How do people who use contraception go to confession?

  • Confess, just not mention it, and hope the priest doesn’t bring it up?
  • Say that they use it, but they do not consider it a mortal sin, or any sin at all?
  • Or just not go? Possibly for several years?

Not making any moral or value judgements here. Just an observation.

I suspect that folks who violate one Church teaching are also willing to violate another. If they don’t observe the Church’s prohibition where contraception is concerned, they might very well not bother with the teaching regarding Confession.


At the begining of my marriage we used contraception. I confessed it but my wife did not. When I confessed the priest either just didn’t say anything and moved on with absolution, or told me that it was ok. I have never had a priest tell me or counsel me to stop of that it was wrong. Most priests just moved on with the confession.

So, I only know what two people did. And really that is all anyone really knows. 1 confessed. 1 did not believe it sinfiul for a period of time.

I remember one particular confession where I had to stop father and tell him that I had used my conscience and knew I was guilty of sin and that I wasn’t there for a politcal debate on the Church or Her “policies”

Now as an aside, later, many kids later, When both of us had arrived at the conclusion of the immorality and sinfulness of ABC, we have had several priests counsel us to use birth control both in the confessional and in casual conversation. And one priest who went the other direction saying NFP was not good to use.

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Artificial birth control is Grievous matter. Certainly do not go to confession and not mention it. Two seems the best option ie, discuss the seriousness with the priest. To be forgiven for any sin your intent must be to not do it again. Realize that your are not allowing God to decide what is best for you. Also, if you have a good reason for not wanting more children, try NFP, natural family planning. Message me and we can discuss in more detail.

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I think for many that you are correct. They decide it is a private dicision that the Church has no business getting involved with. I think this is the majority of people who use ABC. But there are many also who struggle with the concept and with sexual ethics and child bearing within a marraige who do want to follow the Church and realize that within thier marriage it is really really hard. These are the ones who go to confession with an almost desperate need to be spiritually guided and many times the guidance is perhaps well meaning but not Holy.


This would be invalid, since they’re withholding a grave sin.

If they said this, and did not intend to discontinue its use, the priest would have to deny absolution.

Probably more likely.

Why do you ask?


I’m so sorry you had that experience! Breaks my heart.

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Me too. But there is a happy ending. Through the Church and the formation of conscience and my wondterful marriage we abandonded the sin and have an amazing family of 7 kids and a peace about our ability follow our vocation.


I can’t speak for parishioners, but I was talking to my priest a couple of days ago and he told me that the previous archbishop (1970’s to 90’s) had ordered the priests to never speak about contraception and if it came up in confession to either ignore it or say it wasn’t an issue and move on. Though it likely wasn’t much of an issue for himself as his ministry was to an old folks home, he refused to go along, at least in principle.

Probably the kids are doing their schoolwork and his mind is racing. @HomeschoolDad is always asking these kinds of questions. :grin:

That’s why I’m replying, older kids are doing school work and the youngers are on the third “Dora”


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I’m just a lazy electrician who doesn’t feel like going to work but loves going to mass every day.

Those priests were not good confessors. There is no sugar-coating it, some priests do not agree with this teaching. They are simply wrong.

Ditto, they were bad priests too.

Some ultra-conservative and ultra-traditionalist Catholics do not believe in NFP. They are ignoring what Pius XI, Pius XII, and Paul VI taught, that natural methods may be used. People differ as to what circumstances can justify NFP. We even have people nowadays saying NFP can be used at will, no reason needed. That is in conflict with what previous Popes taught. Guidance from the magisterium would be welcome to address this.

I’m not asking for myself. I am divorced without an annulment, 59 year old male, and in all likelihood it will never be an issue for me anymore. Getting an annulment, if I ever do, and marrying a woman of childbearing age is highly unlikely for me.

I ask simply to raise consciousness among our readers, and to expose errant teachers for what they are. Many have been told it’s OK by a priest, and that is the last they ever thought about it. People like to “get scratched where it itches” and want to find a priest who will tell them it’s OK.

Bad bishop, good priest.

Yes, and I am going to keep asking “these kinds of questions”. Somebody has to do it.

I only have the one student, son aged 12, and I instruct him according to the traditional teachings of the Church. He came out of six years of Catholic school not knowing a blooming thing about the Faith. The Baltimore Catechism has helped fill in a lot of gaps.


A very good priest. I absolutely love him. His homilies are incredible. He was a professor of theology and when he came to the diocese they put him in an old folks home to say mass. He’s only ever done the TLM because no one cared what he did in the home so he got away with it while others in the diocese were not able to fare so well under the previous Abp. He still says mass 7 days a week at 81 years old. The current Abp. wants a latin mass in every county in the diocese so he’s sort of the roaming ambassador of the TLM. He’s not spry but he’s very dedicated.

Please do. It’s always interesting.

I wish I’d been Catholic when I homeschooled mine, he’s 19 now. He’s doing terrifically on his own though. We started with A Brief Catechism for Adults (Fr. William J. Cogan, 1951) and added in the Catechism of Trent when it finally arrived and he just attacks every book we get. RCIA was about as good as the Catholic school your son went to.

Just for fun, you might want to check out the Douay Catechism of 1649.

CHAP. 1. What a Christian is: And of the Blessed Trinity.
Q. 1. Quest. CHILD, what religion are you of?
Ans. Sir, by the benefit and grace of God, I am Christian

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Your archbishop sounds like my kind of guy. Too bad you can’t put bishops through a Xerox machine and make copies :grinning:


I suspect that most may not view it as a sin, so they just won’t bring it up. Or perhaps they simply don’t go to confession much, if at all.

I’m sure that there are some people out there who do have a conflicted conscience about contraception use and do confess it. But the first two approaches are probably much more common in practice.

My fear is he’s only got a very few years left even though he looks 20 years younger.

If you get permanent contraception you confess once and get a “free ride” the rest of your life. If you use temporary contraception you have sin over and over and have to confess each time. Something seems wrong.

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It probably seems wrong because of the way you’re framing it.

If you are sterilized, and you repent of having been sterilized, and you confess to it, then you are forgiven. And you are not morally obligated to reverse the sterilization.

If you are on contraception, and you repent of it, and you amend your life, and you confess to it, you are forgiven. And you are morally obligated to cease using it at that point.

They are two different actions.


That might make even the most imperfect contrition rather difficult.

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