Two Quesions from a Newbie


I’m a newbie here to this site. I am considering converting to RC, so I thought this site was really cool when I came across it in a google.:thumbsup:

I’ll be asking lots of questions as I think them up, and reading through lots of posts! Today I have two questions.

1.What is the church’s view on a baby who is born prematurely (like a micro preemie)…meaning life saving intervention…and what if the baby does poorly and the decision to remove life support needs to be made (if the baby is dying)?

2.Will the church recognize a civil marriage while one of the intended parties to the marriage is in the middle of converting in order to have a baby…so that the baby is born in the context of marriage? IOW, will marrying outside the church suffice so that you can have a baby (due to age and complication factors), be married, and get the marriage blessed by the church at some other point?



Hi! Welcome to the Forums! :wave:

  1. The church states that a human may be removed from life support machines that are considered extraordinary means to keep someone alive. However, this excludes simple means like feeding tubes because everyone needs to eat.

  2. I’m not sure I understand your second question.


The Catholic church does not recognize a civil union because marriage is a sacrament. One can con-validate the marriage at a later date. Though it’s not as simple as saying a blessing over the couple.

Generally speaking, a priest tends not to marry a couple due to pregnancy as that could render the marriage Null in the future.

Marrying outside the church is only allowed if one has permission of the church.

I’d suggest you speak to a priest. Sounds like a visit to your church will help clear up your questions.


It would be better to be received into the Church and then think about marriage for many, many reasons that would become apparent once you had been received. IOW, never put the cart before the horse. Do things in their proper order and trust in God–that is always best no matter what you want to do. :wink:


Wow, you guys are fast! Thanks for the speedy responses!:thumbsup:

I was asking about the preemie situation because we had a daughter born at 24 weeks in 2004. She was put on life support like most preemies are until they can function on their own. She did ok for 2 days then she went downhill. They just couldn’t keep her going even with maximum support. She also had stage IV brain bleeds (the worst). We chose to have her taken off support, so she could die in my arms, not alone in an isolette, which is what would’ve happened. She lived 4 days in total.

And I agree, I was definitely talking about her dying physically, not any disabilities she might have had from being premature and not wanting her at that point. We would’ve somehow managed those disabilities she likely would’ve had to have her here with us.

I am obviously not married right now. I was never baptized into any religion, though most of my family was Catholic, not really practicing, though (at least not the younger generation…the old ones are gone). My bf is Catholic. I am not pregnant right now either. I guess what I was getting at was would it be better to be married outside the church so “if” I were to become pregnant the baby would not be born out of wedlock or wait to get married with possibly having a baby first. I know the best idea is to wait for both, of course.

We just also lost a son last December to a stillbirth, with no other children. He had hydrops, and we knew for almost two weeks he could die in utero. The cause isn’t 100% clear but it’s looking like the placenta tore a bit from the uterine wall, causing heart failure in the baby. I’m going to be tested for clotting disorders soon, but my doc doesn’t think that was it…he’s chocking that one up to “bad” luck. Regardless the chances of recurrence are increased, because it’s happened once (the partial abruption). At any rate, he told me he didn’t want to to have to wait because of my age (I’m 35 in a month). And I am naturally scared of anything and everything else going wrong again, so I don’t feel I have all that much time to waste. I will add that I do have pcos also…but I don’t seem to have trouble conceiving…so far.

I know it takes a year to do RCIA classes…but I will add that wanting to become Catholic isn’t only to do with wanting to be married. It’s something I’ve thought about for a long time but something I feel I’m being pulled towards moreso since my losses. Also, because I was never brought up with a religious background, I feel I missed out big time, and I now have to make up for that. I don’t want my future children to be confused by not having anything. If they reject it as adults (which I doubt they would), that would be their choice. I see it as my place to give them something.



Oh! I just thought of something else! If we were considering waiting to be married, could the marriage classes that need to be taken before the marriage be taken simultaneously with the RCIA classes (for me)? Are there ever any exceptions?



I am deeply sorry that you know the pain of losing children.
It is hard to lose babies and very often the world around does not fully understand how the loss can affect us.

Please go and talk to your priest. He can help. Don’t be intimidated by the RCIA time frame. Please do not let that be your barrier. Just keep pushing ahead to the faith where you will find true peace and joy in God.


Welcome to CA!!! Assuming that you are both free to marry (no prior marriages or divorces/or prior marriages annulled), yes you can usually take marriage prep at the same time as RCIA… but again like everybody else said, please talk to your priest.

