Practical questions about contraception

I consider myself a very devout Catholic, but struggle with the question of contraception.

I am the mother of four grown children and Nana to three beautiful grandchildren. My two married children use artificial contraception. My oldest daughter has two children. They lost their home last year and moved in with us. They were not using any contraception and though they wanted another child she never did conceive. A week after they moved into our house she became pregnant.

She had the baby four months ago and we basically are supporting them. Her husband works and she stays home with the children. We don’t mind helping them out at all and it is a real blessing to have them here, but she could not emotionally handle another child right now - her baby is sick and difficult and she barely has time to care for the two she has now. So, if a person really cannot physically, emotionally and financially afford more children why is is morally wrong to avoid having more children?

The other issue is my other daughter. She is in a marriage that is not blessed nor recognized as valid by the church. Her husband is a divorcee and he is also not Catholic. They too use birth control because they definitely cannot afford another child, nor do they have space in their one bedroom shack for another person.

The marital bed serves two purposes - unitive and procreative. I had a hysterectomy and cannot ever conceive another child - should my husband and I stop having relations because we cannot fulfill the “procreative” aspect of our relationship??

I hate to support something that the Church considers “intrinsically evil” but I can see the compelling reasons why my daughters would choose this option.

Hi CCnurse,

If your children feel that it would be financially or emotionally ruinous to have another child, they are of course in the right to avoid doing so. However, the rightness of the end does not justify any means (else abortion would be permissible to avoid having another child). Natural family planning would be the best means of avoiding the risk of pregnancy, if they are able to bear the risk of pregnancy (which granted is relatively small if NFP is practiced properly), that is, if the prospect of pregnancy is not TOO catastrophic. If it is, they should remain abstinent until such a time as their prospects improve and they can enjoy the marital embrace without worry.

As for yourself, morality in a natural law sense (which is how the Church derives its moral system) consists merely in using your faculties in a manner consistent with their end, even if the end is incidentally impossible to achieve. Since the sexual faculty exists for the purpose of procreation, all that matters is that you have sex in a manner consistent with the end of procreation, thus, that your husband’s sexual acts conclude (at least for him) with intravaginal ejaculation.

Hope that helps.

Actually, if you had a hysterectomy specificallyto avoid having children, then *that * may be considerd a sin - I’m not sure. Nonetheless, continued marital relations with your husband would *not * be

As for your daughter married to a divorcee, the Church would consider him to still be married to his original wife, and not to your daughter, so she would be committing adultery anyway - makes it difficult to assess whether it would then be better or worse to use contraception in this case! I think there are whole conferences discussing this going on…:shrug:

It’s unfortunate that you, particularly as a nurse, know nothing about Natural Family Planning and are unable to share that knowledge with your children. Contraception is injurious to women’s health – especially the abortifacient Pill which can cause strokes, blood clots, and heart attacks – not to mention the death of the very young.

The Catholic Church is the only Church I know of that teaches birth control – i.e., Natural Family Planning. Those who practice NFP have a very low divorce rate – somewhere in the range of 5%. For those who contracept, the divorce rate is very high.-- greater than 50%.

I hope you’ll educate yourself so you can give your children the guidance that will prevent them from living in mortal sin. If you encourage contraception, well . . . it’s on your soul as well.

Self-mutilation (deliberate sterilization) is always a mortal sin that a person has to live with until they die. Most sins can be forgiven, but the psychological damage of sterilization or abortion are permanent.

You might start with Christopher West’s book Good News about Sex and Marriage, Answers to Your Honest Questions about Catholic Teaching..

NFP is extremely effective – as effective as any other method – if practiced correctly and consistently. And it’s free.

Jim Dandy

When you get into the topic of contraception, the basis is completely and solely on the purpose of sex. Like you said, it is unitive and procreative in its objective nature. It is the letting of God use his awesome creative power. If you get the chance, please watch the video below. It will answer a great deal, if not all, of your questions on the sacred action of sex.
If she cannot have another child because she is exhausted, then she should not have sex. This is a spiritual discipline. We must respect sex for what it is.

