Can a man who had a vasectomy 20 yrs ago marry in the catholic church and have the marriage be valid/sacramental?

Yes, a person who has had a vasectomy can marry validly. Sterility is not an impediment to marriage.

The person should go to Confession and ask for forgiveness & absolution.

There is no requirement to reverse the vasectomy, however.

Absolutely right!

why is this, it seems that if you know it was wrong you should do what you can to reverse it?

Is this due to the chance of complications, if it is then it seems that it is the individuals responsibility to make sure this is the actual reason for not doing all that is possible to undo the wrongdoing.

Is this correct?

Or is what you’re saying that they can marry in the church but it would still be wrong?

It is not necessary to have the vasectomy reversed because of the difficulty involved in the procedure. In other words, it’s unreasonable enough that it is not required. It would certainly be permitted, but it is not required as part of making reparation for the sin of having the vasectomy in the first place.

You can probably find more about this question in the Ask an Apologist section. I’m sure it’s been brought up before.

It’s not required because the church leaves it up to each person to discern whether they can do so.

The penance in the confessional should not put a serious burden on the penitent. It would not be feasible for everyone to reverse even if they wanted to.

Confession is all that is necessary. Reversal is optional, and can only be discerned by the couple.


The person does not have to do all that is possible to reverse the vasectomy. Confession is all that is required, presuming there is true contrition.

The Church does not give eye-for-an-eye penances.

I’m not really sure what you are asking here, what do you mean “would still be wrong”?

The couple can marry in the church, the marriage is valid and sacramental.

What if someone knew it was against church teaching, but had a vasectomy anyway to avoid the whole birth control issue? It seems to me to be kind of a loophole in the bc issue. A man that didn’t want to have children, didn’t want to have to deal with the issues of bc being against the church. So he has a vasectomy to avoid the bc issue, and goes to confession and repents the decision. He will in effect be forgiven for his sin, but at the same time he has worked around the bc issue because now he can’t have children and doesn’t have to worry about it. It just seems like a big work around to avoid the issue, get away with not having children, yet still be forgiven.

This has nothing to do with the OP’s question, btw.


That would include the sin of presumption–also a grave sin.

For his confession to be valid, he would have to regret having the vasectomy, that is, wish he had not done it. If that’s the case, then he isn’t “getting away” with anything but still has to suffer the consequences of a sin.

It’s a terrible trap to commit sin because you plan on confessing it later.:dts:

In your example, it doesn’t seem as though the man has any contrition for what he did. The only thing he’s sorry about is that the Church doesn’t permit what he wanted to do.

Even though one confesses and has true contrition, receives absolution and does penance, one is not “in the clear”. One must still endure the purgatorial cleansing, or temporal punishment to remove the effects of the sin upon one’s death and entrance into eternal life.

Of course, one can hope and pray that true contrition and the resulting good works (perhaps doing everything possible this side of eternity in helping others to avoid this dreadful sin) and maybe even practicing NFP (despite the vasectomy) can help to relieve the effects of Purgatory.

To obtain a vasectomy in order to avoid bearing children, with the idea that one could just confess the sin, yet be “be in the clear” the way that you described would be a grave matter indeed.

I’m guessing though that most who do go through with sterilization do so out of ignorance of why it is so grave and morally wrong. This applies to almost everyone that I know who have undergone the procedure.

BTW, to clear things up, the above mentioned hypothetical does not involve me!


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