Is it a sin ....


#1

For a married or single woman to be on birth control pills if she is not having sex with anyone?
Is it a sin for a woman to use these pills if she is having sex with a 100% certain, sterile husband?

Enquiring minds want to know.


#2

Having sex for the wrong reasons is a sin. Sex is for the purpose of having a baby. Ask a priest if you want a 2nd opinion. I hope I was of some kind of help to you.


#3

If a woman’s doctor prescribes birth control pills to treat a medical condition and she is not having sex with anybody, there is no sin, no problem.

I don’t know the answer about the 100% sterile husband. Is anything 100% sure??

I do know that sex within marriage has not one, but TWO purposes: unitive and procreative. It’s an expression of love and unity AND it’s for having babies. The previous post gave only half the information. This does not mean, however, that the two can be separated. Every act of intercourse must be open to life, whether you’ve got the unitive purpose in mind today or the procreative purpose.

Why don’t you post the question about the sterile husband on the “Ask An Apologist” board - you’ll get a well-researched answer.

Betsy


#4

my third alias:

Then a pregnant woman, post menopausal woman, uterusless woman having sex, or married husband having sex with such a woman, is a sin?


#5

First, sexual intercourse is only licit, or permissible within the confines of a sacramental marriage.

Second, the BCP is only a medication. If a woman is prescribed the BCP for “health reasons”, that is, some medical condition that requires her to take the drug, then as a medical treatment it is permissible as far as I know.

Third, what makes sexual intercourse sinful between a man and woman, within the confines of a sacramental marriage, is dependent upon a number of factors. A normal healthy couple who uses the BCP as a contra-ceptive (against conception) device is indeed sinning, though upon whom the pain of that sin falls, and the severity of that sin (venal or mortal) is dependent upon the formation of that individual(s), and the intent or reason(s) they took up that treatment. A completely un-cathecized individual, ignorant of the consequences of their actions, cannot be held culpable of mortal sin if they use contraception. There are instances where couples are led to use contraception because someone in authority within the Church says they could - perhaps even some priests. That permission does not make it “sinless”, but does affect whether the sin can be considered “mortal”.

As another example, if a woman decides to take the BCP without the husbands consent, he cannot be forced to engage in the martial embrace. If he should decide, for the good of the marriage, that engaging in the act would be charitable and appropriate, he may do so for the sake of the marriage without incurring the pain of sin. He, of course, needs to keep in mind that if his wife is on a multi-phasic Pill, and the ovulation suppression mechanism on the BCP does not work, the other mechanisim that makes the uterus hostile to implanation may work as an abortifacient, and he may be unwittingly contributing to the death of a child. He must weigh the decision to have relations with his wife in this context.

If a man sterilizes himself with a vasectomy, then he may suffer the the pain of mortal sin(under the conditions detailed above, for instance), though his wife is less culpable to a degree. If it was a mutally agreed upon process, then a spritual director may discern that she too is under the pain of mortal sin. If the man in question examines his conscience throughly, does repent of that sin, confesses that sin to a priest under the typical parameters of the sacrament of reconciliation, he will be forgiven of that sin fully. From that point on, marital relations will not automatically incur the pain of sin on either partner. The Church does not require a man to get a reversal of a vasectomy to return to sacramental communion with our Lord.

Any other natural occurance of sterilization will not incur the pain of sin upon sexual intercourse within the confines of a sacramental marriage.

These are may poor explanations of my understanding of these issues, and I welcome correction on these views from any better skilled apologist if available, and particularly from any priests on these boards.

Pax Christi,
John


#6

[quote=johnnyjoe]the pain of that sin falls, and the severity of that sin (venal or mortal) is dependent upon the formation of that individual(s), and the intent or reason(s) they took up that treatment. A completely un-cathecized individual, ignorant of the consequences of their actions, cannot be held culpable of mortal sin if they use contraception. There are instances where couples are led to use contraception because someone in authority within the Church says they could - perhaps even some priests. That permission does not make it “sinless”, but does affect whether the sin can be considered “mortal”.

… my understanding of these issues,
[/quote]

Overall, I think you give a nice explanation. The only other point I’d like to add addresses the culpability issue yu explained above. The Church also teaches it is our solemn duty to become educated in our Faith. As children, it is our parent’s responsibility to teach us. When we become adults, we assume that responsibility for ourselves.

