Is there ever a circumstance where condom use is acceptable?

Hi all,

I’ve got a question that has been nagging at me for several years. I have consulted with four different priests who say that my husband and my use of condoms falls under a grave circumstance and is therefore permissable according to the Humanae Vitae. I’m wondering if any of you agree with this view or if you feel I was given the wrong information. I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing. A bit of background information is that my husband has Asperger’s (autism spectrum disorder), I have OCD and my son was born with Asperger’s and a couple of different anxiety disorders. I have PCOS & endometriosis and I don’t seem to ovulate or get any of the regular ovulation symptoms that would make charting possible. In all honesty, my husband would not deal well emotionally/mentally with another child. I would have loved to have more, but it seems not to be.

I explained all of this to the priests I spoke to, they all said I had sufficient grave cirumstances. I was under the impression that it was never ok to use artificial means of contraception. Thank you in advance.


In your position, I would go to the Bishop and ask. I would call the diocese and ask them. They have the staff that have access to the resources to correctly answer your question and give you the reasons for those answers. That would be my advice to you.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question :slight_smile:

Hi Jen. Your impression was correct. It is never morally permissable to contracept. One may never intentionally sterilize an act of intercourse. I think it’s very regretful that the priests responsible for helping and encouraging you have instead been giving you misinformation.

If you’re interested, lists pro-life physicians who may be able to help you address your PCOS and endometriosis. It actually is possible to chart and practice NFP with either of these conditions.

God bless.

Thank you for your response and the link. I will check it out. Unfortunately my husband will not be on board with NFP. If he chooses to use condoms and I feel that they are wrong. What then? What would be the church’s teaching for that situation? Thank you again for taking the time to read my posts. It is most appreciated :slight_smile:


Hi again,
I feel really stupid, but I can’t seem to figure out how to contact the Bishop for my archdiocese.

If your husband insists on using a condom and you make your objection known and do not assist him with its use, then you are not responsible for his contraceptive act and do not need to withhold yourself from him because he is unilaterally sterilizing his side, so to speak, of the act. At least this is the advice I’ve heard and seen others given in this situation. Obviously (this is purely me speaking now) that situation would not be a healthy one for a marriage, or of course for your husband’s soul, so you should do what you can to avoid it if possible.

As a wife, you must be obedient to your husband- unless he commands you to do something sinful.

Using contraception is sinful. It’s a mortal sin. So I do not believe you would be under any obligation to engage in the marital act with your husband if he wanted to do so while using contraception.

The priest you were speaking with who said it may be permissible to use condoms was giving you very bad advice and speaking contrary to Church teaching. I would suggest kindly showing him where what he told you is at odds with Church teaching, and finding another priest to speak with regarding the situation.

Catholics don’t face a choice between:
A) Contraception

Yes, Contraception is evil and never permitted. But NFP isn’t for everyone, and this choice, which many Catholics think they must pick from, sets people up for failure.

Many Catholic couples simply live their lives without contraception OR NFP. When faced with grave reasons for not wishing to conceive, a married couple may also abstain from relations all together. If your husband is not willing to consider NFP, and you are not willing to be open to more children, then abstaining would be the only option.

Pax and God Bless.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. Actually it was four priests who told me the same thing, not just one. I explained that due to my PCOS and endometriosis that NFP was very difficult if not impossible as I don’t exhibit the fertility signs to track ovulation reliably.

I’m not sure I agree with your assertion that I should obstain from relations with my husband. I’m going to pray on this. Thanks again,


Jen it is never acceptable to use birth control. When we marry and consumate the marriage you are receiving a great gift from God. Relationship between husband and wife must always remain open to conception. That is God’s law not mans.

There is never a time when artifical birth control is acceptable …It is even a sin to have birth control paraphenaila in your possession. it is called an occassion of sin.


Exactly! Given a sufficiently serious reason to avoid or postpone a pregnancy, Catholics face a choce between:

A) complete abstinence until the serious reason no longer applies

That’s right. Listen to the people of CAF and not all 4 priests you talked to. The law is the law is the law is the law, and it is infinitely more important than the human person, no matter what… Regardless of what every priest you spoke to may have said. :rolleyes:

I know there are many people who claim that priests tell them contraceptive use is ok in certain circumstances. And there are lots of priests who tell us that contraceptive use is never ok.

I have thrown this out before:

Those priests (and CAF posters) who take the position that contraceptive use is not allowed usually give references from Church documents to back up that position.

What are the references the priests who say that contraception is ok give? The OP states that her priest mentioned Humanae Vitae. That’s one of the “anti-contraception” documents. It doesn’t say that condom use is permitted in grave circumstances. Where are the Church documents that priests and pro-contraceptive CAF posters use to justify the use of contraceptives?

LOL Debora123. Thank you for taking the time to read & respond to my post. Four priests, from four different parishes all said the same thing. The last being an elderly, old school priest to boot.

I really enjoy your posts. Thank you again.


PCOS indicates insulin resistance. A morally acceptable treatment for that is a low-carb diet and possibly metformin. Plenty of women with PCOS chart - if you are not ovulating, it will simply show that you are not ovulating.

A NaPro doctor or NFP-only doctor should be able to help you with your issues and guide you to successful charting.

The Doctrine if the Church is very clear that artificial contraception is never justified. Any Priest who has told you that condoms are okay for ANY reason, is leading you astray. Your grave circumstances DO justify the avoidance of pregnancy…but NFP (periodic continence and self-observation) is the only acceptable method. No Priest can place his opinion above a Doctrine of the Faith, ever.

Please read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (the official Church Doctrine on the matter) paragraphs 2370 and 2399:

2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.157 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:158

Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality… the difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.159

2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

Yes he did mention Humanae Vitae. I think what he may have been referring to was this Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," Which after reading the entire piece, it seems was taken out of context or misunderstood. I do find it distressing that four priests would differ so much from Catholic teaching. I’ll be praying on this one. :gopray:

Again, thanks for your post.

… Probably because they understand that the written law is not to be valued more than the human person herself. A very common sense, humane, logical way of thinking.

You are welcome, and good luck with whatever you ultimately decide to do.

God bless.

Did these Priests actually say you had sufficiently grave circumstances to use contraception, or sufficiently grave circumstances to avoid pregnancy?

I find it very hard to believe that 4 Priests would say that it is okay to use contraception under any circumstances. Only periodic continence or total abstinence is approved in grave circumstances. (See my above post.)

Yeah I do take met. and follow a low carb diet. I believe I am going to attempt to learn the Billings method. My OB is wonderful and knows my feelings regarding hormonal birth control so he has always tried to treat me in a way that follows my faith. I am currently reading the CC. :slight_smile:

How do you feel about the Pope allowing condom use for male prostitutes to try to stem the spread of HIV? Would that be more of a medical usage as it pertains to the spread of a disease? And I am in no way equating pregnancy and disease. I’m just curious as to how that fits in with church doctrine.

I fell away from my faith for many years and several years ago, before my dad died, I felt God calling me back. I’ve been trying to learn and follow my faith ever since. Thank you for your post. :heart:

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