Vasectomy


#1

Hi

I have been part of RCIA and not long had my Rite of Welcoming but I had a question about my husband...

I have two beautiful boys but prior to them I had a miscarriage and almost lost our first child while pregnant and had complications with the second delivery. I was told not to try have any more children for a few years and also suffered with post natal depression after my second son.

Because I am unable to take birth control ( terrible side effects) and the complicatons of pregnancy and almost losing my life we made the decision of a vasectomy. He felt I had been through enough and that it was more important I was here with him and the boys than risk my life having more babies >< Obviously I agreed and he had his vasectomy 4 years ago.

Back then I had no interest in becoming a Catholic and was unaware that its a mortal sin. Of course since being part of RCIA I am now aware that this IS the case and he and I may go to hell? I mentioned it at RCIA and was told that since we can no longer have babies that its a sin to have sexual relations because thats for concieving and not for pleasure. I always looked at having sexual relations as part of showing our love together regardless of whether we can have babies now.

I was advised we shouldnt be doing this and that if we did then we are continuing to commit sin. Is this right? Also my husband is not wanting to convert but has been fully suppostive in my decision to this and the changes we have bought into the house even with regards to raiding the children in a Catholic home and way of life.

So basically are we going to hell? Should we no longer show our love for one another together with sex ?? and I darent tell my husband about this side of things just yet I wanted to hear if I understood this correctly first ><


#2

you have been misinformed, and your RCIA instructor has no right to tell you personally that you are sinning. That is reserved for the priest in confession. it is he you should be speaking with, privately, not in the context of an RCIA class. No there is no sin in continuing to have sexual relations with your spouse even after sterilization surgery. Yes it is always and everywhere in all cases a mortal sin if done for the specific purpose of preventing pregnancy, but the same conditions apply as for all mortal sins. It must be gravely wrong, the person must have known it was wrong at the time, and the person must have done it with full freedom of will, without coercion or pressure, and with intent to commit the grave sin.

Moreover it is not a sin for a married person to continue having sexual relations if the other party is contracepting or has been sterilized. That is the objective situation and teaching, and that is the most that should be presented in RCIA classes. When it comes to applying the teaching to your own personal situation you must at the earliest opportunity make an appointment and speak to the priest about your own personal situation. When you are ready for confession, he will tell you what, on your part, needs to be confessed and absolved.

Even for a Catholic couple who deliberately undertake a sterilization procedure to prevent pregnancy (we are not speaking of a medically necessary surgery to correct an illness such as cancer which has the unintended effect of sterilization), once that sin has been confessed and absolved, they may resume physical relations.


#3

[quote="carlac, post:1, topic:179185"]
Hi

I have been part of RCIA and not long had my Rite of Welcoming but I had a question about my husband...

I have two beautiful boys but prior to them I had a miscarriage and almost lost our first child while pregnant and had complications with the second delivery. I was told not to try have any more children for a few years and also suffered with post natal depression after my second son.

Because I am unable to take birth control ( terrible side effects) and the complicatons of pregnancy and almost losing my life we made the decision of a vasectomy. He felt I had been through enough and that it was more important I was here with him and the boys than risk my life having more babies >< Obviously I agreed and he had his vasectomy 4 years ago.

Back then I had no interest in becoming a Catholic and was unaware that its a mortal sin. Of course since being part of RCIA I am now aware that this IS the case and he and I may go to hell? I mentioned it at RCIA and was told that since we can no longer have babies that its a sin to have sexual relations because thats for concieving and not for pleasure. I always looked at having sexual relations as part of showing our love together regardless of whether we can have babies now.

I was advised we shouldnt be doing this and that if we did then we are continuing to commit sin. Is this right? Also my husband is not wanting to convert but has been fully suppostive in my decision to this and the changes we have bought into the house even with regards to raiding the children in a Catholic home and way of life.

So basically are we going to hell? Should we no longer show our love for one another together with sex ?? and I darent tell my husband about this side of things just yet I wanted to hear if I understood this correctly first ><

[/quote]

No, you may continue to have marital relations.Either there was a miscommunication or someone is misinformed. Marital relations are procreative and unitive. All your marital relations must still be open to life as they say. In other more blunt words your husband must finish inside you . To learn more about marital relations from a Catholic perspective there are two books for you which I think would be helpful-

Christopher Wests - The Good News about Sex and Marriage
Gregory Popcak - Holy Sex......

