What is implied by being "open to having children?"


#1

I came across a question and I had no idea how to answer this. If a couple is getting married but don't desire to have kids and will accept a child if the wife does in fact get pregnant, does this break the rules for signing consent before getting married, hence lying and making the marriage invalid? Or does being open to children have nothing to do with desire but your responsibility to not use contraceptives and accept a child anyway if he/she is the result? I hope that makes sense.


#2

As I understand it, being open to children means that you will do as God has ordained.

I'm not sure it's okay to "not want" children and enter into a marriage that way, but if the couple is not actively,illicitly preventing children, that might change things.


#3

[quote="JesusFreak333, post:1, topic:239208"]
I came across a question and I had no idea how to answer this. If a couple is getting married but don't desire to have kids and will accept a child if the wife does in fact get pregnant, does this break the rules for signing consent before getting married, hence lying and making the marriage invalid? Or does being open to children have nothing to do with desire but your responsibility to not use contraceptives and accept a child anyway if he/she is the result? I hope that makes sense.

[/quote]

Time to talk to a priest. Being open to children means putting no impediment in the way when having marital relations. Natural Family Planning can be used, but this is a temporary means of spacing or waiting for children. In your case, I doubt that a marriage would be valid, but I could be wrong. Consult with a priest.


#4

An actual intention against children is an impediment to valid marriage.


#5

If I understand correctly, I think your question has to do with intent. Is the sin the action or is it the intent

If they are willing to accept the wife getting pregnant, then it would seem they are willing to accept God’s will. But I would double check with a priest

CM


#6

From here:

b) Simulation contra bonum prolis: This intention may, but need not, involve an absolute refusal ever to have children. Perhaps more commonly the exclusion might be a matter of one of the parties reserving to him or her self the sole power to determine, without respect to the other party's rights or wishes, whether or not to have children or unilaterally to limit the number of children. The Church teaches that in a genuine marriage the parties exchange certain rights, and one such right is that of openness to children in the union. An intention in which one partner denies this right of the other is invalidating. A situation in which the two parties mutually agree to limit the number of children or delay having children is not an invalidating exclusion unless that agreement is understood by one of the parties to supersede the right of the other to change his or her mind. Since marriage is ordained not only for the procreation but also for the education of children, the jurisprudence recognizes the invalidating consequences of an intention against the education of children.


#7

[quote="cmscms, post:5, topic:239208"]
If I understand correctly, I think your question has to do with intent. Is the sin the action or is it the intent

If they are willing to accept the wife getting pregnant, then it would seem they are willing to accept God's will. But I would double check with a priest

CM

[/quote]

The wife has an irrational fear of having kids and signed a contract agreeing to be open to kids. Her intent is not to take contraceptives but to use NFP. She is open to having kids and of course being a loving mother if she so happens to get pregnant, but the desire to have kids is not present. She also wants counseling to open up that desire.

From what I can conjure up. It is a sin because in a sense she is abusing NFP as a means of birth control and lied prior to getting married. I can't be certain though. I thought the same thing as you, that they are still accepting God's will by taking responsibility for what He places in their hands. I'm just not too sure about the absence of desire; or, if that intent is abusing the sacrament of marriage.


#8

[quote="JesusFreak333, post:7, topic:239208"]
The wife has an irrational fear of having kids and signed a contract agreeing to be open to kids. Her intent is not to take contraceptives but to use NFP. She is open to having kids and of course being a loving mother if she so happens to get pregnant, but the desire to have kids is not present. She also wants counseling to open up that desire.

From what I can conjure up. It is a sin because in a sense she is abusing NFP as a means of birth control and lied prior to getting married. I can't be certain though. I thought the same thing as you, that they are still accepting God's will by taking responsibility for what He places in their hands. I'm just not too sure about the absence of desire; or, if that intent is abusing the sacrament of marriage.

[/quote]

Why are you concerning yourself with this? What you have just said changes the perspective of the OP quite a bit.

Not having a desire for children is quite different from actively not wanting them, especially if she's interested in counselling to try to find desire for children.

And although I've done a lot of reading on NFP, I'm not sure if it really can be abused as much as some people suggest. After all, is NOT having sex a sin?.


#9

[quote="uxordepp, post:8, topic:239208"]
After all, is NOT having sex a sin?.

[/quote]

Not having sex is not a sin, when both the husband and the wife are agreeing not to have sex, or when neither party is asking the other for sex.

But, where it gets tricky, is when one party to the marriage deeply desires the marital embrace, and the other party is refusing. This - unless there is a really serious reason not to have sex at that moment - is a sin. (If one of the parties is extremely ill, this would be an exception to the rule, but if someone is "having a headache" every single time the other wants to have sex, but is otherwise fine, then there is a problem.)

This leads to frustration and anxiety, neither of which are good for the marriage.


