Not open to having children

OK I understand all married couples are suppose to be open to having children, but what if a person truly believes that they are not responsible enough, mentally or emotionally stable enough, or has something like anger issues, personality disorder, etc. and they just don’t feel it would be right for them to raise a child. Are they not suppose to get married or can they marry but cannot have sex?

IMO, I truly respect the people that admit their own limitation and selfishness and opt not to have children, but I don’t see why they cannot get married and bond in that way. Sometimes it takes a life time to over come our flaws even with God help and he better than anyone knows what are flaws are. Some people should really not have children.

This is a complicated subject. There are many types of mental illnesses and levels of severity within those types, most of which probably do not impair enough that a person could not be a parent. Their spouse might have to help them out in certain situations though. The couple would want to speak to a medical professional and a priest before having children. The couple needs to be open to life when they “have relations”. They can use Natural Family Planning to limit children if it is morally permissible (which would be based on the doctor’s and priest’s advice). Not having relations (abstinence) would also be allowed.

This all applies to couples that are already married. I think if someone is not interested in kids, they probably should not be thinking about marriage. That is the reason to get married. It is the most stable environment to raise children. If a person isn’t interested in kids, there is no need for them to go further in a relationship than friendship. I don’t know what the Church’s stance is on this.

This is pretty much the Church’s stance on this.

People with such attitudes should not marry. And if they do they would be entering marriage under the cloud of mortal sin; for they will have sworn falsely to God and to their spouce.

Off hand I would say such a person has serious spiritual problelms and should undergo a serious examination of conscience and get their spiritual life in order. Certainly regular prayer and the sacraments would be a part of this regimen. One can also add regular reading of the Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. A Catholic has a covenent with Christ Himself, and will be judged upon how the covenant has been lived. Remember all Catholics are to be counter cultural, examples for the surrounding culture to follow. To the world we are to be priests and prophets. Otherwise how will it be saved? It is not enough to be mere bystanders, and it is anthema to be a part of the problem.


A permanent intention against children is an impediment to valid marriage.

If someone feels that they have serious issues in being a parent and raising children, they are going to have serious issues in the marriage as well and even major mental illness, anger and deep hurts from the past. If someone is aware of these things in themselves, the better thing to do is to seek help and healing with these issues. If someone can’t control their anger, they are not marriage material to begin with anyway. If someone is constantly deeply depressed or bi-polar, their mood problems and swings will likewise interfer with a marriage. The things you listed will cause problems in a marriage even without children.

well because marriage and sex. relations in it, are also for companionship,…couldn’t people who are in this categ. still participate in marriage for the togetherness aspects, and do double duty on the nfp, meaning safeguard around any fertile times so they are sure not to conceive, I don’t know what the rules are, but if they should conceive, could they give up the child for adoption? is this allowed by the rules?

what is the false swearing to God and their spouse about, in the ceremony do they swear to have children, or is it ok for them to use nfp and avoid conception too? is this against the rules or not?

In the ceremony they promise to accept children lovingly from God. Also, if they have a permanent intention against children their marriage will be invalid.

What kind of companion will a person be if they are constantly angry and can’t control it or dealing with major depression or mood swings etc? They are not in a condition to be a companion to another person and the other person ends up constantly carrying them. If someone honestly looks at themselves and realizes that not only would they be a terrible parent but what goes with that is that they would be a terrible spouse. The two go hand in hand together, that is the way God designed marriage and one of many reasons why the the Church teaches what it does about marriage and children.

lots cannot have kids but still are married,…maybe with medication and therapy a person like this could marry later on,…after working some things out,…

is giving children for adoption approved by CC?

The question has nothing to do with infertility or even those who marry knowing they physically cannot have children do to that or even age. The Catholic church does recognize those marriages and the Catholic church also is very supportive of adoption. Your question has can the marriage be a valid sacrimental marriage if one of the spouses doesn’t want children at all due to mental health problems. You already have the answer from a majority of posters in no and if you were in marriage prep classes and meetings, one of the first things a priest will ask about and check is if both fully open to children.
I took a slightly different angle in that if someone thinks they shouldn’t have children due to mental health problems, those problems will likewise interfer with having a healthy happy marriage to begin with.

