I have a friend who’s wife has always vowed before and after they were married that she does not want to have children and will use the pill to avoid this. Her husband wants children but respects her wishes to not have children. They have been married over 10 years now with no children. I recently read that one of the conditions to having a valid Catholic marriage is that the couple must be open to having children. Since the wife clearly is not open to this does this make their marriage invalid?
One of the essential elements of marriage is the procreation and education of offspring. If this element is willfully excluded, the marriage may be invalid. Code of Canon Law (CIC) states, “If… either or both of the parties by a positive act of the will exclude marriage itself, some essential element of marriage, or some essential property of marriage, the party contracts invalidly” (CIC 1101 §2).