Non Catholic wife and contraception


Hello from Sydney Australia.

I have read through some old threads and didn’t find anything conclusive.

I am seeking some official Church position on my situation. I am a catholic convert who converted in 2012 and was married not long after converting. My wife is not catholic nor baptised. We were married in a catholic church. Since having children my wife has returned to using birth control recently to which I objected. I have explained the position of the Church and my beliefs and that I would not like her to use them. She accepts my belief yet doesn’t believe she is bound by them herself.

Now my position is am I able to have sexual relations with my wife? Am I committing mortal sin by having sexual relations with my wife knowing she is using contraception? I feel that if I abstain it will effect our marriage over the long term. However I do love my wife, yet I appreciate that my love of Christ must be and is greater and if it requires me to abstain, I will.

Any advice would be appreciated.


Speak with your priest. From what I’ve read on CAF from other people, you’re probably good (I could be wrong), but talking to a priest will get you the best advice as he’ll know if there are any pertinent questions that need answering.


If you were married in the church and with dispense (what I assume), haven´t you brought this topic up pre-cana? Whatever you discussed there could beimportant to decide now. I would make an appointment with the priest who married you. Good luck!


The birth control pill is an abortifacient. If it were merely a contraceptive, the moral analysis would be different. If you have relations with your wife, while she takes an abortifacient, you are participating in the deaths of your own prenatal children, which become more likely as more time passes. The longer she is on abortifacients and the two of you have marital relations, the more children will be killed in the womb. So, it is not moral to have marital relations with a spouse who is using abortifacients.


The pill preserves ovulation, this is not abortion. It doesn´t make contraception more right (it isn´t), but this is medical nonsense.


breakthrough ovulation rates can go as high as 20% per month [Gardner, Ph.D. and Miller, M.D., Journal of Women’s Health, Vol. 14, n. 1, 2005].

The Vademecum (Instruction for Confessors) also states that the case of abortifacients is different from the case of mere contraception.

“14. Furthermore, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the question of cooperation in evil when recourse is made to means which can have an abortifacient effect. [48]”

Endnote 48: ‘From the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it’ (John Paul II, Enc. Evangelium Vitae, March 25, 1995, n. 74).”

John Paul II: “The close connection which exists, in mentality, between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious. It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of the new human being.”


?! what do you mean?


This is something to talk to your confessor about.

I suggest your read the document Vademecum for Confessors (available online) that discusses this in the context of guidance for priests.

Yes it is possible for you to have relations with your wife, if you are meeting the criteria laid out there.

Talking to your priest in real life is the best option becuase this falls under pastoral advice rather than something people on the internet can advise you on.


Alice, the birth control pill does not ONLY prevent ovulation. They act by three mechanisms: preventing ovulation, inhibiting sperm transport and making the uterus hostile to implantation. It is this third action which could have an abortifacient effect.

Again I encourage the OP to read the Vademecum for himself and talk to his own priest— NO ONE here can say yes or no to him regarding his situation.


Well yes, but then implantation doesn´t happen - so nothing can be aborted. It´s not that the third effect would become active after a successful implantation.
Again, I´m not speaking for the pill, but this semms to be a difference. I don´t have this problem with NFP :wink:


Alice, life begins at conception, not implantation.


? there is no conception when there´s no implantation? Sorry , but I don´t loose unborn baies all the time when there´s no egg that is able to imlantate fetilized, at this point, there´s sperm and an unfertilized egg.
@Pup7 aren´t you a medical professional? I honestly ask if you may tell me the difference. Maybe a language barrier or a lack of udnerstanding :slight_smile:


No dear. When sperm and egg meet, a zygote forms. This is conception. This occurs in the Fallopian tube. This is when life begins. It takes about a week of development as the new life forms a blastocyte and travels from Fallopian tube to the uterus. Implantation in the uterus is a step in the process, but it is not the beginning of the new life.


@Dutch_H please don’t decide to cooperate with your wife in the use of abortifacients. There is no justification for killing one’s own children in the womb.

@alice24 breakthrough ovulation means that the abortifacient contraception (the pill) fails as a contraceptive; it fails to prevent the ovum from being released. Then the chemical has its next effect, preventing the implanation of a conceived prenatal, thereby resulting in the death of an innocent.

This moral decision should be clear to all well-catechized Catholics. There is no justification for abortifacients because the deaths of one’s own children in the womb as a bad consequence is entirely avoidable, and because the use of abortifacients is intrinsically evil (and therefore always immoral).


Thanks for the replies. You are correct about speaking to a priest. I will do so soon. I was more just seeking some guidance rather than a yes or no answer. Thanks again for the information. God bless.


The OP did not indicate what form of contraception his wife intended to use. You presume. You speak unilaterally where the Church doesn’t.

The Vademecum is for confessors and that is where this conversation belongs— between the OP and his priest.


Can a wife have marital relations with her husband, if he uses a condom? The Magisterium has ruled that she may not, – Is the use of marriage licit if it happens by the using “the abominable instrument commonly called ‘the condom’?” Answer: “No, indeed, it is intrinsically evil.” (Denz. 2795)

Similarly, the husband may not cooperate with the wife, even if her use of contraception is not an abortifacient, but a barrier type device.


That is not what the Vademecum says.


Life begins at conception and ends at death. Implantation is one of the things that happens during a life.


1ke and The little lady had already answers you correctly.

So I will just add some informations that may be the barrier of language that you evoke.

Traditionally, and also in catholic language, conception is the union between an egg and a spermatozoid that form a new life, a new human being.
I think it is the definition of almost all dictionnaries, and common definition evrywhere.

Implantation is when the little embryo implanted himself in the uterus.

But recently, some decades ago, the notion of fertilization had appeared in English language to define the union of sperm and egg, and reimplace conception.
Implantation is sometimes substituted by conception

And an embryo is sometimes now callled a pre-embryo until he implanted himself in the uterus. (More in UK, I think). With argument: for twins, the separation take place in the tubes.

Why that language changes? Because of an attempt to skirt some bioethical problems.
To not feel bad morally to take or promote the birth control pill first.
Then, after, very usefull to try to resolve moral anxiety over Fecondation In vitro
And more recently, for acceptance of morning after pill.
By changing words, we hide some thruths, that can be unconfortable, to make them confortable and accepted by everyone.

So we have to be carrefull in English,to be sure that we speak of the same thing, moslty when it is people who don’t believe in life’s protection at every stages.

In French, we don’t have thoses language problem. Conception is conception. We can sometimes used fertilization, but it is very unfrequent.
But that does’nt mean that thoses things I evoke are much more accept than in the US on the exterior. In France, it is just political uncorrectness to bring a public discordant word; Thoses how personally opposed keep that just very private.

Was I cleared?

What the german language is?

Note: the pill act in 3 ways (not perfectly of course, and some baby born after…):

  • inhibit the ovulation (not always, and depend on the pill)
  • dry up fertile- type cervical mucus (that’s why, women on the pill often don’t aware of mucus changed).
  • change of the endometrium, to make him hostile to the implantation of a child.

This is this last one, who are against the new life. Some people very technical, will said it is not abortion because pregnancy begin in the implantation, which is true, but it is still the loss of an unique genetical human being. there is not nothing before.
And it is not acceptable for Catholics.

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