For This Reason...


One thing that has been bugging me for a while is the fact that the catholic church forbids and denies the right of marriage for those who can’t procreate. I just don’t understand this and am hoping that someone can explain away this frustration and almost anger at the church for the audacity of it…

[quote=Genesis 2:23-25]23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called 'woman, [a] '
for she was taken out of man.”

24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.


Nothing said about children here… Let’s try again…

[quote=Joshua 15:15-17]15 From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). 16 And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 17 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage.

Nope, nothing about children…

[quote=1 Corinthians 7:1-3] 1Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.[a] 2But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

Here he is saying that it is because of immorality not bearing children that we should marry…

I just don’t see it. Somebody please explain why a couple in love can’t marry within the catholic church if one or both are incapable of having children. Why is this any business of the church?


I have NEVER heard that the Roman Catholic Church denies the rite of marriage to those who cannot procreate and I would be SHOCKED if it were RCC doctrine.

What canon did you see this in?

Rev North


I don’t think that can possibly be right. It sounds like maybe something was understood??
:confused: :confused:


This is what I have heard. I could be wrong which is why I posted this. But I do know that I have been told that if a person is either impotent or infertile they are not allowed to be married within the church. :shrug:


Never heard that the Church denies the Sacrament of Marriage to couples in which one or both heterosexual partners are unable to procreate. As long as they remain open to the idea of children i.e. would be open to having children if the Lord were to bless them in spite of their condition.


The very first words of God to Adam and Eve are ‘be fruitful and multiply’. That’s an order, not just a suggestion, and obviously an important one since it’s the first thing that He tells them. Clearly procreation is an essential (though definitely not the only) component of marriage.

Certainly if someone is impotent (incapable of the marital act) or sterile, knows prior to marriage (most don’t) and moreover knows that it’s a permanent condition, then how can they hope to fulfil this important function of marriage and obey this wish of God? :shrug:

To marry knowing that you’re incapable seems to me to be like marrying and planning to use birth control throughout the entire marrige. Which in terms of having a complete marriage is like trying to drive a car that has only two tyres to it rather than four.

Here’s what the Catechism has to say:

"2366 Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment. So the Church, which is "on the side of life,"151 teaches that "it is necessary that each and every marriage act remain ordered per se to the procreation of human life."152 "This particular doctrine, expounded on numerous occasions by the Magisterium, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act."153 "

So take it as you will.


People who are infertile ARE allowed to be married in the Church


Thank you for that… it is good to know. :slight_smile:

But when they say that the person is willing to have the baby should God give it to them by miracle, couldn’t that go for the impotent person also? Say they are married and one day poof the impotence is gone and they are able to complete the act. For the same reason shouldn’t it be allowed?

Of course, in the church’s eyes I guess it is not a sin to live together just have sex outside of marriage… Hmmmm So if they ain’t having sex due to impotence then… But I just can’t imagine denying a couple from marriage due to such a reason.


Please tell us where you heard that the Catholic Church “forbids marriage” to those who cannot procreate, because it is patently untrue. The Church most definitely does not deny those who cannot procreate the right to marry.

The Church’s teaching is that the nature of marriage is both unitive and procreative, and this simply means that the act of sexual intimacy between spouses must remain open to the transmission of human life, which is a fundamental element of God’s design for that act, while at the same time serving to draw the couple together and to strengthen the bond of love between them.

Were a man or a woman to be sterile for some reason, and even if he or she were to know this fact prior to marrying, it would still not be an impediment to the sacrament of matrimony.

The couple must take no positive action to prevent the creation of human life within the context of the sexual act, neither artificial contraception nor deliberate sterilisation … but a defect (i.e., sterility or another illness which results in it) which prevents the conception of children and which is not under the direct control of the couple and is not their responsibility does not create an impediment to the sacrament.

Likewise, a woman who has never married and is incapable of conceiving children because of her age is also perfectly free to marry, despite being unable to conceive and bear children.

To reiterate, the Catholic Church has never, ever taught that those who are unable to procreate cannot marry.


But a marriage isn’t considered valid unless it’s consummated by the marital act - you can get an annulment based on non-consummation IIRC. That makes impotence a little different from sterility, where both partners are nonetheless capable of the act.


True, but what if the couple knows of the impotence and still is willing to go through with it? Who’s business is it but theirs and God’s?


As I said…I do not beleive that the Catholic Church forbids marraige between infertile people. Never heard of that.

Rev North


And if you steal, that’s only the business of you and God and the person you stole from. Would your pastor turn a blind eye if he knew that’s what you were doing though? Would YOU turn a blind eye if you knew your friend was stealing?

I hope not - God’s business IS our business, it is the Church’s business too.


Here’s Jimmy Akin’s answer:[INDENT]Impotence is the inability to perform the marital act. Perpetual and incurable impotence is an impediment to marriage because marriage involves exchanging the right to conjugal relations. Giving valid matrimonial consent means binding oneself to pay the marriage debt if the other party reasonably requests it.

Therefore, if you don’t have the ability to pay the marriage debt then you cannot truthfully promise to render it to another. [Consequently], you cannot give another the right to conjugal relations with you, and thus you cannot exchange valid matrimonial consent.



That does not address infertility.

In regard to impotence, if that is church doctrine I am saddened :frowning:
How unwise. Love is so much more in marriage.

Rev North


The sort of love a couple share when one is impotent can be easily found outside of a marriage relationship. Marriage demands something more.

And to put it bluntly it wasn’t the Church’s idea to make procreation important. God’s first words to humans were about being fruitful and multiplying, so take it up with Him if you think we’re wrong :wink:



Singinbeauty’s difficulty with infertility has been resolved. She next asked about impotence.

In regard to impotence, if that is church doctrine I am saddened :frowning:
How unwise. Love is so much more in marriage.

Certainly, married life is more than just the conjugal act. However, the issue at hand is matrimonial consent. If matrimonial consent means the exchange of conjugal rights, then it’s unjust to promise what one is unable to fulfill.


this also is not necessarily true. the law is rather more complex than that. It is a possible grounds, depending on other circumstances, but not an absolute bar to a valid marriage (vis Mary and Joseph, for instance).


Ahhhh but there is a difference between God making it important and forbidding marriage between a couple if there is impotency. If the CC forbids this marriage then that this a man made doctrine as opposed to biblical. A couple can be quite intimate (without going into details) without the actual act of copulation).

I am glad someone provided a quote though because I would have never believed that the CC would forbid marriage to a couple who had an impotent partner. Simply amazing.

If this is enforced I may be seeing more couples coming to me for marriage who are or were Catholics. Already married one where both were non practicing Catholics who loved God but were upset at the way the Church treated them.

Rev North {who is not impotent BUT is saddened by the lack of Christian charity in that doctrine but respectful of the fact that it IS your ball field and you get to make the rules}

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