IUD/birth control, help doing what the church wants

Please be kind and help me get back to the church here.

I have an IUD (Skyla) and DH uses condoms in addition (We have many, many small kids all close in age, for the record). The IUD/condoms are recent. I don’t think physically I could go through another pregnancy, either, or take care of the ones I have. I get really sick! DH will not abstain but I WOULD. So, I feel stuck.

I am willing to go to confession but am not ready to have the IUD removed, so should I not go to confession right now? Can I still go to mass?

I am trying to do the right thing and really feel stuck. I will NOT have this IUD forever and DO want to do what the church teaches. Can I ever get in good standing with the church? (And when it was put in I didn’t know about mortal sins, just a vague sense that the church thinks it is wrong. I have done a bunch of reading since then.) And also, how does DH using condoms affect my need for confession and sin? Would confession even years from now be valid for the IUD? Because, I DO plan to get it removed at some point obviously and feel guilty and wrong with it in. Does that count for anything? What do people do when stuck like this in marriage? Marriage is two people but we are not following the church rules. Alone, I could, easily, gladly.

I think your specific case needs to be discussed with a priest but I will answer one of your questions: not only can you go to Mass but you SHOULD. Our obligation as Catholics is to attend Mass every Sunday and holy day of obligation. If we fail to attend Mass when in a state of sin we compound our sin by sinning anew. That being said, the obligation is to attend Mass, NOT to receive (except once a year during the Easter season). You should only receive communion after receiving absolution from a priest.

You benefit from the Lord’s presence at Mass even if you can’t receive. I’ve been in that boat many times.

I’ve heard the Daysy is super simple for tracking (takes about 3 months to learn your cycle…might be a little longer if your IUD is hormonal). There are only 6 days in a month that you could get pregnant…5 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation.

usa.daysy.me/

You say your husband won’t abstain. It seems like 5-6 days isn’t very many (admittedly I know menstruation can tack onto that count). I’d say get the IUD removed on your end. Sounds like you and your husband need to have a serious talk (and I know in today’s world it can be hard to get a partner to go along with certain Catholic teachings).

Thank you so far. I am going to go to confession. But I thought I cannot get communion even after confession if I still have an IUD? I do not understand the particulars of absolution. I intend to remove it but what if that is in the far future? I want to abstain, as that is 100%. What if I do not actually get to receive even once this year? I am then adding sin? What if my priest offers absolution, then I am scaredf it is not valid. And how would I know? How do my intentions here impact the sin? Frustrated because I am not trying to separate the marital act from procreation. I want to keep on my journey to resolve this. How patient is the church? Once I am beyond the age of childbearing I most certainly will not be in this situation. But that is a long time. Do I not receive for years, if I keep an IUD for years? Thank you for your help. Feels like I am the only one struggling with this after reading around the forums. If you gave given birth 7 or more times…I feel…physically I am at my limit. I would raise another child who appeared at my doorstep in a heartbeat. I am not trying to be not open to life. I just want to abstain, but as mentioned DH will not.

You want to do NFP; your husband does not. That’s his problem, his decision, his respinsibility. As long as you make clear what you want to do, then you bear no responsibility for what he does. That means he can use something and it does not affect your state of grace.

As long as you have the IUD or you yourself use some form of abc, you cannot receive the sacraments.

The IUD, however, is your responsibility. As long as you do not intend to have it removed imminently, *you can not receive Confession. *In order for confession to be valid, your must have a firm intention to abstain from each type of mortal sin.

I don’t know what to say about the Easter obligation. Maybe you and your husband can agree for you to have the IUD removed during Lent.

PS I agree with those who said to disuss this with your priest.

While it of course isn’t an excuse for not using NFP, I would just like to point out that NFP cannot exactly predict the days you can get pregnant and requires more abstinence than the bare 6 days. A woman with very little CM might only need to abstain 6 days but that would be rare.

You say you know artificial birth control is a sin of grave matter. You practice it deliberately which makes it a mortal sin. You do not intend to stop. That means Confession would not be sincere since you intend to continue sinning. You cannot have a partial Confession. You cannot receive absolution for sins confessed while you intend to continue sinning. You may not receive Communion while in a state of mortal sin.

I agree, that would be trying to play games with God. Maybe your husband wouldn’t be happy about abstaining for a few days but if you insisted he would have to. Marriage isn’t just one sided. What would he do if you insisted on abstaining a few days!! God Bless, Memaw

I am sorry you are having such a difficult time. It sounds like you have a good grasp on the Churches teaching on abc, and recognition of your current situation.

