Can I date a non-Catholic on birth control?


#1

I'm new here so I hope I'm posting this in the correct place. I'm just in an ethical dilemma and would appreciate advice from others of my same faith (I'm Catholic). This may need a little (or a lot of) background to explain the situation so I apologize in advance for the long post:

A few months ago I met a girl and we clicked like I had never done with another girl before. I'm not necessarily saying this is the spouse God has for me, but I feel that for one reason or another God sent her at the perfect time when I was feeling very alone. I felt I could open up to her (we both shared our life stories with one another).

Our main issue was birth control. Though she is Christian bu non-Catholic (Lutheran), she knows I (and the Church) am against it. However, she says she needs to be on birth control because she has irregular cycles (apparently very irregular), but I don't know how true this really is. She believes, since she was told by her doctor (when she started taking the pills 5 years ago) and through her own research that birth control is the only way. I mentioned NFP and she was even open to it but somewhere read that it's not effective in women with irregular cycles.

About a month ago we spent a whole day discussing this (and other small issues) to try to discern what was the right thing to do. We both wanted to continue dating but knew we needed to resolve these differences or they would come up again eventually. She said she doesn't want to be on birth control but is convinced that it is necessary for her to use it. However, she also mentioned that after she got married (regardless of with who) she would like to enjoy a few years only with her husband (aka no children).

I tried to discern what to do in the midst of all these details. I know non-Catholics are not obligated to follow Catholic beliefs but I wasn't sure if it was morally acceptable to keep dating her under these circumstances. Not seeing a way to resolve our issues, I decided we should break up.

About a month after our breakup, I recognize that I still have feelings for her. My question is, did I really do the "right thing" and did I oversee any way in which our relationship could work out while still being morally acceptable and right under the Church's eyes?

Thanks for any feedback


#2

This is, truly, a dealbreaker. No you cannot enter marriage with her knowing she is going to contracept and reject the Church’s teaching on marriage, family, and fertility.

Regarding “irregular” periods, I am afraid she has gotten bad information regarding NFP. =

It is unlikely you will be able to convince her otherwise.

When discerning marriage and any other decision, you need to think about whether or not God would really call you to sin.


#3

Actually, from what I understand, since she isn’t Catholic, she isn’t obligated to follow Church law and you are allowed to date, as long as she knows you don’t agree with it. You would even be allowed to marry, though she should take your opposition into consideration.

And, from what I understand, if a woman is prescribed and uses birth control for medical purposes (even a Catholic woman), it is permissible to use it for medical purposes, and to engage in the marital act (if within marriage, of course), since contraception isn’t the goal in using birth control in this case. (Though, at the very least you should hope/ask if there is an alternative, or that the birth control is a non-abortifacient).

I believe this was covered in one or two of the CAL podcasts and in other threads.


#4

[quote="bzkoss236, post:3, topic:301021"]
Actually, from what I understand, since she isn't Catholic, she isn't obligated to follow Church law and you are allowed to date, as long as she knows you don't agree with it. You would even be allowed to marry, though she should take your opposition into consideration.

And, from what I understand, if a woman is prescribed and uses birth control for medical purposes (even a Catholic woman), it is permissible to use it for medical purposes, and to engage in the marital act (if within marriage, of course), since contraception isn't the goal in using birth control in this case. (Though, at the very least you should hope/ask if there is an alternative, or that the birth control is a non-abortifacient).

I believe this was covered in one or two of the CAL podcasts and in other threads.

[/quote]

This. The Catholic Church does indeed make exceptions for women who elect to use birth control for medical purposes such as heavy periods, painful, reoccurring cysts, endometriosis, and other such conditions. Contrary to 1ke’s assertion, such women are not in “sin.” However, I am also relatively certain that there is an ongoing debate on whether it is morally permissible for married, Catholic couples to engage in intercourse while the wife is on birth control for medical reasons. I would posit that there would not be a consensus if you were to consult a number of priests regarding this ambiguity. If there is no uniform agreement, I would suggest you attempt to rekindle your relationships with your ex-girlfriend. She sounds like she would really compliment you as a person and as a fellow Christian.

