Using perforated condom as birth control... moral?

So Ive recently made a thread regarding the morality of NFP, and I’ve learned a couple of things:

  1. The intent to avoid pregnancy is not immoral so long as it is just. However, if the intent of avoiding pregnancy is not just, then any action with that intent is immoral. Even if that “action” is the act of not having sex (periodic or total abstinence).

  2. The reason non abortificient contraception is immoral has nothing to do with intent. A couple can have good intentions (avoiding pregnancy for just reasons), yet will still be sinning if they use a condom, simply because using a condom during sex is wrong. Why is using a condom during sex wrong? Because it prevents sperm from going into the wife, thus thwarting the natural process of sex.

Ok, now that we’ve got those established, here’s the deal.

I know that using a perforated condom during sex is not wrong. It is not wrong because it still has a tiny hole in it that allows for some sperm (even if a very small amount) to go through. This allows for sex to retain its natural process of sperm going into the wife.

So let’s say a married couple has just reason to avoid pregnancy (nothing immoral there). They practice NFP but want to add another layer of certainty. So they decide that during their infertile time, they will have sex with a perforated condom to further decrease the chance of pregnancy… just in case their charting was ever a bit off.

Since avoiding for just reasons is not wrong, and since using a perforated condom during sex is not wrong, would it be correct to conclude that what I described above would be perfectly licit?

From what source to you “know” the above? What you describe sounds like imperfect contraception to me. Do you think impeding the bulk of the semen, but having a tiny drop pass through, is not contraception (albeit imperfect, as is nearly always the case anyway). Does this act seek to separate the unitive and procreative aspects of sex?

So let’s say a married couple has just reason to avoid pregnancy (nothing immoral there). They practice NFP but want to add another layer of certainty. So they decide that during their infertile time, they will have sex with a perforated condom to further decrease the chance of pregnancy… just in case their charting was ever a bit off.

Since avoiding for just reasons is not wrong, and since using a perforated condom during sex is not wrong, would it be correct to conclude that what I described above would be perfectly licit?

No - for the reason explained above.

I have heard many times that the use of perforated condoms are licit. That is how Catholic married men are able to supply their health care provider with a sample of their semen for medical evaluation without going against any church teaching. Normally the men would supply this sample by masturbation, or by just using a regular condom during intercourse. But since those 2 things are immoral in Catholicism, Catholic men use perforated condoms to supply the sample.

Does what I just said change the answer then?

Remember, it is not the avoidance of pregnancy that makes using condoms immoral. Avoiding pregnancy is NOT wrong (given just reason). Using condoms are immoral because it thwarts sex by not allowing any sperm to go through. Even if the woman had a hysterectomy, wearing a condom during sex would still be wrong for the one and only sole reason of not making it possible for semen to enter the body.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=243684

What I think you mean to say is that a married couple having sexual intercourse using a perforated condom cannot be said to be doing wrong just on the facts.

Use of such a perforated condom arises in a medical context as a means to collect a semen sample. The couple have sex in the ordinary way wearing a perforated condom - the proximate end (moral object) of that act remains unitive and procreative sex, even if the Intention is the (also good) end of semen collection to address a fertility issue.

Morality of any act requires 3 things:

  1. Intention must be good;
  2. Moral Object must be good;
  3. Circumstances (incl consequences) must on balance not be evil.

In the scenario you gave, the **Intention **of using the perforated condom is to (hopefully!) separate the procreative from the unitive aspect of sex. That is a bad Intention, and thus renders the act immoral.

In your OP you said:

The reason non abortificient **contraception **is immoral has nothing to do with intent.

That is accurate (since you’ve already declared the act contraception). However, in some cases, merely observing an act eg. “the subjects are having sex with a perforated condom” is insufficient to tell us the moral object of the act (let alone Intention, etc.). The subjects themselves of course know (and God knows). But when we learn that the Intention is to “avoid pregnancy” it becomes clear that the act was contraceptive.

