Premarital Sex with Contraception


The teaching on limbo (which was never declared doctrine by the Church) isn’t that it’s ‘hell’, but that it’s a place of natural joy (without being a full-on experience of the Beatific Vision). The whole point of the thought experiment of ‘limbo’ is precisely that it’s not hell!

This is mentioned also by Dante who says that

Dante isn’t a source of Church teaching. Just thought I’d point that out for ya… :wink:

I don;t think that stealing 1000 dollars from a bank is anywhere near as grave as torturing innocent people and chopping off their heads. Stealing 1000 dollars from a rich bank may send you to level 2, but the cruel torture and murder of innocent people could send you to level 7 or higher.

The Church doesn’t teach that there are levels of hell. :shrug:


The Councils of Lyons and of Florence declared that the souls of the damned are punished with unequal punishments. And St. Augustine teaches “In their wretchedness the lot of some of the damned will be more tolerable than that of others. Justice demands that the punishment be commensurate with the guilt.” (Ott, Fundamentals, 482).


Fornication = 1 mortal sin

Contracepting while fornicating = 1 mortal sin

So that’s 2 mortal sins, both equally able to send you to Hell. And if you confess those sins, that’s twice the amount of agonizing time in Purgatory because of the second mortal sin.


I do wish people would stop fighting the premise of this question! Unlike all the bizarre hypotheticals about torture and murder, the choice whether to have premarital sex and use contraception are very common in our society, and Catholics ought to be able to have calm discussions about the relative merits of those choices. To call one evil lesser than another evil does not imply that it’s not evil, and neither does it imply that anyone ought to do it.


I don’t really understand the point of asking such a question. Strive not to commit either sin.


Then what is the point of asking the question, if not to use one sin to justify the other? They are both sins and neither has any “merits”.


It is not fighting about the premises so much as saying it doesn’t matter.

From a Catholic theology stadpoint both are hell worthy. Might you get additional punishment if you fornication and contracept and die unrepentant? Possibly, even likely, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. Mortal sin only has relative merit in human terms, both sin offend an infinite God infinitely. Let’s look at it from a mathematical stand point.

Fornication = ∞ offensive
Contraception = ∞ offensive
∞ + ∞ = ∞ (okay technically undefined, but ∞ is also undefined)

You’ll notice that ∞ added to itself is still ∞ not twice as infinite, but still infinite. Extending that to sin, one or both do not matter since either one or both are still infinitely offensive to God.

Now think about the damage that people do to a loving God when they willingly chose to offend him, yet then quibble about one being less offensive.


There are different levels of infinity. Some infinite sets have more elements than others.


Hmmm… here I thought we were talking about moral theology and not number theory (hint its called an analogy). None of which changes the fact that one or the other or both will destroy the indwelling of grace. Without that supernatural grace, our souls are incompatible with life in heaven with God.


The point of asking the question is that it enables us to better understand the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. We all agree that the Church condemns contraception. But WHY does it condemn it? What principle of morality does it contradict?

Now we know the Catholic Church teaches that, when properly used, sex has the intention of both openness to life and uniting a married couple. But are we to consider these as two separate intentions, or as one unified intention?

First let’s look at a scheme where they are two separate intentions. “The purposes of sex are to A) produce children, and B) unite a married couple.” So now the sin chart looks like this:

  1. Sex outside of marriage is bad, because it violates B).
  2. Contraception is bad, because it violates A).
  3. Ergo, 1, 2, and 1 and 2 combined are all bad, but 1 and 2 combined is especially bad, because it violates both A) and B).

Or, we can look at it this way: The purpose of sex is for a married couple to produce children. Now we have a rather different sin chart:

  1. Sex outside of marriage is bad, because it cannot achieve this purpose.
  2. Contraception by a married couple is also bad, because it cannot achieve this purpose.
  3. Sex outside of marriage, no matter what, cannot achieve this purpose. Contraception or lack thereof is irrelevant.


Please note what Ott is saying: “The Union Councils of Lyons and of Florence declared that the souls of the damned are punished with unequal punishments (poenis tamen disparibus puniendas). D 464, 693. This is probably intended to assert not merely a specific difference in the punishment of original sin (poena danmi) and of personal sins (poena damni and poena sensus), but also a difference in the degree of punishment for personal sins.”

Ott isn’t saying – with force of doctrine – that this means that there are disparate punishments based on personal sin. He only suggested that “this is probably intended to assert” this. So, if you want to base your argument on a ‘probable’ assertion, go right ahead. Just don’t say that this is what the Church teaches definitively… :wink:


Facite is asking if committing two mortal sins (particularly at the same time) is more damming than committing one mortal sin, in which case the answer is yes.

The one who utilizes artificial birth control, in addition to committing premarital sex, is in a worse place than the one who simply commits premarital sex. Both persons are on the path to Hell, with the 1st person having more sins on his soul.

Does this answer your question, Facite?


The analogy is that there are different levels of infinity. Just as there are different levels of punishment in hell according to St. Augustine: St. Augustine teaches “In their wretchedness the lot of some of the damned will be more tolerable than that of others. Justice demands that the punishment be commensurate with the guilt.” (Ott, Fundamentals, 482).


Not true, because Jesus says: Matthew 11:21-24
21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.[a] For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Jesus says that the Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon—renowned for their wickedness—would receive a lesser punishment at the Day of Judgment than the cities of Bethsaida and Chorazin.
And The Council of Lyons 1274 AD declares:
“The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, yet to be punished with different punishments.”


Yes!! A sin is a sin!!!


There are multiple sins involved: fornication, and artificial birth control (which may mean that abortion occurs), and if pregnancy results then there is the sin of not intending or supporting the infant as a married family, and then there is in each of these, scandal given. The basis of them all is that charity is given up for acquisition of material benefit.

The more sins, the more harm (including to the Church), and more penance and temporal punishment required if repentance occurs. It forfeits the glory of a holy life of being like Christ.


People on this thread are fraid to use their own brains…:frowning: This is the first time I have to agree with th non-Catholic poster here…


The greater the moral disorder, the greater the sin.

Premarital sex is a grave sin. Using contraception is a grave sin. So premarital sex with contraception is more gravely disordered (more sinful) than premarital sex without contraception.

But it doesn’t seem that way to many Catholics, because they have been influenced by sinful secular society to think that contraception is not so bad.


A sin is not a sin just because the Lord said so. Every prohibition has a purpose. Prohibition of a premarital sex has a purpose of defending marriage as a natural institution and preventing people from abusing their sexuality. Prohibition of acontraception is aimed at people not abusing their sexuality and not avoiding procreation. If there is no marriage, both sins break one and the same prohibition - against abusing one’s sexuality. They are one offence in fact. That’s why use of contraception is at least irrelevant in premarital sex. Stating otherwise would entail that one may be punished twice for the same offense. And using contraception in such a situation is at least the sign the a person is aware about the possible consequences and does not want to ruin the lives of innocent children.


A baby is a blessing and a gift so my first thought is contraception is more problematical. Also, contraception is, in many cases, enables premarital sex. With that in mind contraception is primary.

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