Hi all… this is my first post but I have found this site extremely valuable in helping me through my discernment.
About 10 years ago, I felt the urge to serve God in some way, and I expressed this interest with my wife. I also spoke with my pastor and two deacons about this and thought it best to explore the whole thing. I have been becoming more and more involved with my church over these past 10 years including being part of our Pre Cana team, Extraordinary Eucharist Ministers, Men’s Club Acolytes, Lector, Visiting the nursing homes and bringing them communion, as well as other items. I have also been praying the liturgy of the hours each day and also attending some retreats.
These past few months, some strange things have happened and the calling seems to be getting stronger so I have started to pray more about this and look for what God is asking me to do (or if he is asking me). I feel like I am not worthy to even consider being a deacon, but I also know that many of you have said that nobody who has walked this earth is perfect other than Jesus Christ.
The other day I came across something that really scared me and I just don’t know what to make of it. I’m not sure why I am scared as I know God would never do anything to hurt me. I came across some of the requirements that must be met to be a deacon… they all looked familiar… Age… check, can’t marry again… check, can’t have ever had a vasectomy… wait??? what?
I know having a vasectomy is against church teachings, but when I was 25, had three children that we could hardly support and my wife and I were looking for a way to ensure we didn’t bring extra lives into this world that we would not be able to support, we felt the only fair thing to do was for me to be fixed. At the time, we didn’t know that this was a sin. I was raised Catholic and went to 12 years of Catholic Education, and I feel really stupid that I didn’t know this. My wife and I found out one day when we were helping with Pre Cana and the discussion of NFP came up. We really never discussed this or knew much about it. I’m sure they talked about NFP at our Pre Cana class when we were engaged, but honestly, neither my wife or I knew it was against church teaching and was a sin.
Anyhow, I went to confession and was really confused and worried. The priest who I saw was really nice and explained that God will never try and trick you with sin… He doesn’t work that way. He said it is a sin, asked me some questions about how I felt and he could see that I was truly remorseful. He then gave me my penance, and said God has forgiven me.
Over the years as my wife and I were able to be more stable in our lives, I have often wondered what it would have been like if we would have been blessed with a fourth or fifth child and it saddens me that I will never know.
What I am confused about though is it seems in some diocese, it is NOT permitted at all for a man to have ever had a vasectomy and also be a deacon EVEN if he has been forgiven through the sacrament of confession.
I understand, as a deacon, you are required to preach the gospel and the belief’s of the church, and some might think of you as a hypocrite if you had this procedure done, but none of us are perfect. I’m certain there are deacons out there who have done very sinful things in their past lives, but have lived good and clean lives since then.
So my question is this… since I can’t find a hard and fast answer anywhere… is this something that WILL disqualify me or is it something that will need to be discussed? I have a meeting with another deacon in a few weeks who is over the Diaconate in my area, so I know I will need to bring this up with him, but should I even be wasting his time if this will disqualify me.
I know I am a sinner, but I also know that God has forgiven me for this, and I AM remorseful for having done this. I just hope the church is as forgiving as our Father is.
Sorry for the long winded post… God bless…