Can Preventive Contraception be OK for married couple?


#1

A brief background of myself:

  1. I am a husband and a father of 3 children.
  2. I had one marital affair that I broke it off after 4 months relationship with no sexual intercourse.
  3. I have been struggling to use natural family planning with my wife and many times, due to our unfortunate strong sexual desires, I use condom.
  4. I don't want to receive communion after using contraception and not until after I go to confession.
  5. My 2 children were born out of our plan due to the failure of calendar system and now we are getting worried because of the advance age of my wife who still doesn't have menopause yet.

ALL of the more than 10 priests we confess to about us using contraception, advise me and my wife that as long as the preventive contraception is for the happiness of the married couple and strengthening their marital bonds, preventive contraception can be morally OK to be used occasionally and responsibly. We know a lot of catholic couples who have happy active spiritual and church life while practicing contraception in their marriage. The Lord seems to bless their marriage and family.

To prevent second marital affair and to prevent committing adultery in my heart, I was thinking to have more frequent sexual intercourse with my wife as mean to channel my strong sexual desire that often times, are easily aroused when looking at other women who are sexually attractive. I am working on to combat my flirtatiousness nature and while doing so, I need to find the best solution to remedy my situation.

Countless times, I was not excited going to mass because I cannot receive communion and worse, I become lazy in daily prayers because I am not in the state of grace.

The other day when I was in Adoration room, I told this to Jesus:
Lord, I have problem with abstaining from sexual intercourse with my wife during the 3 weeks unsafe period. Sometimes I could manage holding it up until the safe period but many times I fail and when I fail, I cannot receive communion until I confess. I am tired of confessing the same sin to you again and again while so many other people don't even feel guilty about doing the same and they get the right place to channel their sexual desires and even worse, your priests say it is not a sin. Lord, you know why I use contraception and is it OK if I use the contraception and still receive the communion without going to confession?

And the Lord answered almost immediately: "I want you to be good!"

What does the Lord mean when He says: "I want you to be good!"?

Can it be true that the Lord, somehow allow me using preventive contraception rather than having numerous adultery in my heart? In choosing the lesser evil, my wife thinks that the Lord may mean that preventive contraception is OK to prevent adultery in my heart.

I am confused with the true meaning of the Lord's answer: "I want you to be good!" Maybe someone here can get the enlightenment from the Holy Spirit to advise me on what it takes and what to do to be "good" with the concern of preventive contraception vs. committing adultery in my heart?

Please advise.
Thanks.


#2

Natural family planning can be morally acceptable when there is a reason for it. Pope Pius XII said, from Address to Midwives: The reason is that marriage obliges the partners to a state of life, which even as it confers certain rights so it also imposes the accomplishment of a positive work concerning the state itself. In such a case, the general principle may be applied that a positive action may be omitted if grave motives, independent of the good will of those who are obliged to perform it, show that its performance is inopportune, or prove that it may not be claimed with equal right by the petitioner—in this case, mankind.

The matrimonial contract, which confers on the married couple the right to satisfy the inclination of nature, constitutes them in a state of life, namely, the matrimonial state. Now, on married couples, who make use of the specific act of their state, nature and the Creator impose the function of providing for the preservation of mankind. This is the characteristic service which gives rise to the peculiar value of their state, the bonum prolis. The individual and society, the people and the State, the Church itself, depend for their existence, in the order established by God, on fruitful marriages. Therefore, to embrace the matrimonial state, to use continually the faculty proper to such a state and lawful only therein, and, at the same time, to avoid its primary duty without a grave reason, would be a sin against the very nature of married life.

Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called "indications," may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life. From this it follows that the observance of the natural sterile periods may be lawful, from the moral viewpoint: and it is lawful in the conditions mentioned. If, however, according to a reasonable and equitable judgment, there are no such grave reasons either personal or deriving from exterior circumstances, the will to avoid the fecundity of their union, while continuing to satisfy to the full their sensuality, can only be the result of a false appreciation of life and of motives foreign to sound ethical principles.

~ Address to Midwives, Given by His Holiness Pope Pius XII, 29 October 1951
From my study notes:

Use of Condoms

Deposition of semen in the vagina is a necessary condition for the conjugal act to retain its unitive significance. Each and every conjugal act must embody the intention of complete "self-donation," otherwise one is withholding from one's partner something natural to the act, which deprives the conjugal act of the unitive significance, making it morally illicit.