One strong word of caution: If you decide to marry her, BE VERY CAREFUL to abstain from intercourse while she is on the pill. If she does become pregnant while on the pill, it could take weeks or even months for her to realize she is pregnant. Instead, decide when you would like to have children so that she can get off of the pill. After she gets off the pill, wait one month for her to take pregnancy supplements, especially folic acid supplements, before you attempt to conceive. It is VERY important for a woman who wishes to become pregnant to take folic acid supplements one month before conception and one month after conception. Folic acid supplements drastically reduce the chances of your child developing a host of very disabling physical deformities, such as spina bifida. Also, before you decide on having children, please insist that both of you get genetically tested. Please, please, please write these two things down and remember to discuss them with your future spouse before having children.

To 1ke: It is quite common for women to suffer from irregular or otherwise abnormal periods. It is highly presumptuous and uncharitable to use quotations for the word ‘irregular.’


#5

You showed great courage in breaking up. It is clear from her desire to have time to spend with just her husband and no children that she has an outlook incompatible with the Catholic faith. I went through a similar experience and it took us a long time to admit that it was not going to work with our differing views. Stay strong, brother.


#6

The original post is confusing, because its including everything from taking birth control pills to address a medical issue to avoid having children. Taking hormones to address medical issues, such as issues pertaining to irregular periods and bleeding, is permitted. Spouses are also permitted to have relations while the woman is taking these hormones. Taking these same hormones for the purpose of avoiding children is an altogether different issue, and would create major problems if attempting to marry in the Catholic Church.


#7

Sorry you had to let her go. Since you were uncertain how to proceed, it is good that you chose to err on the side of caution. Next time you face such a difficult dilemma, I encourage you to discuss it with your priest before acting. (You can bring it up here, but remember that we’re anonymous strangers)

If you ever end up in a conversation on NFP with her again (don’t go out of your way to bring it up), let her know about the Marquette model, which uses a computerized monitor to track the woman’s actual hormones. This gives it the ability handle many difficult scenarios. (however, STM, Creighton and Billings can also be used with irregular cycles)


#8

In my point of view, her usage of that medication should not be a reason split up, because it is difficult enough to find a good match, but like you indicated, I would also guess that she has a different attitude towards divorce, among other things. It may complicate things in your marriage, but also in raising children, but there are bigger sins that can be made, in my point of view. Hopefully your behaviour doesn’t finally astray your beliefs out of frustration.


#9

She may easily be taking them for a gynaecological problem


#10

If contraception is used for preventing pregnancy even if prescribed for something else it is a GRAVE offense and mortal sin. There is ALWAYS an alternative to birth control, even for medical issues. Catholic-friendly doctors warn against birth control for various reasons. Just because it’s the “easiest” way doesn’t make it the right way. That’d be like a guy wearing a condom (not that there’d be a reason for it) but say he kept it lubricated because he had a skin condintion on his little soldier. Then if he decided, “hey. I’m wearing this condom for medical reasons. So wanna have sex? There’s a good chance it’ll prevent a pregnancy so we’re good”. That’s no different at all from anyone putting a condom on for sex. If a woman is on birth control than chastity is the only way until she is “off” birth control. Otherwise all sexual relations would be sinful.


#11

This is contrary to what the Church teaches. See #15 in the document below:

vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html

There is ALWAYS an alternative to birth control, even for medical issues.

If the use is to treat a medical issue, then it is not birth control; it’s primary function is medical. It’s important to note that distinction, otherwise the discussion on the matter becomes confused.

As far as alternatives go, that’s up to patient and doctor. I agree that doctors tend to overmedicate patients. That because they tend to treat symptoms rather than effect cures, simply because it’s easier, and hormones can treat symptoms rather quickly. However, I’ve seen circumstances where they are warranted, such as preventing blood loss that’s so heavy the woman actually faints.


