Unsure of this teaching


I’m writing because I’ve recently found Catholics answer’s live on my radio and lately there has been alot of discussion regarding contraception. I’m un-easy now because I feel that I have fallen from grace because I didn’t know the severity of my acts regarding my faith and contraception. My wife and I have recently been Blessed with our first child together in Dec. I say Blessed because he truly is a Blessing because we tried for so long to have a child but we failed so many times. We even sought medical help and that didn’t help. Until God Blessed us in May when we found out my wife was with child. My question is this. My wife will be turning 38 this July and believes if contraception is not used then having another child could be harmful to her and to the child. I don’t know how to approach this situation with her. I’ve done some reading and know that there’s natural family classes that we can attend. I just don’t know if she’d be willing. I don’t want to compromise or jeopardize our marriage. What should I do? And how can I save us from mortal sin?


Congratulations! It’s wonderful that you’ve been blessed by God after such a long time!

I’d recommend speaking with a priest who understands and is in line with Catholic teaching in this area. He can help you discern your culpability, etc.

Check out the Couple to Couple League for advise on NFP. You can reach their website at ccli.org


Your wife is not looking at the bigger picture. God chooses to allow a child to be created. Every life is created for the salvation of the whole world for all of time. Every life is priceless!

I have buried two preborn children since turning 38. It was incredibly hard and my heart broke as I delivered those two children, but I rejoice in their lives! They have brought me great joy! My love for those two children has grown just like the love grows for the three children God has allowed me to raise. All my children are great blessings and I would never say any of them was not worth having.

I try to keep myself in the best health possible so that if God blesses me with one more chance to have another child, I will be able to carry that child to term. I trust that if God gives me a child it is for a good reason and if he takes that child back before that child takes even it’s first breath, then it also if for a reason. His plans for me are far better than my own plans because his plan is to get me to heaven.


1st, I second the recommendation that you find an NFP instructor.

2nd, does your wife have any health problems (i.e., heart condition, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), that would make another pregnancy dangerous? Because just being 38 is not a problem. I’m 37 and pregnant w/ my 5th child, and we may have one or two more. My SIL has 3 other SIL’s who had children in their 40’s, all healthy and “normal”. If your wife is healthy there’s nothing unhealthy about having more children at her age. Since God has just blessed you w/ a child, He may want to bless you some more! Don’t shut the door on Him!

In Christ,



I don’t understand how having another child at the age of 38 could be harmful, to either the mother or the first child. Is there further information we need (medical, complications during the first pregnancy and delivery, etc.)?

My mother had me at the age of 40, my younger sister when she was 41. And my BIL’s wife is 38 and expecting their 12th child. I know doctors “have” to notify their patients that getting pregnant after the age of 35 automatically makes you “high risk”–that’s what they told my BIL’s wife two children ago–but I don’t think it should scare you.

Congratulations on your first little blessing and may God bless you more abundantly!



This is the link for the couple to couple league. They perhaps could answer your wife’s concerns as well as your own with the materials they have. Or email them. You are in my prayers.


I would recommend www.nfpandmore.com. This is where the Kippleys, who founded CCLI, are now, after having been forced out of CCLI.



Here is another link to consider in support of natural family planning in strengthening your marriage.


Praise God for your miracle baby! :slight_smile:

There is no acceptable reason, no matter how grave the circumstances might be, for a Christian to resort to the use of contraceptives or birth control in the spacing of children. If God blessed you and your wife, after years of sacrifice and prayers, with a miracle baby, would He not then provide for you again IF (and yes I stress IF) you would be so blessed again? Just because you miraculously conceived once, doesn’t mean you will be so blessed again. Maybe God knew all along of your wife’s health condition and that is WHY He was NOT giving you children. But, He saw through your tears, and the longings and achings of your hearts and had pity and compassion and granted you the blessing of conceiving and carrying your child to term. And lo and behold He gave your wife the strength and health she needed to bring baby safely into this world, was that not also part of the miracle? And, would not a God so merciful and loving and compassionate as to so bless you and your wife, would He not do the same again, IF He saw fit to bless you a second time?