I’m going to put it out there that it doesn’t appear so much a question of abc, rather of marital communication and mutual respect. Part of being in a Christian marriage is a commitment to communicate (and asking assistance of a priest, counselor or ministry if communication is difficult) our wants / needs / desires within the relationship, and that of temporarily sacrificing one’s desires for the betterment of the marriage.

I understand in busy marriages, particularly those with “many, many kids” it is sometimes hard to find time to sit down for an “adult” conversation. I hope you and your husband are able to take the time and come to a resolution which meets both your needs within the context of the faith.

Good luck in your journey and your marriage. You and your family have been prayed for.

kc456,

Welcome. Hugs from a fellow mom. It sounds like you’re really struggling and wanting to do the right thing. It’s uncomfortable when our beliefs don’t line up with our actions; they call it cognitive dissonance and it can really strain us.

You mentioned wanting to go to confession, but it’s not clear from your post whether you want to confess the sin of contraception and getting the IUD or whether you’re hoping to avoid that topic and confess other sins. One of the requirements of confession is contrition, which means sorrow for sins. In other words, feeling remorse over our sin and having firm resolve to avoid it going forward.

Why are you not willing to have the IUD removed? If it’s because you wish to continue to be able to contracept, then you would be unable to receive absolution.

You absolutely should still attend Mass, and we’d be so happy to have you there!. Our obligation is to attend, not necessarily to receive Communion. Even if it seems that everyone else is going up, you ought to discern yourself whether you are in a state of mortal sin.

I’d be interested to hear from fellow posters what the consensus is about a woman who has an IUD but is unable to remove it for financial reasons or time constraints (e.g. unable to make it to the OBGYN office for another several weeks or unable to afford a copay). In this case, I would think it would be analogous to a person who had gotten a vasectomy or tubal ligation and she could confess the sin, receive communion, continue to engage in marital relations, and intend to remove it as soon as possible. Thoughts?

I think if she made an appointment for it to be removed, or started seriously saving for this if she couldn’t afford it right now, that she could ask the priest about it, as either action would show a purpose of amendment.

OK, then so as I understand it, I do NOT go to confession right now, for THIS issue.
Yes, I am sorry I got it and have it. I am not ready to remove it. If he won’t abstain then there is no 100%. And, yes, I am fully open to life should the IUD/condoms not prevent.

I will go to mass.
My question still remains, then, that I will not be able to receive the host even once for years, if this is the case (as long as I have an IUD), to avoid receiving while in mortal sin. What kind of sin is that, then, to not receive at Easter? But it seems I cannot if I have the IUD. ???

In the future, if I don’t have an IUD but he uses condoms, it feels a little wrong to place the all the sin on him. We BOTH feel our family is complete and want to avoid pregnancy. But I want to abstain (I am not comfortable with NFP alone since it’s not 100%). He will not abstain. So I can go to confession (to at least tell a priest the situation), and I’m in the clear?

April of NEXT year this particular IUD comes out, for sure. It has to. How patient is the church with this and sin? What if I have an IUD for years? Am I still able to confess and then sin no more? There will be a point when an IUD would no longer even be needed. I know these are difficult questions but if I was not wrestling with this I would not be here, and I appreciate your help.

If as a 60YO woman I confess for this whole thing would absolution even be possible? Though I suppose if I die before then, I go to hell??? Or am I not understanding that right? For SURE do I go to hell? Or can we possible know that? God knows what’s in one’s heart, right, and does that matter at all?

Wait…Do I have a purpose of ammendment? I think so, just not right now. I DO intend to be in line with church teaching at some point. Just as a woman saving to get it removed, though she’d do so sooner. So DO I go to confession even if I cannot get absolution?

Thank you.

You wish to abstain… indefinitely?

I would if that would be within the church teaching.

Anyway, I JUST SPOKE TO A PRIEST! He said I don’t go to confession for THIS issue right now since I will still have the IUD, and that I don’t get communion at mass. That is what I understood, too. I asked if the church is patient. What if I go to confession 1, 5, 10, 20 years from now? He said they will be here for me.

He also said I don’t worry about the need to receive once at Easter in this case…I don’t understand the specifics exactly.
I go to mass, is the gist of it.

