Fornication vs. Procreation outside of marriage

I’d like to start with the disclaimer that I am not trying to justify sex outside of marriage. I’m just asking a serious question that I’ve never heard discussed before.

Fornication is sex for pleasure and not to produce life. Procreation is sex to produce life.
Is trying to make a baby while not married as much of a sin as fornication?
I know that sex outside of marriage is a sin but is there a difference between the two? Mortal vs venial?
Because life is always a gift to be cherished.

I don’t think your definitions are quite on-point. “Trying to make a baby while unmarried” remains fornication.

Even if we accepted your definitions, I think it would be a case that you cannot condone or accept a sinful activity merely because it has a positive outcome.

Indeed. Neither good Intentions, nor anticipated good consequences, can make an intrinsically evil act good.

Wow. talk about spin.
It’s still a sin.
The baby is innocent, but the adults are not.

I don’t think married couples practicing NFP are “fornicating.”

First of all, the essence of fornication is sexual relations between two unmarried persons. The desire or attempt to conceive a child is irrelavent.

To the first question, I would cautiously answer in the affirmative, since marriage was insituted primarily for the begetting and educating of children, so to attempt to have children outside of marriage is, in essence, trying to have children illegally (morally).

To the second, not in essence, since the sin of fornication is the same.

To the third question, it is of faith that the fornication in the manner you described is a mortal sin. The Council of Vienne (1311-1312) condemned the following proposition:

Seventhly, that to kiss a woman is a mortal sin since nature does not incline one to it, but the act of intercourse is not a sin, especially in time of temptation, since it is an inclination of nature.

Since intercourse in marriage is not sinful, as clearly taught by the Church, it must be referring to extra-marital relations.

Human life is indeed to be cherished, but not as the ultimate good, which is God. The desire to beget or bear children is good, but it must be brought about by the right means, which means first establishing the right society, which marriage does.

I hope this helps.
Benedicat Deus,

I think you misunderstand why fornication is sinful. Fornication is sinful, precisely because sex is order towards procreation.

Having a child outside of marriage is a sin against the child, who by nature, was meant to be raised by a married couple. The child is being denied one of his natural rights!

The child has many natural rights, most importantly the right to life, the right to security, the right to nourishment. We are an imperfect race, and sometimes raising a child outside of wedlock is the best choice. However, this because someone committed a proportional sin elsewhere.


Where did you get this incorrect definition?
Fornication is sex outside marriage whether there is intent to produce children or not.

No, because they are married to each other. Engaging is sex outside of marriage is fornication.

Sex outside of marriage is a Sin whether one does or does not want children. Having a child outside of wedlock is not a sin. The act of what leads u to pregnancy is what you refer to as fornication.


??? a married couple engaging in sex with one another is not by definition fornication and certainly not a sin. Even if the couple were using contraception this would still not be fornication. The sin is the use of contraception not in the sexual act.


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