One thing you mentioned that nobody addressed yet, so I will be the mean person that does. As a Catholic, we recognize the sanctity of marriage and it is considered a sacrament. However, that being said, we also believe that sex outside of marriage is a grave sin. Since you mentioned that you are not pregnant at this time, but wanted to know about what you should do if you get pregnant before marriage, I feel I have to say something. I know it isn’t easy…trust me I know, but you can survive waiting until you are married to engage in sexual intercourse.

I also know that your age is a factor here (at least to you), but I have to say, it is not at all uncommon to have children into your 40’s anymore. Yes, there is a slight increase in problems, and yes, age does affect fertility, but that is not a reason to engage in premarital sex. I am 9 yrs older than you are and I just got married less than 2 yrs ago (second marriage) so I feel some of the same pressures. I want a child with my dh very much, but as hard as it was, we waited to have sex (6 yr courtship) until our wedding night. Waiting was definitely worth it!!!

Anyway, Welcome again… I hope you enjoy these boards as much as the rest of us.


I haven’t gone to a church in a long time…so I need to find one first. There are many around here, I just don’t know anyone who goes that I’m close to. I guess I like the buddy system, LOL. But I think you’re right, I should talk to the priest eventually.

BlestOne-LOL, I didn’t think you were mean! I figured someone would bring it up eventually.:eek: In all honesty it’s something my brain is struggling with right now. I do realize it’s wrong and a major sin according to the church’s teachings. I will add that it’s been a while (not that you asked, but I figured I’d tell you anyway)…actually since a year ago when my ds was conceived. I was high risk because of the first loss so I wasn’t really allowed to…and we also don’t live together.

I’m not sure I was really asking what if I get pregnant before I get married…so much…more like…does the church view a baby born to two people who are married not by the RCC (like by a JP or something)…but married according to the law…the same as if they were never married at all? What would be the difference if I already had kids who were older…if I was married legally, and then I decided to convert? Would my children be considered born outside of the marriage because I was not originally married within the church?

In regards to my age, I do know many women have babies in their 40’s. My perinatologist, in fact, told me he even has one patient who is 50 yrs old! That’s remarkable, but it’s not the norm. I have been on the slim side of odds a few times…and they never seem to work out in my favor (especially when it comes to having healthy babies), so I have a hard time thinking about waiting on the child issue. I’m not saying it would be an excuse to go out and have a child, I realize the church does not condone that. I guess I’m saying I’m not coming into this as a healthy woman with no fertility problems. These are a serious issue for me. I’m also at higher risk for early m/c as well. My Mom started menopause in her early 40’s, so I would imagine that could happen to me as well. I guess I feel like I need the time to not only make sure I can get pregnant, but to stay pregnant for 40 weeks (+/- a few)…and still end up with a living, healthy child. If God forbid it didn’t work out, there is time needed in between for physical & emotional recovery, too, especially if the loss is late like I’ve had. These issues are all in addition to the normal issues that can affect any healthy woman who has kids late in life…like higher rate of m/c…higher rate of chromosomal problems, decreased fertility, etc.

I’m not really looking for someone to say, “well, under those circumstances, go ahead, commit sin.” I’m looking for the best way to achieve my goals in the shortest amount of time and without offending the church. I wasn’t thinking I was going start to ttc tomorrow or anything.:stuck_out_tongue:

Oh, and thank you for the welcome! I have visited the Catholic families section on babycenter many times, but this site has so much more in regards to being Catholic! They are obviously geared for baby related topics, which I also enjoy.



Oh, I just thought of something else completely off topic with what we were discussing. I’ve skimmed over some other threads about not using ABC…including surgical sterilization. I’m not disputing any of that. Somebody wrote something about mutilation (in regards to vasectomies/tying of tubes). Does the church also feel that way about plastic surgery, since it is not really for a disease? I’m asking because I honestly don’t know (and not meant to be funny).

I’ve never had it, not ever intending on having it (not really into going under the knife and risking my life for beauty reasons), but that just got me thinking…and I was watching something on tv and they were talking about plastic surgery so it made me wonder:D .



Hi Patty and welcome to CAF! I’m glad to hear that you’re responding to God’s call to you!

After reading your posts, one thing that you need to remember is that we’re called towards God because He created us for Himself. He loves us so much that he gives us ways to draw closer to Him and to love Him, creating the desire in us to acknowledge His omnipresence and power, and to give our lives totally and completely to him.

That being said, you may want to ponder on not having so much control in your life on whether or not you can time having a child with your significant other. There are reasons why God is calling you to Him. There are also reasons why He placed into you your difficult situation with your fertility. Let the Lord do His work in you. Don’t worry so much about timing things out to enter into the Church, or get married, or having a child. This issues you have with your fertility are a concern - I’m not dismissing that. You should try to learn how to accept God’s will for you…and that’s done through prayer.

