Is obedience enough?

Is it sufficient to be obedient to church teaching, or does one have to agree with it as well?

I had a vasectomy about 10 years ago. I understand that the church does not require me to have the operation reversed and in lieu of that, I abstain for a period each month. Consequently, I am as obedient to church teaching on this issue as I can be. The trouble is, that although I understand the churches position, I can’t say that I am remorseful for having used contraception. I am preparing to go to confession, and I am troubled and wonder whether agreeing to follow the churches teaching is sufficient, or if remorse and/or accepting the churches position is required for a good confession. Can you be in a state of grace by following the law even if you don’t agree with it?

Dear Patrick,

To obey the Church’s teaching is to accept it. The Church does not require that you feel remorse or that you fully understand every teaching. There are times in one’s life when he or she will experience a mental and/or emotional block with one or other of the Church’s teachings. What is important is that in humility and faith, we submit to the authority of the Church. Since you have chosen to obey the Church’s teaching, you obviously recognize that the Lord speaks through His Church. If you can acknowledge the sin of contraception as the Church defines it, it is not necessary that you fully understand it or feel compunction. What is important is what you will. Full understanding will come later.

If you haven’t read “Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West, I suggest the you do. We have it in stock. Our order number is 888 291 8000.

You are in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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