#12

You’ve gotten some bad information along the way.

A Catholic who is already married and whose spouse starts contracepting against the other spouse’s objection is an innocent party sinned against and might be able to continue relations with that spouse under the guidance of their confessor if they follow the guidelines of the document Vademecum for Confessors.

In this case, the couple is not married. The Catholic cannot go into the marriage knowing the other intends to contracept. That is cooperation with the sin, not being an innocent party sinned against after they have spoken vows.

Re-read the OP. The OP states she would want to use it the first few years, at least, to prevent pregnancy. That is not a use for a legitimate medical condition.


#13

First of all, don’t put too much meaning into random meetings. You can meet someone with whom you have common interests and a spark of sexual attraction without believing that God “sent” that person to you.

As for the birth control for irregular periods - valid for treating medical conditions in the view of the Church. There are people here who believe that any medical condition requiring hormones can actually be treated effectively without hormones. Certainly worth a try.

When the conversation morphs into taking birth control for birth control because of irregular periods, then that is something with no grey area. It is not permitted to use artificial birth control.

And, the idea that you have to spend time together before kids to get to know each other is bogus. Once you have kids, you change. You’ve wasted all that time getting to know someone who doesn’t exist anymore.


#14

Congrats , I see no problems with this at all. It sounds as if this is beyond simple contraceptive use. Enjoy the Christian faith mutually


#15

I’m married to a non-Catholic. I love my spouse deeply, but the differences in our faiths has been a difficult burden to bear. Based on my experience, if (God forbid it!) I find myself free to marry in the future, I will not under any circumstances become involved with a non-Catholic. I suggest the same to all.

You are both in my prayers.


#16

two things #1)

Banned Topics
Soliciting or proffering financial, legal, medical, or mental health advice

#2)

Also, before you decide on having children, please insist that both of you get genetically tested.

Catholics have made the decision to have children by the act of marriage ,to get married in the Church one has to be open to life.and getting tested for genetic reasons after marriage ,i don’t know why one would because they can’t use abc for the fear of an disabled child being conceived . before marriage i do not know if that is permitted for the purpose of deciding whether or not to marry.


#17

look ,you have mistaken views on the Churchs teaching on this subject .and you with several others insist on giving medical advice when it is banned on this forum.for good reason reading some of the statements made here.


#18

As one of the women who needs to use contraceptive pills, I can tell you this isn’t true. I tried everything I could before going on them. It got to the point where the only alternative I had left was a combination of narcotic painkillers and antidepressant pills. Nothing else I tried reduced either the pain or the wild, near-suicidal mood swings that I’d get.


#19

[quote="DarkLight, post:18, topic:301021"]
As one of the women who needs to use contraceptive pills, I can tell you this isn't true. I tried everything I could before going on them. It got to the point where the only alternative I had left was a combination of narcotic painkillers and antidepressant pills. Nothing else I tried reduced either the pain or the wild, near-suicidal mood swings that I'd get.

[/quote]

you should have checked with the practitioners on CAF first.


#20

I think you did the right thing, and the hard thing. As a Catholic, you did the smart thing and realize you saved the both of you some real future struggle and heart ache. It’s difficult now but it would have been multiplied by 10 if you had continued in the relationship and gotten married. You showed some real strength of character in recognizing very real difficulties and making the hard decision to allow both of you to find a more suitable life partner.

Although this issue is a deal breaker, there are many other issues that would have come up, like the Eucharist, confessing to a priest, the Blessed Mother and the Rosary, the intercession of the saints, etc. Many non-Catholic Christians have agreed to raise the children Catholic because it was a road block easily removed to get married, but once settled into family life, these things can be a source of contention and stress and open for debate. Family life is full of difficulties without adding faith ones!

God bless.


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