Is there an obligation for married couples to have children?


#1

If a heterosexual pair gets married, is it a sin if they choose not to have sex and have children?


#2

This makes the marriage invalid. One party may easily obtain an annulment if such a situation arises (one spouse wants kids, the other doesn't)


#3

Interesting. Do you (does anyone) know of any online resource I could look at which tells us when a Catholic marriage is or is not valid?


#4

[quote="thomasemmanuel, post:1, topic:333406"]
If a heterosexual pair gets married, is it a sin if they choose not to have sex and have children?

[/quote]

This is called a Josephite marriage. One would have to be under spiritual direction in such a case. One's pastor might give permission to marry but would need to counsel the couple and help with discernment regarding their reasons for doing so.

Both paries in the couple must be both willing and able to engage in the marriage act. If either party desires to take up full conjugal life, the other party must be willing to do so.

When one marries, one makes promises that include the conjugal life. So, any abstention from that must be my mutual consent, and typically (according to St Paul) only for "a time". Rarely would it be indefinitely.


#5

[quote="blaskoman, post:2, topic:333406"]
This makes the marriage invalid.

[/quote]

Not necessarily. You are correct that a permanent intention against children does render the marriage invalid. That is not always the intention or purpose of a Josephite marriage. St. Therese's parents had a Josephite marriage for the first 6 months or year of marriage, and then their spiritual director instructed them to take up the conjugal life.

[quote="blaskoman, post:2, topic:333406"]
One party may easily obtain an annulment if such a situation arises (one spouse wants kids, the other doesn't)

[/quote]

Not necessarily. The marriage may indeed be valid. But if unconsummated, it is dissoluable by the Pope.


#6

The other thing to bear in mind is, although capable of the act of creating a child, if a woman has certain medical conditions which may make the pregnancy dangerous for both and the unborn child, that has to be taken into account as well. Epileptic women for example may be taking anticonvulsants to control the seizures. Quite a few of these medications could lead to the child being epileptic or having either spina bifida or hydrocephelus. If that's the case, surely it is not a sin for them to want to marry and have sexual relations? if managed carefully women with epilepsy can have perfectly normal, healthy babies. Is it selfish for a woman not to take risks regarding children if she is epileptic?


#7

[quote="1ke, post:4, topic:333406"]
This is called a Josephite marriage. One would have to be under spiritual direction in such a case. One's pastor might give permission to marry but would need to counsel the couple and help with discernment regarding their reasons for doing so.

[/quote]

What would be the purpose of getting married under such conditions? Is it not contrary to (one of) the primary purpose of marriage?

I can understand how a married couple might, at some point, need to give up the sexual aspect of marriage indefinitely; but why wouldn't a couple who plans on entering into marriage under such an arrangement, just not wait to get married until such circumstances change and full conjugal life becomes appropriate for them?


#8

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