Say a man and his wife have been having an arguement about sterilization in which the husband is against it but the wife, who is pregnant and no longer wants to have anymore children nor wants to participate in NFP, always makes every attempt bring it back up and indirectly suggest a vasectomy to the husband. The wife, feeling that husband completely went back on his word years before, and calling him a hypocrite when he mentioned he would himself have a vasectomy done, suggested she get a tubal ligation. However, the wife is feeling scared of the operation and has concerns that she would not be able to enjoy the baby after birth due to going directly to have the tubal ligation done in which she would feel a tremendous amount of pain.
The husband, who has made MANY attempts to explain what it means to practice NFP not to mention suggesting talking to a priest about it since she feels convinced that SHE is doing the right thing by God’s standard’s, finally becomes overwhelmed due to the emotional stress of the arguement, which by the way has been going on for 8 1/2 months, taking its toll on him and finally agreeing to a vasectomy. However, the man has been riddled with animmense sadness and guilt.
The man KNOWS that a vasectomy constitutes a mortal sins but would rather go through with it than have his wife perform a tubal ligation which could lead to more physical difficulties not to mention keeping her from committing a mortal sin which is wrong in the eyes of God and keeps her from doing the tubal ligation.
After agreeing to go through with it, the man notices his wife more at ease and a lot tension has ceased towards him creating a calmer atmosphere in the household but an emotional torment stirs within day in and day out in him.
Will the man be condemned to hell for this scenario?
Or could this mortal sin be forgiven?
I’d say that counseling is certainly needed here. Neiither tubal ligation, nor a vasectomy is the answer, as both are offensive to God, and are sins. Speak with a priest. Once the wife understands that the husband will not sin just to make her happy, she will need to reconsider NFP, otherwise they will have a problem that only they can do something about. Maybe if the wife realizes that love means wanting the best for her mate, she will, under the priest’s counseling, know that heaven is the best for each of them, and learn the NFP method of family planning.
I think there is too much there to say “this is a mortal” sin or whether the situation, the stress, the factors would negate some of it’s seriousness. The person needs to talk to a priest and they need counseling. Neither the tubal ligation nor the vasectomy are necessary. The real problem here is that the wife does not care that the husband doesn’t want to do it. She should care as much for him as he does for her. It shouldn’t be a “I need you to commit mortal sin, because I’m afraid I could die while committing mortal sin.” It should be both of them saying, “We will turn to God and do what he asks of us, regardless of how inconvenient or difficult that may be.”
What if the couple used to be under a priest who was liberal yet conservative and made a comment about the possibility of doing such a procedure and it being ok due to financial circumstances…and all of a sudden they are under another priest who is more conservative?
Why do I say this? Well the husband insisted they should talk to a priest,REPEATEDLY, about this but just to prove her point she used the other priest comment as an example of contradicting opinions about NFP and church teaching. She pretty much did this to shut the husband up about NFP and how there is no validity in the churches teaching regarding this and that she truly believes that God would want them to take care of the family.
Well what if this was the problem here? The wife says that God would “change with the times” and would not have a problem if a couple would do something like a vasectomy to keep from having more children…Nevermind about NFP because the wife would think that NFP is nothing more than becoming a “zombie” and curbing fleshly desires when it is entirely ok to have those desires since, afterall, that is what God gave as a gift for their union in marriage.
Then we have an entirely different situation. One in which the wife is not catholic in the sense that she rejects the authority of the church. First she rejected the authority of any priest who told her not to, until she found a priest who agreed with her. Then the husband also is guilty of the same. Shopping around till they find someone who says “yes, go ahead and do what you want to do.”
This is truly a situation in which they need to turn to God. It’s not the problem that God has changed, he never changes. God is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. They need to go to God with their problem and spend time in prayer. Learning that NFP doesn’t make anyone a zombie. In fact, it is the opposite. Who is the zombie? The one who holds their desires at bay for a few days and gives in to them in the proper context? Or the one who is controlled by their desires and thinks that if they don’t give in the very moment they hit, they will be out of control?
It seems to me that the zombie is the one who simply does whatever their desires say, anytime they say them, and not the person who listens to their desires but to their heart and more importantly to God.
Both the husband and wife were cradle catholics when they got married and never really understood NFP. The situation was not as you mention, actually it is the opposite. You see after 3 years of not going to church, the couple decided that God called them back home. The husband began growing closer to God as well as the wife. They were a part of a parish in which the priest was liberal when it came to this.
The couple moved and are now in a different parish…It’s not that she went looking for a priest who agreed with her…it was more along the lines of “how can you say that God wants us to abstain at certian times when this priest said that sterilization is ok to do it for a specific reason?” In other words, she implies a contradiction with church teaching and this priest who is in favor of it and uses it as ammunition to prove that its human error and that God would understand the situation.
The husband in this situation never agreed with sterilization in the first place, even during the first 7 months of pregnancy. He was opposed to the idea of the vasectomy and the tubal ligation. The wife, on the other hand, put him through so much emotional stress, making him feel guilty and always arguing at every opportunity she brought it up. The husband has tried and tried very many times to explain NFP and how it should bring out the spirituality of the couple and make them stronger and closer to God, but the wife insists that it is nothing more than just supression intimiate feelings…AND on top of that makes such comments as “I am going to miss you,” indicating that she will cut of all emotional attachment to the husband if she were to go through NFP. In doing so, THIS act makes the husband feel guilty.
Shopping around till they find someone who says “yes, go ahead and do what you want to do.”
Well what if they both have different perspectives of turning to God? The husband turns to God in hopes of him bringing light to his wife…On the other hand the wife turns to God and feels that God tells her it is ok to go through with it…and To top it off, the husband tells her that her communication with God is wrong. The husband feels 100% sure that it is wrong and prays to God, but the wife feels 100% sure that God is ok with it.
