Tubal Ligation

I was raised Lutheran. My mother was a pretty liberal person. My step-fathers family were non-practicing Catholics. On the rare occasion we went to church we went to a Lutheran church.

During my teens and into my 20’s I primarily identified as pagan or atheist. When I was 25 I gave birth to my 3rd child and decided to have a tubal ligation as I felt I couldn’t financially, physically or emotionally care for any more children. Because I had Catholic friends and family, I knew the Church was against contraception and sterilization. However, I thought such teachings did not apply to me as I was not Catholic or even a believer in God at the time.

This past year I found faith in God again. My husband and I began attending Mass. He was raised Catholic and had fallen away from the Church and I am converting to Catholicism.

The tubal ligation has been weighing on my mind. I am about to turn 38 (showing signs of beginning menopause) and cannot afford to have the procedure reversed. Can I become a good Catholic with my tubes tied? What is the Church’s position on people like me who made such a mistake before we “knew better”? I do regret the decision and wish I could go back and change history, but I cannot.

I began RCIA this past Sunday and haven’t had time yet to bring up the matter to my priest.

YES, you can become a Catholic!! You would just need to confess the tubal ligation when you make your first confession. You are sorry. God forgives you. You are not obligated to reverse the ligation, especially since you cannot afford it. You can be open to life in other ways, such as caring for your aging parents/in-laws. And remember, not even sterilization is 100% effective–just have the mindset when you are intimate with your husband that you would accept a “surprise” if He chooses to give you one. Remember Sarah and Elizabeth were both barren, and God gave them sons. Don’t let this stop you. COME HOME!

What she said. Welcome Home.

A canonist or someone with a definitive answer will be along but here’s my stab: you cannot erase what is already done. You were not Catholic when the surgery was undertaken, you were not fully aware of the moral implications of such surgery, you are not financially in a position to reverse the surgery, and even if you were, you are of an age that conceiving a child is increasingly unlikely.

You have some moral culpability. If you were never baptised, your sacramental baptism will address this past mistake. If you were baptised, you will likely receive conditional baptism followed by confession; which, again, will address the issue.

If your financial circumstance change significantly, you may have some moral obligation to explore with a priest and with competent medical advisors who are aware of and not actively hostile to authoritative Catholic teaching, the possibility of reversing the proceedure. Given your age and the changes you believe your body may be undergoing, the medical advice may be that you would be incapable of child-bearing anyhow–so that such a surgery might represent a needless gesture.

in any case, you are not barren, having borne three children. Enjoy those children, do as you can to instruct them in your newfound Catholic faith, and be the holiest person the Holy Ghost enables you to become.

Welcome home.

This is a good point. If you are not baptized, the sin of tubal ligation and all the sins you have ever committed in your life will be wiped away at baptism. If you are already baptized, you will make a confession before you are confirmed in the church.

:thumbsup: Enjoy your journey home!
Mary.

The other posters are correct. You have no obligation to have the procedure reversed. You know it was a sin. The sin will either be wiped away in Baptism (if you have not been validly baptized) or in Confession. Either way, it will be gone and you start anew.

You can certainly bring it up to your priest. When going through RCIA, it’s generally good to lay it all out there for the priest so he can guide you on what you need to do (there could be marriage issues to straighten out if your husband was baptized Catholic and the two of you married elsewhere). Most priests have heard and seen it all. They’re usually the best people to tell you what (if anything) you need to do.

I will say a prayer for you and your husband as you continue on in your amazing spiritual journey! Welcome home!

Thank you to those who have responded. I look forward to more thoughts on the matter. And thank you all for the kindness and prayers.

I was baptized Lutheran as a 3 week old baby. So, I will have to wait until my first Confession.

I do have a “marriage issue”. I was “married” before and 2 of my 3 children came from that “marriage”. I did enter the marriage thinking it would probably not work out and that divorce was not only an option, but almost a certainty. The idea didn’t bother me as much as the idea of being married, honestly. Most of my family had been divorced at one time or another. I thought marriage was a civil contract more than anything else.

I married to legitimize my infant daughter and give her her fathers name and a connection to her paternal family, which I did not have growing up. Also, my mother was in the last couple years of her life and I wanted her to be at peace and think myself and her grandbaby settled. I did not want to marry and even had to use a drug to sedate myself on the way to the civil ceremony so that I would not bolt. I believed I owed the sacrifice of personal happiness and freedom to my child and my mother. I thought I was doing the right thing. I was very wrong.

My former spouse was a very bad person (chronic lying, cheating, stealing, physical abuse and a host of other problems) and the divorce was final in 2002.

I have already begun the annulment process. All of my paperwork is sitting in a file at my priests office waiting for a copy of the marriage certificate to come in the mail. Hopefully, it will arrive sometime this week. Father believes, based on everything we discussed at my first appointment with him, that there won’t be a problem getting the annulment.

Once the annulment is over my husband and I plan to have our marriage convalidated. My marriage to my DH was such a different experience. When we spoke our vows we knew we would be married for life and it was a very happy event.

Yes, I know God can choose to give me another child or two. Two of my children were conceived while I was using birth control. My eldest while on the Pill and the middle while using condoms. No logical reasons for the failure of the birth control. Back then, I didn’t attach any significance to that. I just thought I was the unlucky 2% that experience failure. Now, I believe the children were gifts from God and meant to be. I would be very happy if I did find myself pregnant again, but at my age with the tubal I have to accept that it is very, very, unlikely.

I, too, had posed this very concern to everyone here and was assured that when I become baptised, my sins will be cleansed away. I can’t afford to reverse the surgery either and since the gyn did it in such a way as to clip it and so it can’t be undone. I have two boys then after the second one had my tubes ties. You might can find my thread somewhere here. Welcome home! Everyone here is so loving and has made me feel so welcome! I feel like part of the family! :slight_smile:

You just have to go to confession and confess the tubal ligation. Your culpability is somewhat lessened because you didn’t know the teaching of the Church regarding tubal ligation. The Church does NOT obligate one to reverse tubal ligation or vasectomy. Once you go to confession in earnest, your obligation is fulfilled. The Church would never tell someone they have to have surgery in order to make it right. That’s something you can do on your own if you wish, but that’s not something the Church requires.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.