It’s so interesting when people try to separate a purpose from an act. We could play all day with exceptions, but one of the purposes of marriage is children.

Just because humans have figured out that children can be made outside of marriage, or out of the correct context, doesn’t change the purposes of marriage.

On another thread, a poster suggested that a couple might marry, and with the intention to NOT have their own children (though physically possible), and instead to adopt children. The couple would use NFP to avoid for the entirety of their marriage. No reason for avoidance was suggested, other than a preference to adopt.

Would such an intention prior to marriage constitute a “permanent intention against children”, or does an intention to adopt provide the appropriate attitude towards children?

I note an infertile couple may marry and have no obligation to adopt.

I am interested to hear the answer to this because I myself think this is a unselfish act.

I find it very hard to accept that people who are mature enough to realize they would not make good parents for whatever reason could not and should not be able to share their live and have a relationship with another person.

These people are suppose to live out their lives alone with no true personal relationship. I find that very uncharitable. I seriously do not think God wants people to be lonelier than they are, at truly no fault of there own. Some people simply don’t take to children, that should not keep them from marrying, especially if their faith is strong in any other way.

This might be better answered by a moral theologian. 1ke said “A permanent intention against children is an impediment to valid marriage.” I am sure that is correct. It seems to me that a permanent intention to use NFP indefinitely–as a permanent intention against conception–amounts the same thing.

If their faith is strong, why would they not be obedient and accept what God gives them? Why would they be demanding from God (via the Church) a child-free marriage in order to be happy? :confused:

Why do we human beings think we have a “right” to marriage and sex? You are either called to marriage or you are not. Where do we get the idea that marriage is all about “my” happiness? Marriage is about sacrifice, not about not being lonely. If someone is “mature enough” to realize that they wouldn’t make a good parent, they should be “mature enough” to realize they probably wouldn’t make a good spouse, either–especially as marriage and parenthood often require the same types of sacrifice (in different ways).

If a person would truly make a good spouse and has a strong faith, then, for love of God and love of their spouse, they would probably be able to accept and love any future children, as well–even if it required a lot of sacrifice and even if they don’t “take” to children (and it’s quite possible they may feel differently about their own children, even if they don’t like to be around other people’s). Feeling affection is not a requirement of love.

And to Rau, who mentioned infertile couples being allowed to marry: there is a difference between being unable and being unwilling. An infertile couple is not being disobedient or closed to life because they are not able to have children–they can certainly still be open to what God gives to them, even if it’s extremely unlikely that they will ever have children. A couple who decides they do not want to accept the gift of a child… is a whole different thing. It’s trying to redefine what God has revealed to us about love. It’s like telling God, “I know better than You what’s best for me.”


No one is saying they cannot have true, deep, meaningful, intimate relationships. Rather they are bringing up an important aspect to consider, namely, that marriage, by its very nature, is impossible if there is a permanent intention against having children. This isn’t some changeable Church discipline. This is a direct result of what marriage is. So just as it is impossible for two people of the same sex to marry because the nature of marriage requires sexual complementarity it is impossible for a couple to marry while having a permanent intention against children because the nature of marriage requires a willingness to accept children lovingly from God.

Now, having said that, I think there is a very important distinction to be made between those couples who truly have a permanent intention against children and those who would love to have children but foresee a permanent serious/just reason for them to avoid having children and so foresee that they will need to use either periodic or complete abstinence to avoid conception indefinitely. I do not think the latter can be said to have a permanent intention against children. They would love to have children but are stuck with less than ideal circumstances and so have to offer up their inability to have children as a cross.

It is simply not true, that a person that just doesn’t like being around children would not make a good spouse. Children and adult are completely different. Yes making sacrifices are the same, but if one cannot communicate or tolerate children that doesn’t mean they cannot work with adults. It means they have a limitation, we all do, they should not be punished for that.

You simply cannot expect every single person in the world to like or tolerate children. For the Church to teach that only leads to depression, guilt, etc. I see it as very uncaring and outdated along with millions of other Catholic around the world.

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