,

You need to know that the Church does allow you to engage in sexual relations with a spouse who is using birth control. The dissenting spouse must be the one who is using it and not you. Also you must continue to educate and encourage the spouse according to the Church’s teachings on this matter.

I encourage you to read and have your wife read “Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West. It’s available through shopcatholic.com or by phone 888 291 8000.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


#5

I am sorry this is a wedge between you in your marriage. I hope in time she will come to understand and embrace the teaching. Or, minimally, that she will embrace NFP on it’s own merits.

The church provides guidance for just this type of situation. You are not alone in your struggle with a non-believing spouse.

I encourage you to read this document and discuss your situation with your priest.

First of all, you cannot do NFP in your head as it is your wife who has signs of fertility. If you are thinking calendar rhythm, this is NOT NFP.

I’m not sure I understand the rest of your statement. Every now and then what is ‘bound to happen’?

It does not matter what everyone else says, or does, it matters what the Church teaches. And, that is something you can know with certainty. The Church teaches that contraception is gravely disordered and never an option.

You cannot contracept.

I suggest you read the document link I posted above. YOU cannot contracept. If she insists on using a method of contraception herself, the above document gives guidance to you as to having intercourse. It is not forbidden in this case, if you are not the one doing the contracepting and are trying to dissuade your wife.

I think you need to talk to **YOUR **priest.


#6

Thank you for the posts and links to point me in the correct direction.

Just to clear up some points:

You need to know that the Church does allow you to engage in sexual relations with a spouse who is using birth control. The dissenting spouse must be the one who is using it and not you. Also you must continue to educate and encourage the spouse according to the Church’s teachings on this matter.

I was minimally aware of this, this is good news, unfortuneatly, along time ago (before I became Catholic) we decided against ever using chemical contraception due to its effect on the woman’s body and thus its potential side effects later, so the burden is left on me with the only option left available, latex prophylactics. I have in the past stated my aversion to using such things, my wife thinks it is crazy. I am trying.

It does not matter what everyone else says, or does, it matters what the Church teaches. And, that is something you can know with certainty. The Church teaches that contraception is gravely disordered and never an option.

I do go by what the church teaches, however, in discussions with RCIA leaders and others in the Church, I have found that the teaching itself is open to interpretation, or so it seems. The Pope went with the minority opinion of the cardinals and has never proclaimed the practice law so to speak. Very confusing, there are priests all over (Roman Catholic Priests in communion with Rome) who disagree with the teaching etc. This is why I said before that it doesn’t appear written in stone.

I truly want to be in the right with this. I have a non-Christian wife (whole 'nother issue) who thinks that some of my new fangled beliefs are simply crazy. I am attempting to walk a tight rope here in presenting this or that to her and still keep our marriage secure. All of your prayers are appreciated, thank you, and I will look at the links you all posted as well as the book. Thanks again.


#7

Unfortunately, your use of condoms is not permitted. I’m sorry for any confusion created in your RCIA class (chalk another one up to bad catechesis…drives me crazy!!!) but it IS written in stone. The teaching is not open to interpretation, as much as certain priests and bishops wish it were, and it does not matter how many of them dissent from Church teaching…you can’t argue with 2000 years of consistency! :slight_smile: I would suggest reading the other info everyone else gave you, and praying for your wife, and to stop using the condoms. You cannot morally participate in that way, and you are sending a confusing message to her. Tell her you want to hold nothing back from her and reject nothing from her, including your fertility. Besides, showing her some simple stats about NFP should win her over…WAYYYYYYY more effective than a piece of latex! Try www.ccli.org and www.creightonmodel.com


#8

I hope the document helped clear up for you that you cannot contracept. So, this practice of using condoms is problematic. Continence may be necessary until your wife is willing to explore NFP.

No, it is not “open to interpretation”. The Church’s teaching is clear, definite, and readily available to you. I am sorry that people have misled you.

This is incorrect. Again, I’m sorry people have led you to believe otherwise.

The fact that priests sin does not negate the doctrine of the Church. They will have the sin of disobedience and of leading others to sin on their shoulders. The Church has censured theologians and priests for holding a dissenting position on contraception. Unfortunately, the Vatican and the Bishops cannot be everywhere, hear every homily or conversation, and police every priest.

However, what the Bishops can do, and what they have done, is present the teaching clearly so that all may know what it is. That is why this clear teaching is found in the Catechism. Anyone teaching something other than what is in the Catechism is teaching wrongly. Period.

Remember Our Lord’s words: what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his life?

While it is quite right that you are trying to “keep our marriage secure” you can do *only *those things that do not cause you to sin.

You must keep your soul, your eternal salvation at the forefront-- and hers too. Sinning to “gain” a secure marriage may cause you to “lose” what is really important-- your relationship with God.


#9

Here’s a question (doesn’t apply to me, but to someone else I know):

A Catholic woman is married to a non-Catholic husband. Her husband tells her to use the Pill. How does that fit in with following God’s law, and also “obeying” your husband as according to marriage vows?


#10

One cannot transgress the moral law for any reason.

Your example is not a valid one because the husband cannot demand that his spouse commit a sin. It is an invalid demand, and a spouse would not be obligated to fulfill it.


#11

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