#10

Here is the excerpt from the “6th and 9th commandment” section of
an examination of conscience published by the authority of the National Conference of Bishops, with Ecclesiastical Approval, publication date 2001:

Quote:
(For Married People)
Did, without serious reason, deprive my spouse of the marital right? Did I claim my own rights in a way which showed no concern for my spouse’s state of mind or health? Did I betray conjugal fidelity in desire or deed?

Did I take “the pill” or use any other artificial birth control device before or after new life had already been conceived?

Did I without grave reason, with the intention of avoiding conception, make use of marriage only on those days when offspring would not likely be engendered?

Did I suggest to another person the use of birth control pills or another artificial method of preventing pregnancy (like condoms)?

Did I have a hand in contributing to the contraceptive mentality by my advice, jokes, or attitudes?


#11

I’m concerned because she is a dear friend of mine and would love a precise and accurate response. Which leads me back to the original question, “Does desire for not wanting kids fall under an invalid marriage?” The phrase “open to having children” is somewhat ambiguous. One can argue her irrational fear would qualify her as having a mental illness, hence making it okay to not wanting kids. That’s assuming her and her husband come to a mutual agreement. Like I said before, this is what I can conjure up from internet resources and material taught in Pre-Cana classes. With that said, I have no precise answer. From the repsonses I am gathering, she would need to confront a priest.

Not having sex with your spouse is NOT a sin. If he/she agrees to live a chaste life with his/ her spouse, there is nothing wrong with that. If there was something wrong with not having sex, it would contradict Mother Mary and St. Joseph’s marriage.


#12

If I tell you to come at something with an opened mind, what does that mean? If I tell you to come to something when an open heart, what does that mean?

It would be wrong for the couple to be dead set against having children. The couple should be flexible and allow God to work in their marriage. Natural Family Planning isn’t simply a method of preventing birth. It is a choice to make a sacrifice for the sake of the family. That sacrifice can make couples rethink their motivations. They need to be open to allowing God to work on their hearts and to accepting God’s will in their lives with regard to children.


#13

[quote="JesusFreak333, post:7, topic:239208"]
The wife has an irrational fear of having kids and signed a contract agreeing to be open to kids. Her intent is not to take contraceptives but to use NFP. She is open to having kids and of course being a loving mother if she so happens to get pregnant, but the desire to have kids is not present. She also wants counseling to open up that desire.

From what I can conjure up. It is a sin because in a sense she is abusing NFP as a means of birth control and lied prior to getting married. I can't be certain though. I thought the same thing as you, that they are still accepting God's will by taking responsibility for what He places in their hands. I'm just not too sure about the absence of desire; or, if that intent is abusing the sacrament of marriage.

[/quote]

As far as I know, getting married with the intent of not having children will not be a valid marriage.
When you marry you have to understand and agree to the nature of marriage.. some of these points of nature are that marriage is for procreation, its indissoluble etc.
So if that woman is a Catholic she cannot have a sacramental and valid marriage if she wishes to avoid having children.


#14

The issues are getting confused here. It is debatable if indefinate use of NFP in the absence of a clearly 'serious' reason is sinful or not. I tend to think it is.

But that isn't the question. The question asked was if one party enters the marriage with the deliberate intention to never have kids and abide by the 'rules' of NFP to achieve this goal, is the marriage valid.

I think the answer is that this would be a case of "defective intent." In other words, not a valid marriage.

The Hollywood definition of marriage is "Two people who declare their gushy loving feelings for one another to the world and pledge to do whatever it takes to keep feeling that way about one another forever."

This is nothing like the christian definition of marriage (gotta go. You take stabs at the christian definition, I'll be back tomorrow!)


#15

How about if the husband informs his wife a few months after the wedding that he never thought about it before, but he isn’t sure that, if they conceive and the child does not look like him (including skin color), he could love it. I thought that Pre-Cana conferences made it clear that you must welcome a child into your life regardless of which parent it resembles in skin color, etc.

My daughter’s marriage broke up after her husband of a few months informed her of this then told her he was not in love with her anymore between the second and third year of their marriage.

He got his green card just before the wedding. Hmmm. She discovered he didn’t look for a job a year after they got married. He had lied about looking for one all that time.

She also discovered after a year of marriage that he had not even looked for a job after he got his doctorate in biology. He was doing nothing all day at home while she went to work and supported him.

He applied for a divorce and said he would apply for annulment. The divorce was granted, but he did not apply for annulment. She did, but the priest wouldn’t put it forward to a tribunal. I think she was too shook up to give all the details.

It does not seem that he was completely honest when he said his vows, when he should have known that the he was also promising to be open to children.

She is fed up and doesn’t want to reapply. But I thought if maybe there might be some encouragement from this site, I could show her this, and she might change her mind.


#16

She should certainly try again, with a different priest. Priests are human just like the rest of us, and some are more helpful than others.

If you and her father had doubts about this guy prior to the marriage, that would be helpful to her, as well.


#17

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