Example:

Circumstances and intention often specify whether the moral objects of two acts are good or bad when the physical acts are identical. For example, if we were in an operating room and saw a surgeon administer potassium chloride to induce cardiac cessation, we could not know simply by observing the physical act whether the surgeon was doing this to put the patient on a heart–lung machine and thus bypass coronary vessels, or to stop the heart permanently to procure organs and bring about the patient’s death.

Hmmm I appreciate the response… but in the realm of moral theology, I still don’t understand why it would be wrong. :frowning:

  1. Intent - The intent is to avoid pregnancy, and if that is for just reason then no problem there.
  2. Moral object - The moral object is wearing a perforated condom during intercourse, and as we now know, there is no problem there either.
  3. Circumstances - The circumstances would be that a pregnancy is avoided, and once again, assuming there is just reason, this is also not a problem.

I don’t see how your example applies, because on your example, we know that the intent and circumstance is wrong - to kill a person. My questions, on the other hand, demonstrates a scenario where nothing is wrong.

My example points out that 2 acts, seemingly identical, can have different moral objects. Read my example again - observing the surgeon administer the drug, you cannot say whether the act has a bad moral object. The moral object of wearing a perforated condom with semen collection for medical purposes in mind, is good, whereas to do the identical thing for avoiding pregnancy has an evil moral object. The proximate ends are different.

Your point 2 above is not expressed properly. The moral object of an act is the end, morally speaking to which the act is ordered. It is the act’s proximate end.

Only one of the acts seeks to thwart the procreative aspect of sex.

Hi LokisMom,

Great question! This is one I’ve wondered myself both for birth control and to avoid contracting an STD.

There’s a key distinction to be made here. The two acts we are comparing have different intentions. In one - you are having sex to collect a sample for medical purposes. In another - you are slightly altering the method of sex to avoid pregnancy. It may seem like the same object, but there is a slight difference there. In the case of NFP, you never actually modify the act of sex to avoid pregnancy.

For that reason, I’m inclined to think that having sex with a condom with a hole with the intention of avoiding pregnancy would not be morally licit. I do think it would be fair to say that this is a slightly gray area with no clear distinction, but I myself would not do it and would not recommend it to anyone.

Long story short - it’s playing with fire and pretty much separating procreative and unitive aspects of sex.

Hope that helps!

Not quite. Some actions are morally nuetral. Not having sex, for example, is not a sin in and of itself. The sin would be tied to the selfishness of a couple who, for selfish motives, wishes to not have [more] children. There would also be sin within the lie they have made of their wedding vows, in which they made a promise to God to accept children generously.

In fact, one could also say that a couple who has decided to no longer have children would be morally viruous in abstaining from sex…because they at least recognize that they are not open to pregnancy in the first place and so are avoiding the act which leads to pregnancy.

However, they would still have the selfish attitude (which is sinful) and the mockery of their vows to reconcile.

  1. The reason non abortificient contraception is immoral has nothing to do with intent. A couple can have good intentions (avoiding pregnancy for just reasons), yet will still be sinning if they use a condom, simply because using a condom during sex is wrong. Why is using a condom during sex wrong? Because it prevents sperm from going into the wife, thus thwarting the natural process of sex.

Yes, mostly. Some contraceptives do not prevent sperm, however. Yet they are still illicit. The reason is because contraception seeks to remove the procreative nature from an act that is procreative in nature.

I know that using a perforated condom during sex is not wrong. It is not wrong because it still has a tiny hole in it that allows for some sperm (even if a very small amount) to go through. This allows for sex to retain its natural process of sperm going into the wife.

So let’s say a married couple has just reason to avoid pregnancy (nothing immoral there). They practice NFP but want to add another layer of certainty. So they decide that during their infertile time, they will have sex with a perforated condom to further decrease the chance of pregnancy… just in case their charting was ever a bit off

Sort of. I don’t really know much about perforated condoms, or what the Church says about them. I do know that if a man is required to give a semen sample, the only licit way is for him to use a perforated condom which acts in the manner you noted, and collect what semen remains in the condom.