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
Note on the banalization of sexuality
Regarding certain interpretations of "Light of the World"
The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought.

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20101221_luce-del-mondo_en.html




#3

To be Good is to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. To develop virtues, and suppress vices. It is evil to contracept, and it is also a vice to be enslaved to the flesh. If the medical issues are so serious that you are obligated to abstain during fertile periods, then do abstain. If you haven't the control to abstain then acquire it through the discipline of fasting and prayer.

God bless you brother.
Sincerely,
Iggy.


#4

How can you have 3 weeks unsafe time? That is way too long. You need to meet with a good NFP counselor who will look specificly at your wife's cycle.

Also Priests give up sex for life! So don't even try to make excuses like you will have an affair if you can't have sex with your wife all the time. That sounds selfish. You are betraying your wife when you check out other women. You should not be looking at other women, and allowing temptation to grow in you. Look away!

It would be helpful to contact an NFP instructor, so you can narrow down the abstenance days. :)


#5

Your situation must be hard, and I wish you all the best.

To answer your question: contraception is intrinsically evil (the "wrongness" does not come from nor depend on anything outside of what contraception is, ie the denial of the procreative aspect of the marital act).

Because it is intrinsically evil, it is not permitted even in such cases as yours. The command to "be good" can never mean "be bad now so that it's easier to be good later." "Being good" means to always in every situation to strive to do what is good, and when we fail to repent. It definitely does not include working a constant evil into our lives in order to make it easier on us when it comes to other evils.

The priests you spoke with are simply wrong. The answer may seem a bit legalistic, but that is only because it's being stated in isolation without reference to where it came from. There is a wealth of information on the subject - both in situations like yours and in general - and I suggest you look over it.

A couple sources I found quickly (the first may be more relevant to you):
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=104551
catholic.com/tracts/contraception-and-sterilization


#6

Contraception isn't going to provide the answer to your problem. One look at society can prove that. It will not stop you from being flirtatious or prevent another affair. That's a deeper issue that needs to be looked at. However, I will say that there is nothing wrong with wanting more frequent intimacy with your wife. Three weeks of abstinence sounds like an awfully long time. The norm is a lot shorter than that.
I want you to know that I understand your struggles...I think we all struggle with this. Contraception isn't the answer though.


#7

#8

To prevent second marital affair and to prevent committing adultery in my heart, I was thinking to have more frequent sexual intercourse with my wife as mean to channel my strong sexual desire that often times, are easily aroused when looking at other women who are sexually attractive.

That is not the purpose of a wife. This is using your wife as a vessel, as a means of satisfying your own lust in the same way as masturbation. Perhaps, in addition to learning to look at other women respectfully (excellent exercise to imagine that woman as your own daughter), you might start looking at your wife with a little more respect. The marital embrace should be about mutual giving and love, not satisfying some perceived condition of being over-sexed.

My husband says that minding his eyes and then minding his imagination are things he feels make him a real man for me and a father for his son. And I hear him teaching my son the same thing, not letting my son's developmental delay be an excuse. Its not easy, but that's what being a Godly man is about.


#9

[quote="panorama, post:1, topic:318188"]
A brief background of myself:

  1. I am a husband and a father of 3 children.
  2. I had one marital affair that I broke it off after 4 months relationship with no sexual intercourse.
  3. I have been struggling to use natural family planning with my wife and many times, due to our unfortunate strong sexual desires, I use condom.
  4. I don't want to receive communion after using contraception and not until after I go to confession.
  5. My 2 children were born out of our plan due to the failure of calendar system and now we are getting worried because of the advance age of my wife who still doesn't have menopause yet.

ALL of the more than 10 priests we confess to about us using contraception, advise me and my wife that as long as the preventive contraception is for the happiness of the married couple and strengthening their marital bonds, preventive contraception can be morally OK to be used occasionally and responsibly. We know a lot of catholic couples who have happy active spiritual and church life while practicing contraception in their marriage. The Lord seems to bless their marriage and family.

To prevent second marital affair and to prevent committing adultery in my heart, I was thinking to have more frequent sexual intercourse with my wife as mean to channel my strong sexual desire that often times, are easily aroused when looking at other women who are sexually attractive. I am working on to combat my flirtatiousness nature and while doing so, I need to find the best solution to remedy my situation.