Please go and see a priest in your area. He can definately answer many of your questions. Also, I suggest that you start attending Mass if you haven’t already…see what it’s like, and if you have questions, we can do our best here on CAF to answer your questions.

There’s a lot more…but I’m sure the Lord will allow to learn those as time goes on!

God Bless!


Hi Patty and welcome!
If you like the buddy system, why not go with your boyfriend? He is Catholic, and going to church together, praying together is an excellent way to bond.

As to your other point, there are no penalties imputed onto the children for their parents’ marital status.

You are in my prayes!


Welcome to the forums and hopefully welcome to the Catholic Church! :wave: Another thing I can recommend is to spend some time now learning NFP (Natural Family Planning.) If there is something wrong with your health NFP will help you find some answers. It will also bring you to a deeper understanding of Church teachings on the beauty of our sexuality.

I was in the same fertility boat that you are. I was concerned that I wouldn’t get the chance to have a live birth. Put it in God’s hands and He will provide. Your other 2 questions have hopefully been answered. I will try to keep my eye out for further ones.

Oh and walk into a Catholic Church and find a buddy. Seek out the little old lady with the Rosary. She will be there about 20 minutes early, praying. She will be happy to help you! (after her Rosary of course.)


I don’t think that plastic surgery is encouraged for unnecessary cosmetic reasons. :confused: This is my take on it. Say, for example if I don’t like my nose, and I decide to have it corrected, that to me seems kind of vain and I should be happy with the nose God gave me. But if a child is born with cleft pallate that can be corrected by plastic surgery, then that would be more acceptable. In one case, my nose is perfectly fine and functioning, in the other case a cleft pallate can be damaging to one’s health, and it could cause shunning in a community. In any case, if it doesn’t violate the integrity of a human being then it’s not a sin. Mutilating our reproductive organs, organs that help in the transmission of LIFE, should be recognized as a sin. Because you are deliberately disabling an organ that is God-given.

I hope this answer suffices, if anyone else has a better take on it, please, be my guest. :smiley:


Tonks40-That is definitely something I have to remind myself of often…that I’m not really the one in control here! It’s just that nothing else in my life has really ever been in my control so I try to plan when I can. I’m not like super organized woman or anything by any stretch, but I’m a big nester:rolleyes:

There’s a great poem I’ve found online called “Wait,” I’ll have to dig it out and post it.

Spirithound-I haven’t actually discussed any of this with him yet! He doesn’t go to church regularly, so I’ll have to see if I can get him to go…but I would love that.

LittleDeb-I will keep my eyes peeled for that little old lady:D .

I’ve actually been reading a lot about NFP on the boards. I actually did chart for a while a couple years ago just to see if things were working properly. They were. I just decided this past week to start up again…not trying for anything either way…just to have some data to work with when the time does come. I’m wondering, I’ve been on the fertility friend website, is there something else to NFP that the church teaches that isn’t covered there? I temp and observe cm. I’ll have to learn more about what to do while breastfeeding, of course, when the time comes.:thumbsup:

Anyway, I am fertile now…not necessarily at this moment of course, but I mean I don’t think becoming pregnant now would be much of an issue from a medical POV…meaning things are working properly for now. But until 5 years ago, I was completely infertile. I know this not from trying to have a baby, because I wasn’t and wasn’t even sexually active (it’s actually when the BF and I met), but it’s because I know things weren’t working properly (I went yrs at a time without AF, and sorry if that was TMI).:eek:

Anyhow, I’ve been reading around about the Catholic faith and I have to say some things have been cleared up about what I thought they thought…you know, the stereotypes of Catholicism. I’m really enjoying learning about it and a lot of what I’m reading is making sense to me.

StratusRose-Makes perfect sense, thank you! That’s actually kind of how I was feeling regarding that topic. Believe me, I could use a little work according to the aesthetics of today’s society. Mostly just extra skin from losing weight the ‘regular’ way (I am still losing, though, because I am still quite heavy), but I have never once considered having it removed. Mostly because of the risk involved…I had issues with anesthesia as a kid:p



Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate…
and the Master so gently said,“Wait.”
“Wait? you say wait?” my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I relate
hangs in the balance and you tell me to Wait?"
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign.
Or even a ‘no,’ to which I’ll resign.
You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
and grumbled to God, "So, I’m waiting…for what?"
He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine…
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You’d have what you want, but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.
You’d not learn to see through clouds of despair;
you’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there.
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
when darkness and silence are all you can see.

You’d never experience the fullness of love
when the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You’d never know should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
but oh, the loss if I lost what I’m doing in you.
So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still “WAIT”.

I’m not sure on the author…



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