You will probably want to confess to agreeing to the sterilization when you have your first confession prior to entering the church.


#4

Make a good confession and you will be forgiven of this sin.


#5

Wow! I am so sorry you were given such INCORRECT information.

First put your mind at ease about you and your husband going to hell for this sterilization. Mortal sin requires full knowledge and free will. You didn’t know it was a sin at the time-- had probably been taught it was the exact opposite, a good thing to do. Although it is still objectively a gravely wrong act, it can’t be a mortal sin if you don’t even know it’s a sin!

Second put your mind at ease about having relations with your spouse. Whoever told you that you cannot have intercourse with your husband because of the sterilization is just flat wrong. I don’t know why they would have this idea. It’s simply not true.

And, as puzzleannie said, you should talk over personal, moral issues with the priest, not the RCIA director. It’s sad if the RCIA director is the one who told you this, he/she should know better. I sincerely hope it was a misunderstanding.

But, I’m glad you came here so you could get the correct answer.

When you have your first confession, talk to your priest about your part in the sterilization. Just mention it and he will guide you from there.


#6

I said this exact same thing in another post and got corrected. Tried to explain further, got corrected again. Must have used poor choice of words at the time. I’m glad you are getting good information here…to go to a priest; only he can tell you how the objective truth is applied to your specific case. Blessings!

PS. Welcome to the Church!


#7

Very good answers.


#8

Ok… first of all your RCIA director is wrong and should be replaced. How dare he / she tell someone such grossly inaccurate information.

Remind them, if they don’t know, that you have to KNOW something is wrong for it to be a mortal sin and willingly do it.

You didn’t know, you weren’t Catholic… it wasn’t mortal sin then, now or ever.

Secondly, the only time a marriage is invalid do to sexuality is when intercourse can not be performed prior to the marriage (accident, deformity etc…). Once you are married you are expected to renew your marriage covenant. That should be both unitative and procreative. However if your husband innocently had vasectomy years ago then he is not required to have it reversed. He can, but the Church expects you guys to have relation in your marriage regardless.

Your RCIA director is wrong wrong wrong… His words also show a lack of understanding for the sacrament of penance. Once a sin has been forgiven… it’s forgotten. God’s not going to bring it up like your Uncle or something “remember back you were 17 and got drunk at my farm?” Let’s take an even MORE extreme example. Abortion… not only a mortal sin but also automatic excommunication. Yet the USCCB have given individual Parish Priests the authority to reinstate someone after a valid and sincere confession… think about that in relation to what your RCIA person told you.

I spent a lot of time researching before I became Catholic, I was very lucky to have a fantastic and very knowledgeable RCIA team… please feel free to PM me if you have any questions or something isn’t making sense.

Finally… we don’t tell people they are going to hell. Baptist do that… we might say that if someone dies with an unconfessed mortal sin, truly mortal, then maybe. But we don’t know what sincere acts of contrition are going on between someone and God at the moment of death (think of the good thief on the cross) and also try to always provide the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (Last Rites) as well.

You and your husband are not sinning, and did not sin. Praise God and thank Him for leading you home and ask Him to help you to continue to discern His Truth… even from members of His Church who are in error. Love each other, renew your marriage covenant often and thank Him for the gift of sexuality in marriage.

But do not worry about this, you guys are both good.

And… Welcome Home!

Sincerely,
Joe


#9

I've heard this issue addressed on Catholic Answers radio several times. Here is what I've come to know about it.

  1. The vasectomy was a sin (whether Catholic or not), however not a mortal sin unless you knew it was wrong at the time and did it anyway. It should be confessed ASAP, with remorse, but only once! Never play mortal sin Russian Roulette ;)

  2. You do not need to refrain from relations nor have the vasectomy reversed. If you have the financial means to do so (and if was a reversible style vasectomy) it might be a good gesture to reverse it, but it is not required (based on multiple CA radio guests statements) --->ie reparation for our sins

Its a different story altogether if you get a vasectomy knowing it is a sin but intending to confess it (very very very very very serious). That is the sin of presumption that must be confessed specifically and the priest will not let that one go by too easily, you must be remorseful to be forgiven.


#10

Remember that God wants you back on His side. If you want forgiveness, no sin is unforigiveable.

I'm no theologian-just what I've heard.


#11

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