Thus, there are cases where someone may be ignorant of the exact Church teaching on a specific issue, however, they are still culpable if the issue is so basic that they cannot reasonably claim ignorance because of their duty to educate themselves.

Clear as mud?

[quote=AkronPonderer]Then a pregnant woman, post menopausal woman, uterusless woman having sex, or married husband having sex with such a woman, is a sin?
[/quote]

This is a ridiculous example, I hope you are kidding.

The Church does not teach that only fertile people are entitled to have a sexual relationship within their marriage. What a heartache that would be for all the couples who struggle with trying to conceive if the Church turned around and told them, “Time’s up. Missed the deadline. No more sex for you.”

The Church teaches we must be open to life. It does not teach that God is going to bless every marital act with new life, nor does it teach that conception must be likely for marital relations to occur.


#7

[quote=my third alias]Having sex for the wrong reasons is a sin. Sex is for the purpose of having a baby. QUOTE]

Is that Church teaching. I hear something different when I teach pre-cana. Sex is to make love, with the openness of having children. You can have sex during your non-fertile time of your ovulation cycle.
[/quote]


#8

Is that Church teaching. I hear something different when I teach pre-cana. Sex is to make love, with the openness of having children. You can have sex during your non-fertile time of your ovulation cycle.

Umm, most CERTAINLY you can…and should!

I once had a priest tell me that if a married couple did not engage in the marital embrace as often as they could, it diminished his decision to remain celibate for the sake of the kingdom. God gave us the marital embrace to celebrate the “one flesh union” that images the intimacy of the Trinity. Enjoy it as often as you can, regardless of which fertility phase you are in!


#9

Amen! Well said.This is what we teach in our pre-Cana program.
As for the fact that a husband is sterile has no bearing at all on the wife’s taking birth control pills. It’s wrong on her part. When we get married we give all to the other spouse…including our fertility. She’s withholding her fertility from him.
Additionally…as we all know, nothing is impossible with God. Remember, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was thought to be sterile.


#10

[quote=AkronPonderer]For a married or single woman to be on birth control pills if she is not having sex with anyone?
Is it a sin for a woman to use these pills if she is having sex with a 100% certain, sterile husband?

Enquiring minds want to know.
[/quote]

The situations are irrelevant. The purpose is the only relevant factor in determining the morality.

If the pill is prescribed as treatment for a medical condition then the purpose is treatment of disease and it is not sinful no matter the woman’s circumstances. This is the principle of double effect. The medicine prescribed for a diseased condition happens to have the (unintended) side-effect of rendering the woman temporarily infertile.

If the pill is taken as a contraceptive then the purpose is contracpetion and it is sinful in all circumstances.

Note, however, that there are many doctors who do not believe the pill should ever be prescribed for a medical condition. Addtionally, because a woman can break-through ovulate and the pill could be abortifacient, many moral theologians will state that the seriousness of the medical condition should weigh in as a factor. For example, acne isn’t a significant enough reason to be on the pill. A serious case of endometriosis might be if every caution is used.


#11

[quote=AkronPonderer]my third alias:

Then a pregnant woman, post menopausal woman, uterusless woman having sex, or married husband having sex with such a woman, is a sin?
[/quote]

No. The act must be objectively procreative. In all these cases, it is. Subjectively there is a condition that makes the act infertile. However the ACT itself is not altered in any way and therefore objectively transmits life.


#12

Just wanted to add my two cents. From what I understand, if a woman is prescribed birth control pills for a health condition, it is allowed. But because of “breakthrough pregnancies” the dignity of human life is still to be respected by practicing NFP and abstaining on fertile days when conception could occur. In this way, the pill is used as medication only, not a contraceptive (there is no pregnancy being prevented by it), and eliminates the possibility of an abortion because of a “breakthrough pregnancy”.


#13

My husband and I speak at our Pre-Cana and are asked a question like this often. While I agree with the responses regarding a medical condition, I also try to make another point with the couples. Like 1ke said, there are NFP only doctor’s out there who NEVER prescribe the pill for any condition. So, we urge the women to become educated about their particular ‘medical condition’ and find out if there is another treatment available. Take the new information to their doctors and try an alternative treatment. We also urge them to express their concerns to their doctor and ask for help in finding another treatment.

There are many resources out there. And, I know a woman could always contact an NFP only OB / GYN even if it is only for this type of question.

We have met many doctors who don’t think the BCP is good medicine. In many cases, it masks the problem or a more serious condition.


#14

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