[/quote]

Everyone here has given you good sound advice based on the teachings of the Church. We can do no other.

Any specifics relating to your particular situation MUST be private - between you, your wife, your priestly counselor and the Lord Himself.

Countless times, I was not excited going to mass because I cannot receive communion and worse, I become lazy in daily prayers because I am not in the state of grace.

Yes - I can see how this would be wearing on one's heart.

The other day when I was in Adoration room, I told this to Jesus:
Lord, I have problem with abstaining from sexual intercourse with my wife during the 3 weeks unsafe period. Sometimes I could manage holding it up until the safe period but many times I fail and when I fail, I cannot receive communion until I confess. I am tired of confessing the same sin to you again and again while so many other people don't even feel guilty about doing the same and they get the right place to channel their sexual desires and even worse, your priests say it is not a sin. Lord, you know why I use contraception and is it OK if I use the contraception and still receive the communion without going to confession?

And the Lord answered almost immediately: "I want you to be good!"

What does the Lord mean when He says: "I want you to be good!"?

Can it be true that the Lord, somehow allow me using preventive contraception rather than having numerous adultery in my heart? In choosing the lesser evil, my wife thinks that the Lord may mean that preventive contraception is OK to prevent adultery in my heart.

I am confused with the true meaning of the Lord's answer: "I want you to be good!" Maybe someone here can get the enlightenment from the Holy Spirit to advise me on what it takes and what to do to be "good" with the concern of preventive contraception vs. committing adultery in my heart?

Please advise.
Thanks.

I'm afraid that only the Lord can answer this question for you. Please continue to pray. Continue to visit the adoration chapel. Share this with your wife and ask her to pray for guidance too.

I will say this...The fact that this troubles you so means that your heart, your spirit, is in the right place even if your discipline - the flesh - is weak. Spiritually, you are in a much better place than the people you mention who do this and don't even feel guilty.

However - as to specifically what God meant when He told you, "I want you to be good", and how to go about implementing His desire for you...That you will have to get from him.

I will briefly address one other thing...
In overcoming this sort of sin, one may need to attack it like a "diet and exercise" program. Commitment is needed, self discipline is needed, and goals (intermediate and ultimate) are needed. It may be helpful to set goals that reduce the number of sins in a given month instead of trying to quit all at once.

In this way, your grow in holiness. You get better... You become good.

Discuss this with our Lord in prayer.

Peace
James


#10

"Preventative" contraception? Is there any other kind? :confused:


#11

[quote="sojo, post:8, topic:318188"]
To prevent second marital affair and to prevent committing adultery in my heart, I was thinking to have more frequent sexual intercourse with my wife as mean to channel my strong sexual desire that often times, are easily aroused when looking at other women who are sexually attractive.

That is not the purpose of a wife. This is using your wife as a vessel, as a means of satisfying your own lust in the same way as masturbation. Perhaps, in addition to learning to look at other women respectfully (excellent exercise to imagine that woman as your own daughter), you might start looking at your wife with a little more respect. The marital embrace should be about mutual giving and love, not satisfying some perceived condition of being over-sexed.

My husband says that minding his eyes and then minding his imagination are things he feels make him a real man for me and a father for his son. And I hear him teaching my son the same thing, not letting my son's developmental delay be an excuse. Its not easy, but that's what being a Godly man is about.

[/quote]

Good advice. While I think the OP displays a genuine love for his wife's well being (concern for a late life pregnancy) - it is important to look at the matter in a comprehensive way. Such shifting of one's viewpoints and understandings can go a long way in this regard.

That said...I applaud the OP for trying to deal with these issues and desiring to do what is pleasing to God.

Peace
James


#12

[quote="Chatter163, post:10, topic:318188"]
"Preventative" contraception? Is there any other kind? :confused:

[/quote]

Good point - but I think the OP is trying to distinguish between that which actually prevents conception and that which might allow conception but prevent implantation.

Peace
James


#13

[quote="JRKH, post:9, topic:318188"]

I will briefly address one other thing...
In overcoming this sort of sin, one may need to attack it like a "diet and exercise" program. Commitment is needed, self discipline is needed, and goals (intermediate and ultimate) are needed. It may be helpful to set goals that reduce the number of sins in a given month instead of trying to quit all at once.