Can you really imaging telling someone who is pregnant “You are wrong and you can’t be talking to God like me?” That is a reciped for disaster…
Well,…this one is the husbands fault because, before they got married, he used a biblical text in which it shows it is ok to share yourself constantly with one another and that it is not wrong…THAT blunder really came back and bit him in the rear.
The unfortunate thing is that NOW that he understands NFP, this is what SHE remembers and throws it in his face causing her to revert back to her other way of thinking in which I described back on top of this reply… “I am going to miss you,” making him feel guilty…:shrug:
It has been a constant struggle emotionally and every time they discuss it, she tears him up emtionally with what I described…The husband has not stopped praying to God about helping his wife have a change of heart…but counseling is out of the question because she will only revert back to cutting herself off emotionally to the husband and holding everything against him…
Life is more messy and complex than your hypothetical, which ironically has the ring of having been drawn from real life.
The rule that sex acts between a husband and a wife shall not be protected against conception was not some arbitrary limitation God imposed from above, at Mount Sinai, after man’s creation.
It is constructed into our flesh. It suffuses us.
At its core, in our psyches and in the flesh ineffably attached to our psyches, sex is a trade-off, “You, human, get sexual pleasure, in return for accepting whatever reproducibility which that sex act generating that sexual pleasure may entail.”
God created sex to be a “deal” between man (meaning man and woman) and God’s nature.
When we structure sex with contraceptives or with sterilizing operations, so that we get the “bucks,” sexual pleasure, without any of the naturally-existing “work” which the “bucks” pay for – exposure of the self to the risk of parenthood – then every time we enjoy sexual pleasure we are enjoying the proceeds of a theft.
Solo masturbation to climax is the same — because sex has been yanked out of the reproductive process, the pleasure enjoyed is a theft.
It has been proposed by some Bible commentators that because Paul’s sin lists are mostly composed of sex sins and sex-related sins, that “theft” in those lists refers to “theft of sexual pleasurte by masturbation and contraceptives” which existed in Paul’s time.
For this reason, use of contraceptive means is normally a sin.
And for the same reason the Bible itself condemns use of contraceptives, 4 times, when it very nastily condemns use of “pharmakaeia,” the ancient Greek euphemism for contraceptives and abortifacients.
Now, I have often wondered, “How simple is the process of forgiveness if, after a sinful sterilization process, the couple get to enjoy access to the proceeds of their theft – sexual pleasure – again and again and again, after the sterilization?” It resembles a robber breaking into Fort Knox, serving his time, and then after parole living off the proceeds which all know are sitting in the middle of his living room floor!
It’s not a question of reading something here which makes a person feel guilty from now on.
It’s a question of human conscience rebelling at the thought that you are enjoying the proceeds of your theft again and again and again and again after having served your time.
I have often wondered if divorce and use of contraceptives does not go hand-in-hand. When consciences of each member of the married couple trouble each member of the married couple because of cognitive dissonance, so that they end up screaming at each other about other things, does this result in divorce?
I do not like your conclusion, “Hey, it’s good if I go to Hell, instead of my spouse.” It doesn’t hang together.
If you are in the mjidst of your own hypothetical, my advice is, “Pray with faith.” God always answers prayers.
And if you can’t find the faith to pray with faith, then pray for that faith.
Believe me, it works. All will be okay.
By the way, NFP works great. My wife and I did it for 30 years.
Well that’s wonderful for you and your wife, which I’m sure BOTH of you agree with it. I’m guessing you didn’t read all of the thread responses. The husband has been emotionally drained time and time again, EVEN when he has attempted on many ocassions to convince the wife to use NFP. So just to keep the peace, he agrees to it knowing he will do wrong. The wife is very stubborn and is closed minded. Oh yeah… EVEN at the remote thought of joining the husband in NFP, she will emotionally cut herself off to the husband. As far as praying…that has not stopped…but how can the husband, who is praying for his wife to have a change of heart, continue after his wife repeatedly says she is praying the HE realize that they can’t afford more children and should c
Well that’s wonderful for you and your wife, which I’m sure BOTH of you agree with it. I’m guessing you didn’t read all of the thread responses. The husband has been emotionally drained time and time again, EVEN when he has attempted on many ocassions to convince the wife to use NFP. So just to keep the peace, he agrees to it knowing he will do wrong. The wife is very stubborn and is closed minded. Oh yeah… EVEN at the remote thought of joining the husband in NFP, she will emotionally cut herself off to the husband. As far as praying…that has not stopped…but how can the husband, who is praying for his wife to have a change of heart, continue after his wife repeatedly says she is praying the HE realize that they can’t afford more children and should consider a vasectomy. Two people praying to the same God for different things? YOU tell me how That works.
I haven’t read through all the posts because my head was spinning after attempting to get through the first one.
Keeping it simple, mortal sin requires various elements, one of which is intent. You stated the couple were Cradle Catholics. If they had no knowledge that what they were doing was sinful, and had no intention of sinning, then their actions do not reach the level of a mortal sin. Their actions are considered objectively sinful, but it would be considered venial under this scenario, not mortal.
You are getting into a big sweat over the wrong thing, I think.
Why not try another tack entirely … sense of humor; extremely hard, cheerful work; and give, give, give, give, give.
The reason why I suggest this is that what you portray is a wife using sex to bully the husband. Perhaps this is what needs to be addressed.
But be ready to do this over the long haul. Have no expectation of instant results. Re the sex side, just pray to God to help you muddle through the chaos with love, no matter what, no matter what, no matter what.