For yourself, this is pure speculation, but I believe it would be necessary for you to continue marital relations with your husband. While you will have to live with knowing that you can never conceive again, it will prompt you to regard sex for what it is. Perhaps say a prayer before hand with your husband, etc. In doing so, thank God for the gift of sexuality. It is the constant renewal of your marriage. Giving yourself physically to your husband and vice versa is a reflection of how God gives himself to us in the Eucharist. It is beautiful!

In all fairness, we are not taught about natural family planning in nursing school. In my textbook there is a one-paragraph blurb about it, with a low efficacy rate, and equated to the rythmn method. So please understand that just because one is a nurse, doesn’t mean they will know and understand natural family planning. I have gone to Catholic grammar school, Catholic high school, Catholic college and Catholic university and never heard a blurb about it all these years until I happened upon this forum about 2 years ago? A year ago? I forget, but NFP is not as common knowledge as you think it is.

Besides that, it is very hard to talk to people about birth control and natural family planning. The fact is, the majority of people just don’t trust it, no matter how wonderful people on this forum believe it to be.

As to the health risks associated with artificial birth control, the benefits of not taking birth control will have to outweigh the risks associated with it – just like any other medication we take – in order to convince someone not to take them for their own health. Someone who is scared to death of getting pregnant is not going to mind the risks as much as someone who has a history of cancer, or who already has high blood pressure or heart problems.

The Catholic Church is the only Church that is so strict on artificial birth control usage. Other religions, such as Jewish and Muslim, allow it within reason. Most non-Catholic Christians are allowed artificial birth control. So using a comparison between the religions isn’t really useful. What is useful is showing a Catholic the Vatican-provided written teachings regarding birth control (Humanae Vitae and the Catechism) because in the end, it really doesn’t matter what other religions teach. IMOHO, looking at what other religions teach is just going to make the rules of the Church look that much more restrictive and difficult to follow…

I wrote in haste. I’'m sure you wouldn’t have learned about NFP in nursing school, and I didn’t mean to imply that. But I would have thought that as a “devout Catholic” you would have informed yourself. The info is all over the internet. You can contact the Couple to Couple League – they give NFP lessons. That’s only one organization. My diocese requires all Catholic couples who apply to marry in the Church to take the full complement of NFP lessons so that they know how to put it into practice.

Even women in the jungle have been taught NFP. It’s very simple. And equally as effective as the abortifacient Pill.

It sounds like you disagree with the Church’s teaching without knowing why she teaches it.

I was not Catholic when I learned about the Church’s teaching on contraception, which is based on the Natural Law, but I intuitively knew the Church was right. Contraception is compared by many to bulemia – intentionally throwing up to avoid the consequences of eating. Contraception is having the pleasure of sex and intentionally avoiding the natural consequences. However, contraception often fails – and the result is abortion. Periodic abstinence is the choice made available by God’s design of the human body.

The website may be of interest. They have a book of doctors’ stories who became pro-life upon learning the truth about contraception. They no longer prescribe it. It’s an interesting website even if you’ve no intention of changing your mind about it.

The Catholic Church does not teach her children that it’s okay to commit mortal sin. She tells them the truth. Their immortal souls are at risk. Before 1930, every Christian denonination taught that contraception was a sin. Contraception was made acceptable by the Episcopalians/Anglicans at the Lambeth Conference that year. Flip flop. It was a sin, but now it’s not. Flip flop. Even the Orthodox have caved to the pressures of modern society. Now the Catholic Church stands alone in teaching the truth. I love this Church!

Jim Dandy

I see that you are in Lula, GA. There is a wonderful NFP only doctor located near Atlanta. I drive two hours to see her, but it is well worth it.

Dr. Kathleen Raviele
2167 Northlake Parkway Suite 105
Tucker, GA 30084
Phone: (770) 491-0255

Maybe your daughter could make an appointment with Dr Raviele.:shrug:

I can’t speak for CCnurse, but personally, I wouldn’t have thought to “inform” myself about something I knew nothing about :confused: Again, I went to Catholic grammar school, Catholic High School, Catholic college and Catholic university. Surely, rather than blame it all on the Catholic, one might think it might be taught to Catholics, by a high school, college or university.

Contraception is permitted in my church, the Orthodox Christian Church. The church believes that sex between husband and wife are for procreation, but also for enjoyment and intimacy.

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