Natural Family Planning allows you to be prudent, as in the case of your wife with serious health issues, in the spacing of your children’s births. Natural Family Planning, if learned and practiced correctly is just as effective as immoral family planning options (such as birth control pills or the condom), but is also 100% open to the IF that is God’s will. IF He so wishes to bless you again, He can, and will. But, remember, this is the God of mercy and love and compassion, IF He gives you the gift, He will also provide you with the ability to receive it (in this case your wife with the ability to carry and bear another child.) He gave you such a complete and total miracle in your wife’s pregnancy and the successful birth of your healthy child. Do you not owe Him at least this one small favor of the surrendering of your will to Him? Of course you do! (As do we all!) There are many good links to Natural Family Planning courses here, return the favor to God by using them! :slight_smile:


I would check out “The Good News about Sex and Marraige” and “Introduction to Theology of the Body” both by Christopher West. They should help in understanding why the Church teaches as it does.

As a recent converts my wife and I are having a good deal of difficulty in this area. For me, one of the things that drew me home was the focus on intent. To me this is very Biblical and is found throughout the Church’s teachings and those of the ECF… except on contraception.

When Jesus said if a man lust after a women in his heart then he has already committed adultry, He is talking about intent. If your intent is to space children, which is ok, then why not use contraception? Yes God provided a women natural cycle to help us to that but the intent is the same, regardless of the method. To me if you are going to truly be open to life, then you don’t need to practive NFP because it’s the same “intent” as using contraception.

So I’ve said it… :slight_smile: I have a lot of other stuff I won’t voice but I will say that God has put it on my heart to better understand why the Church teaches as it does so I have West’s books as well as the new translation of JPII’s sermons… and we are praying about it as well. I accept the teachings of the Church, it’s just difficult to change 38 years of understanding. With God’s help though and His grace I’m sure we will make it :slight_smile:

Now back to the OP, I wouldn’t be concerned about your wife being 38. We too tried (probably due to years of oral contraceptives - I was referring to condoms above, we would never consider oral again due to the aborficient properties of many of them) for many years. Initially seeking medical help but getting pregnant when God helped us to be ready for children. We now have 3 boys (5, 3, and 1). I’m 38 and my wife is 36 but are open to more when the time is right should God choose to bless us with one (maybe a girl this time).

I know many people into their 40s having kids with no problems so don’t let that worry you. Rather focus on the great gift you have been given (I’m sure you are both still in awe :)) and work on understanding why our faith still teaches what the other Christian churches have abandoned, that contraception is morally wrong.
Remember that ALL Christian’s were taught that it was wrong up until the 1930s.

I spelled out our stuggle above so that you would now you weren’t alone. A lot of people here have been taught this or understood it all their life… we haven’t so it’s difficult. Yet we have been so blessed, as you guys have too, we want to do what He desires. Study and pray and I’m sure He will open your eyes, I have faith that He is going to enlighten us as well.



When Jesus said if a man lust after a women in his heart then he has already committed adultry, He is talking about intent. If your intent is to space children, which is ok, then why not use contraception? Yes God provided a women natural cycle to help us to that but the intent is the same, regardless of the method. To me if you are going to truly be open to life, then you don’t need to practive NFP because it’s the same “intent” as using contraception.

Please don’t put that out there. It is simply not true, whatever your beliefs are about NFP. Whatever the intent of a specific couple, it cannot change that NFP and ABC are completely and absolutely different things. Being truly open to life is not getting in God’s way of creating a life. NFP does NOT do this, ever. If used how it was developed to be used, it fully cooperates with God. Half or more of the women who use NFP use it to GET pregnant, not to avoid one. Intending to avoid a pregnancy, and cooperating with God and the signs He gave you in your body to do so, are not the same as artifical birth control, in any way shape or form.

The OP is asking for official Church teaching. Please trust the Church on this and not your own interpretation of the Bible, Christopher West, or JPII.