In this case, however, if the couple’s intent is to lessen the chance of pregnacy by engaging in the Marital Act, and working to thwart some of the procreative-ness of that act…yet maybe not completely, their action is still contraceptive in nature. To use NFP licitly, a couple either avoids sex, or they engage in it during non-fertile days. When they engage in the act, they do NOTHING that can impede generation.

But your couple is purposefully doing something which they hope will impede generation, despite a likely high failure rate. The perforated condom might not be sinful to use, but they still incur guilt by actively working to thwart the procreative nature of an act that is taking place.

Yet, at the same time, another couple, for some hypotheitcal reason, may need to use a perforated condom. Thier intent may be to get pregnant.

The use of the perforated device is not sinful, in and of itself. The sin is in the intent of the couple. Is it their intent to work to try to remove the procreative nature from the act?

Since avoiding for just reasons is not wrong, and since using a perforated condom during sex is not wrong, would it be correct to conclude that what I described above would be perfectly licit?

No. Sin is an act of the WILL, so intentions matter.

No, their “Intent”, as described in the OP, is to avoid pregnacy while engaging in a sex act that they are purposefully acting to remove the procreative power of that act, despite high likelyhood of failure.

  1. Use a condom that has no holes in it

  2. Use foam (Condoms are only 80 % effective by themselves)

  3. Be married to the person you are having intercourse with.

That’s moral.
:smiley:

The intention of one act is to supply a medical sample. The intent of the other action is the assistance of artificial contraceptives to avoid pregnancy. Even if the condom is perforated, this does not change the users intention to avoid pregnancy via artificial means. I don’t see how that could be permissible, but perhaps I’m missing something.

That is contraceptive sex. Even if the couple is married, that isn’t morally permissible. Clearly the OP is trying to remain faithful to the teachings of the Church. What you are suggesting directly contradicts those teachings.

I think you make an error in your reasoning, shown here in this post.

You say here that wearing a perforated condom to avoid pregnancy for just cause is wrong.

Medical collection is one just cause.
Unable to feed oneself or a new life might be a second just cause.

Remember that the procreative functions remain with the perforated condom. Also there is just reason to avoid pregnancy.

How can you seemingly say medical collection is a just reason and avoiding pregnancy in another reason is unjust?

Just casuse to do what? One just cause (some illness or medical condition) justifies the collection of semen. To collect it licitly, it must be in a manner which does not make a mockery of the sexual faculty.

Another just cause justifies avoiding conception. But conception can only be avoided licitly by means which do not seek to render an act infertile. Using the condom as explained by the OP, perforated as it may be, seeks to render the act infertile. It is illicit.

Remember that the procreative functions remain with the perforated condom. Also there is just reason to avoid pregnancy.

A just reason to avoid pregnacny does not justify an attempt to thwart the Marital Act. In the semen collection, the intent is to not misuse the sexaul faculty. In the couple in this example, the intent is to render a sexual act infertile, depsite a potentially high failure rate. We are comparing apples to oranges here just because they both grow on a tree.

How can you seemingly say medical collection is a just reason and avoiding pregnancy in another reason is unjust?

Becuase “perforated condom” is not the act we are looking at. I believe Rau’s “object” is mis-identified.

The object/goal of one scenario is to collect semen for medical study. Is this licit? Yes, if the means by which it is collected do not constitute a mis-use of the sexual faculty.

The object of the other is to avoid pregnancy. Is this licit? Yes, if avoiding pregnacy is done in a manner which does not seek to remove the procreative nature from an act that is taking place.

Both of you are making incoherent statements.

I get that you don’t like this idea, but your arguments equate perforated condoms to actual condoms.

Plenty of sperm get through a perforated condom, rendering the act procreative.

So if the act is procreative, and there is just cause to “lessen the odds” of pregnancy. I can see no reason this does not meet the church’s qualifications.

It’s the intent of the couple to “lessen the odds” by using a method that they hope will remove the procreative nature from an act that is taking place. We cannot licitly work to remove the procreative nature from an act that is taking place. Intentions matter.

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