Hi kc456,

In charity, it does not sound like you have purpose of amendment, at least not right now. Purpose of amendment means deciding not to commit the sin anymore. Just by virtue of your planning to an IUD reinserted next year means you intend to commit the sin again. I’m having trouble seeing how you can be truly sorry for having gotten the IUD and also planning on getting another one. Could it be rather that you regret the circumstances that make you feel compelled to use one?

Would your husband consider periodic abstinence (rather than total abstinence)? If so, you could use a very conservative method of NFP (phase III only) and be very unlikely to conceive.

There is no sin in feeling like your family is “complete.” The sin is only in choosing to pervert the sexual act. If you feel your family is complete but aren’t choosing to contracept, and you’ve asked your husband to use NFP instead, the sin isn’t yours. It would be his choice to use a condom so he can have sex whenever he wants or to man up and practice periodic abstinence. If this becomes your situation, yes, you would be able to confess your prior contraceptive use and continue to make love to you spouse regardless of whether or not he stops using condoms.

Mortal sin is grave matter, choosen freely, with the knowledge that it offends God. Mortal sin completely cuts of grace from our souls and if we die with unrepentant mortal sin on our souls, then, yes, we go to hell.

There is no time limit on forgiveness. God will forgive a 60 year old woman who is sincerely repentant. But a 30 year old woman who plans on having an IUD for the next 30 years and then just confessing then also commits the sin of presumption, in addition to contraception. That is, she presumes on God’s grace. But not only that, she would lose out on 30 years of a relationship with a Father who loves her and has sacrificed more for her than her husband. Yes, you can be reconciled with God at any point before death. But you risk eternal salvation and the sanctifying graces you could be receiving all along. Is it worth it?

kc456, if you really believe that contraception is a sin, and that sin offends God, and you really want to be right with the Church, why not spend some time praying in adoration about this? Your absolutes seem to be backwards. You’re starting with “my husband won’t abstain” and “I won’t take out the IUD” and trying to play with the rest (“Can God forgive me?” “Can I go to confession later?” “How bad is it really?” etc). Why not start with the absolute “No matter what, I won’t sin” and then try moving around the other pieces (“Would husband agree to NFP if we got a monitor or took a class?” “Could we abstain for a few months to see if we can get our feet back on the ground and re-evaluate then?” “Is there a way to get help with the kids we currently have?” etc). You see what I’m saying? Switch vantage points so you’re not starting from a place where you assume you will continue doing something that wounds your soul and hurts your marriage.

But do take heart. Even St. Augustine, once he became convicted of God’s truth but was unwilling to give up his own sexual sin, prayed, “Lord make me chaste, but not yet!” You’re in good company. Keep praying and searching for the truth. If God could make Augustine a saint, He can do the same for you.

Yes, do go to Mass.

If you were to receive at Easter it would be a further sin of sacrilege, where as not receiving at Easter is a sin against upholding the precpets of the Curch. Since you cannot be absolved then following the Easter precepts is really not the highest concern. I beleive that is what your priest was getting at.

As other say, go to mass even though you cannot receive. Pray to strengthen your relationship with God. Even though you are seperated from sacramental graces, mass and pray still offers actual graces. If in 5, 10, 20 years you have contrition that moves you to follow Church teaching She will certainly be there to welcome you.

I will only mention this out of concern and not as a parting shot of any type. Please remember that none of us know how long we will have on Earth so, while future intent to amend is admirable, it is done at the risk of being subject to judgement should we die before we expect. I have put off confession in the past while trying to come to contrition and a few days later was almost ran off the road into a ditch. If I had died I would be subject to judgment at that moment and not on a future hope that I did what is right. I only want you to keep in mind that the longer we put off doing what we should the greater risk we are in to never do so. I know I wish I had been reminded of that more often, so please understand it is from a place of brotherly love and not an uncaring admonishment.

You can not go to Confession at all, because of this issue. But you can talk to the priest outside the Confessional.

Yes, I am sorry I got it and have it. I am not ready to remove it. If he won’t abstain then there is no 100%. And, yes, I am fully open to life should the IUD/condoms not prevent.

It depends on why you are “not ready to remove it.” Are you not in a position to do so (money, for example), or are you not prepared to make a change?

I will go to mass.

That is good :slight_smile:

My question still remains, then, that I will not be able to receive the host even once for years, if this is the case (as long as I have an IUD), to avoid receiving while in mortal sin. What kind of sin is that, then, to not receive at Easter? But it seems I cannot if I have the IUD. ???

Right, you cannot gomto Confession and you can’t receive Communion. The rule is to encourage people to think about and change their lives during Lent.