Please see here:


As others have said, many women have children later than 38 yrs. I had 6 children and then another one at 40 and last year one at 43. They are all blessings from God and who knows how many more are to come? I have friends who have had a baby at 46 and another couple had one at 48–they call her their late life blessing. These children later in life keep us young. I have heard it said that the best gift you can give to a child is a sibling, you are just getting started.
God Bless you as you work this out with your wife.


Don’t trust John Paul II???
The site you gave them to read (first you tell them not to trust the Pope’s and what they say and the site you gave says that the Pope’s approve of NFP for serious purposes.) It says this at the very bottom of it.

Even to this day
Pius XI’s successor, Pius XII, confirmed yet again the moral acceptability of NFP for serious motives in two allocutions of 1951. Since then, of course, we have had further confirmations of the doctrine from Paul VI (in Humanae Vitae) and John Paul II (in Familiaris Consortio and many other statements).

We are looking here at a long and unbroken tradition by which the See of Peter has approved the use by spouses of periodic continence in order to avoid conception when their personal circumstances truly constitute a just cause for that avoidance.

It would be great if the OP would read this also, and give it to his wife to read too.
I would definately trust what John Paul II says .
(If I misread what you meant, I am truly sorry.)


What are you talking about? You misread what I meant. The poster was saying that NFP, in practice, is basically natural birth control. This position is held by supporters of ABC, and by Catholics who do not accept the infallibility of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. The link that I provided is from this website. I told the poster not to trust his own interpretation of the Pope. Please go read my post again.

I would hope I trust JPII and Pope Paul VI, I learned NFP from my doctor and nurses at Pope Paul VI institute, one of the top Catholic fertility centers in the world.


Why were they forced out?


,and please go read mine again too, at the bottom I already told you I was sorry if I mis-understood you, sorry it wasn’t clear to me what you were saying, that sometimes happens on here.


I’m not saying I don’t trust the Pope but there is a REASON that even NFP is suppose to be used prayerfully and thoughtfully. NFP is NOT Catholic Birth Control.

The reason for that is the intent… the CCC tells us that when we are considering our family it’s not just how much we can want or afford, rather it’s what is also good for the Church, our Society, the situation of the World etc… thus NFP gives us the chance to prayerfully consider each month what the CCC instructs us to do. If we don’t do that, we only use it as birth control to keep from getting pregnant then to me the intent is the same as ABC.

What I WILL say though is that I do see how NFP is different in that it allows the Holy Spirit to be part of the renewal of the marraige convenant. There is no man made barrier inhibiting the possibility for another to “proceed” from the love shared between the husband and wife. I get that, and I believe it.

My point to the OP was that when you haven’t believed it’s wrong for most of your life it’s difficult to turn on a dime. However we are working on it.



And I agree with you that it can be misused. But there is also much controversey from liberals in support of ABC and traditionalists against JPII and Vatican II that it is merely a form of natural birth control. The abuse of it would be sinful, but this still does not make it a form of birth control, whatever the intent may be. It would be willfully refusing God’s plan, but not birth control.

The mistake in saying that because of intent it is a form of birth control. Birth control’s intent is not primarily to prevent a pregnancy, it is to have the experience of the marital act without the openness to life. It a couple meant not to get pregnant, as Christopher West says, abstinence has been the way to do that since the beginning of time.

I just feel strongly about this because NFP is also and great medical breakthrough in women’s health. It is not just a way to avoid a pregnancy. And those who practice it often practice it for medical reasons, and not to avoid or even achieve a pregnancy. I’d like for it to be seen for what it can do for a family, a couple, a women’s health. Not as a form of birth control (which it never is) or even as something that is either abused or not abused, it is much more than these things.


I understand, and I didnt’ mean to come off harshly, its’ just that a lot of people who have never used NFP really do not understand the intricacies of it. I hear people calling it a form of birth control, I hear people saying it doesn’t work that great, I hear people accusing others of personally abusing it. It’s a much more complex system than just getting pregnant or not getting pregnant. So I tend to jump on the topic rather quickly.


I understand, it isn’t artificial birth control in any way, shape or form. You are absolutely correct on that and I know you are passionate about this, it shows and thats great!!! Keep telling em!:thumbsup:

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