In this way, your grow in holiness. You get better... You become good.

Discuss this with our Lord in prayer.

Peace
James

[/quote]

There is a missing and vitally important element missing here: grace. It is putting fully your trust in the Lord who acknowledges your effort even in your failure of result. Without opening the door to His grace, any form of "exercise" or "spiritual combat" really just becomes an exercise of self willpower, which given our sinful natures, is doomed to failure, sometimes spectacular failure. It's not through our will that we succeed, but through His will. That requires placing full trust not only in His justice but also His mercy.

One may never achieve perfection with habitual sin, given our sinful natures. But one sure can make huge progress. Any conversion that does not go deep into the heart of self-acceptance as-is, where is, with all that is good and bad about us, and relies entirely on externals to overcome sin, is really no more than an exercise of the ego.

God loves us as we are and appreciates our efforts, but it is only when we come to fully realize this fact that we are able to fully return our love to Him. And that is when our desire to sin starts to become overtaken by a genuine desire to not want to offend Him.

If I can say this, it's from personal experience with my own deep flaws and temptations. The attempt at overcoming sins solely through "exercises" and prayer led to a spectacular meltdown and the near destruction of my marriage.

I would add: I agree on the target the OP is to aim for, but I think the methods for getting there are more dependent on grace than our own will.


#14

You mention calendar rhythm method-- that is very old and unreliable. There are many modern methods with much better systems of observation for fertile signs.

Have you and your wife actually taken a class in NPF?


#15

I'll pray for you. I don't think you'll see any improvement using contraceptives, but rather seperate sex from the deeper meaning behind it. Seeing someone else as an object to fill your needs is a recipe to view others even more in the same way.

Find an orthodox priest and a good NFP teacher. And also understand that most people do confess the same things over and over. Mostly we don't suddenly start struggling with new sins. Christ is always waiting to forgive and give you grace.


#16

[quote="OraLabora, post:13, topic:318188"]
There is a missing and vitally important element missing here: grace. It is putting fully your trust in the Lord who acknowledges your effort even in your failure of result. Without opening the door to His grace, any form of "exercise" or "spiritual combat" really just becomes an exercise of self willpower, which given our sinful natures, is doomed to failure, sometimes spectacular failure. It's not through our will that we succeed, but through His will. That requires placing full trust not only in His justice but also His mercy.

One may never achieve perfection with habitual sin, given our sinful natures. But one sure can make huge progress. Any conversion that does not go deep into the heart of self-acceptance as-is, where is, with all that is good and bad about us, and relies entirely on externals to overcome sin, is really no more than an exercise of the ego.

God loves us as we are and appreciates our efforts, but it is only when we come to fully realize this fact that we are able to fully return our love to Him. And that is when our desire to sin starts to become overtaken by a genuine desire to not want to offend Him.

If I can say this, it's from personal experience with my own deep flaws and temptations. The attempt at overcoming sins solely through "exercises" and prayer led to a spectacular meltdown and the near destruction of my marriage.

I would add: I agree on the target the OP is to aim for, but I think the methods for getting there are more dependent on grace than our own will.

[/quote]

Thank you for adding this and correcting my oversight.

Peace
James


#17

[quote="panorama, post:1, topic:318188"]

ALL of the more than 10 priests we confess to about us using contraception, advise me and my wife that as long as the preventive contraception is for the happiness of the married couple and strengthening their marital bonds, preventive contraception can be morally OK to be used occasionally and responsibly.

[/quote]

Fill in any other sin... does that make it OK?


#18

[quote="Chatter163, post:10, topic:318188"]
"Preventative" contraception? Is there any other kind? :confused:

[/quote]

[quote="JRKH, post:12, topic:318188"]
Good point - but I think the OP is trying to distinguish between that which actually prevents conception and that which might allow conception but prevent implantation.

Peace
James

[/quote]

Methinks so; technically speaking the latter would fall under "birth control", as conception would have already occured.

Precise jargon is important.


#19

[quote="Chatter163, post:10, topic:318188"]
"Preventative" contraception? Is there any other kind? :confused:

[/quote]

Sadly, there is: There's contraceptives that destroy and harm a child already in the womb. The term our church uses for these are abortifacient contraception.


#20

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