In the future, if I don’t have an IUD but he uses condoms, it feels a little wrong to place the all the sin on him. We BOTH feel our family is complete and want to avoid pregnancy. But I want to abstain (I am not comfortable with NFP alone since it’s not 100%). He will not abstain. So I can go to confession (to at least tell a priest the situation), and I’m in the clear?

Yes, you can talk to a priest, as mentioned above, but no one can say that you are “in the clear” as long as you are committing what is known to be a mortal sin.

WRT your husband, while you both have the same goal, to avoid pregnancy, he wants to use a sinful means of avoiding, and you want to use a means which does not involve doing something sinful. *If you do not agree with his using a condom *and he knows that and does it anyway, then you bear no responsibility.

April of NEXT year this particular IUD comes out, for sure. It has to. How patient is the church with this and sin?

The Church is always happy to see people return to Christ. The problem with your situation is that you could die in the meantime, hence the urgency. We can not say where you would end up, God will see into your heart and know that, but the Church teaches us that using abc is the sort of thing which causes us to be deprived of grace in our souls and end up down below.

What if I have an IUD for years? Am I still able to confess and then sin no more? There will be a point when an IUD would no longer even be needed. I know these are difficult questions but if I was not wrestling with this I would not be here, and I appreciate your help. If as a 60YO woman I confess for this whole thing would absolution even be possible? Though I suppose if I die before then, I go to hell??? Or am I not understanding that right? For SURE do I go to hell? Or can we possible know that? God knows what’s in one’s heart, right, and does that matter at all?

The problem is that you *know *you are doing wrong, and are continuing to do it.

It is not for SURE, absolutely and definitively, that you will go to Hell, but the Church teaches that what you are doing usually leads there. Nor does the Church teach that feeling bad about a mortal sin you are continuing to commit will necessarily reduce your guilt.

Wait…Do I have a purpose of ammendment? I think so, just not right now. I DO intend to be in line with church teaching at some point. Just as a woman saving to get it removed, though she’d do so sooner. So DO I go to confession even if I cannot get absolution?

No, don’t go to Confession until you are ready to say to God, I apologize, I did the wrong thing, and I won’t do it any more, *starting from now. *

The reasons are that, first, I suggested you could talk with your priest to *see *if either of those things (appointment or saving money up) would suffice as a firm intention to stop; second, your current intention is to continue until some point in the future, which is *not *a firm intention to stop.

You are changing your position, which is a good thing!

Thank you.

You’re welcome. May I suggest that if you are not currently praying the Rosary, that you start? And consider a little something to give up for Lent? Not something difficult, something which would cause you to take notice but not be disruptive.

And do not forget that prayer is very powerful! When I first returned to the Church (in which I had been baptized but not raised), I had what seemed like an insoluble and serious problem. The priest told me to pray, and I blurted out: but you don’t understand: I have to *do *something!

Twenty years later, and I now know that prayer is the most powerful thing we can do.

Pray for your fears to be dissolved; pray that your husband’s heart be softened.

You are starting a winderful voyage down a road which can look scarily mysterious, and you will need to learn to trust God.

Sorry, half of my last post is not useful since you talked to the priest :o

Very useful, thank you!

I do wonder how the church views intention to confess. What if the person dies on the way to confession? Or plans to go Saturday when it’s offered but dies on Thursday? Or plans to go in 10 years and dies before then? Maybe these are big questions only God knows. People surely die all the time (suddenly) without being able to ask forgiveness at all of God, in confession or otherwise. So should a Catholic ask for forgiveness from God ALWAYS after any sin before they can get to confession?

So, I will pray, go to mass. Try the rosary. I do have intention to confess. I am not saying that makes anything OK. I am trying not to simplify it to “Well, I’ll use this birth control so I can be sure of no more children (but feel bad doing this), then confess later.” But yet it amounts to that I suppose? I wish to abstain but DH will not. But you are saying a door is not being closed to me.?I should not forget about trying to be a Catholic? (I am not thinking that, of course, but I want to have some hope here…that God will help me and prayer will help me…get where I need to be. Because, I think I can get to a state of grace. But I don’t know WHEN. I simply don’t. I suppose I risk dying and going to hell, as I understand it because I am not having it removed ASAP. Lots to think about.

(And I think I should go to confession for having taken communion when I should not have. I did not understand or know any of this terminology at the time, as I learned all that here. I can go to confession anyway for receiving, right? Maybe it was not a sin if I didn’t know, but surely I can still go to confession?

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