Converting to the Church and sterilised

I am hoping to enter RCIA classes in September and meet with my local priest next Thursday. He already knows I am twice divorced and we will discuss this in more detail. However, I wanted to know that although I am currently celibate (not in any romantic relationship at all), I was sterilised after the birth of my daughter. This occured after I moved back from the US, to the UK, where I am living. My daughter is from my second marriage, but I did have 8 miscarriages with my first husband. I had the sterilisation done, because of the previous miscarriages and the fact that my pregnancy with my daughter was so fraught with problems and medical issues. I was advised by my doctors that to get pregnant again, would put me and my child in grave danger. I am wondering if this is considered a sin at all?

And sorry for being so long winded!

Sterilization is objectively a gravely wrong act. Mortal sin requires three elements:

(1) Grave matter
(2) Full knowledge
(3) Free will

Two of these three elements were likely not present when you made this decision: full knolwedge and free will. You don’t seem to have known it was wrong to be sterilized (in fact, society was probably telling you it was a GOOD thing to do!), and you were also hit with this decision while under the duress of childbirth and a history of miscarriages.

It is something to mention when you make your first confession-- sorrow for having done something that is against God’s law-- but did you personally commit a sin? No, I would say not.

Also, sterilization is not an impediment to entering the Catholic Church, or to a future marriage should your other two marriages be found invalid when examined by the Church tribunal.

Rule of thumb with regards to possible sins, mention it during confession and the priest will tell you and then even better will absolve you of all sins you have committed previously.

Catholics are so blessed to have the Sacrament of Penance.

I am happy for you…its God’s grace that is calling you and you are responding to His Call…to begin on the path to RCIA…and to enter His Church. I admire your courage and your truthfulness (two traits that will make your journey into and in the Church as a member in full communion…a real journey of peace)…do not be afraid of the truth…it is true that the Truth will set you free…because the Truth is not something…it is someone…a person…Our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 14:6 RSV-CE)6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

Two points…for your consideration:

1…meeting with a priest and discussing your personal situation and your spiritual situation is the second best thing that you can do…and are doing.

2…the first best thing you can do is to focus intently on the Sacred Heart of Divine Mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ…make this your number one focus and priority each day of this part of your journey…He holds nothing against you and wants to welcome you into the Body of Christ…His Church…("…He takes nothing away from you and gives you everything…". Pope Benedict XVI Inaugural Homily April 2005).-the first thing that Our Lord Jesus wants to do is free you from the past and anything that may not have been in accordance with God’s Law…as taught by the Magisterium of His Church…so maybe something was not quite right in your past…maybe is was even sinful…maybe a serious sin…pray/talk with the Lord about it…discuss it with his priest…confess it when the time arrives for your first Sacrament of Confession…and be set free! Also…all along the way of this new journey…realize very vividly…that the Lord is smiling at you…because you are answering His very specific call (His graces-His gifts) to bring you out of the past and free you…

Now…because you asked…re: sterilization

Catechism of the Catholic Chruch (CCC)[INDENT]**2399 **The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

[/INDENT]…but, remember that this is exactly what and why your priest (the priesthood)…acting in the person of Christ (in persona Christi)…is trained to minister and discuss with you in a pastoral way to resolve this…with you and Our Lord and His Church (remember…that everything that we do “good or bad”…affects not just us in our relationship with the Lord…but also and just as importantly…the Body of Christ…the Church). The priest’s spiritual guidance will help you to resolve any issues…in your own conscience…and if needed…offer you the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation/Penance…when the time is right in RCIA.

Lastly…God bless you on your journey…be not afraid…just smile knowing that the Lord Jesus has taken a very special interest in you and your journey!..and so have we!

Pax Christi

Good post. But I believe that it very likely could be a venial sin - venial sin does not require all three of those conditions. Probably not a MORTAL sin though. This is definitely something to cover in your first confession though because of the serious nature of sterilization.

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