I just wanted to address an issue that was raised in the “Ask an Apologist” forum recently. (In the style of that forum, no responses were allowed, so I raise it here):
A man wanted a vasectomy on the grounds that his wife’s health would suffer if further pregnancies occurred (natural planning had been attempted, without much success–that is, they could conceive using NFP, but had trouble avoiding pregnancy using that method). The man asked whether he was justified in getting a vasectomy in this case, and cited a priest as saying it was allowable.
The Apologist replied that “It is a matter of basic moral theology that no one may deliberately and directly sterilize himself or herself for any reason whatsoever.” (emphasis mine)
It’s the “for any reason whatsoever” I wish to address.
I found myself recalling the case a good Catholic friend who had testicular cancer at the age of 30, and had to have both testicles removed in order to save his own life. In this case, he had deliberately and directly sterilized himself.
Does the church hold that one must let cancer take its course, and that death is the price to be paid by some men, from time to time? (Insert ovarian/cervical cancer here, if you like.)
Well, what’s the ruling on emergency, total sterilizations to save one’s own life?