What is the moral difference between a Vasectomy and remarriage?

My own mother, who was raised in a Protestant faith, was able to get her marriage to my stepfather annulled because she had a faulty understanding of marriage. So once her current husband has his first marriage dissolved by the Pope (he was not a Christian until recently) then both will be free to enter the Church. The Church really does take into account the fact that many Protestants are being led astray by false teachings about marriage. If there is any evidence of that, it should be included in annulment paperwork. I am sure these issues will be addressed in the upcoming Synod, but the reality is that many couples who convert are already being given special consideration for this problem.

Having sex after a vasectomy is no more “contracepting” than having sex after menopause. There is no sin in having sex that is not fertile. Contraception is an action against the fecundity of the marital act. A vasectomy is an action against the fertility of the** person**.

It’s theoretically possible that a priest might impose a penance of abstinence but it is very unlikely. In any case, the choice of penance doesn’t change the sin.

Thank you! I have had some difficulty understanding the inherent difference between sterilization and ongoing contraception, but this little paragraph has cleared up my misunderstanding. Very helpful.

It seems quite different than menopause. Even different than a man who was injured and became sterile.

The vasectomy was done for the sole reason to contracept.

It seems the intent behind the sterility should be factored.

Otherwise, like so many do, they go and get a vasectomy and a little while later confess it and move on with their life of contraception.

Whatever the intent, it applied to a singular event. It is a factor only for that singular event. Any confession must be accompanied by contrition and repentance, else the sin is not forgiven. This does not change the sinlessness of sex after the vasectomy.

But confession doesn’t work like that. Your confession isn’t valid if you would go back and do it again, given the situation being as it was before.

That sort of situation always reminds me of Claudius’s soliloquy, in Hamlet:

O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t,
A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what’s in prayer but this two-fold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon’d being down? Then I’ll look up;
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? ‘Forgive me my foul murder’?
That cannot be; since I am still possess’d
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition and my queen.
May one be pardon’d and retain the offence?

In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence’s gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law: but 'tis not so above;
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compell’d,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can: what can it not?
Yet what can it when one can not repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay!

I think you meant to comment on another post, perhaps?

My post was not asserting anything at all, but rather was thanking another poster for explaining the difference between sterilization (against the fertility of a person) and contraception (against the fecundity of the marital act itself).

A vasectomy isn’t contraception. It is not possible for a person to get a vasectomy in order to contract. A person gets a vasectomy so that he can avoid fertility without having to use contraception. A person gets a vasectomy in order to avoid contraception but to have the same result. Two different actions; two different sins.

Yes, the intent *at the time the action was committed. *It’s one action, committed at one point in time. At a later point, the man is given the grace to understand what he has done, and comes to regret the action, altho he may not be in a position to do anything about it.

Otherwise, like so many do, they go and get a vasectomy and a little while later confess it and move on with their life of contraception.

Well… this is the problem. If they get a vasectomy thinking that later they will confess it and be off the hook, then another sin has been committed: the sin of presumption. He needs to truly regret the sin of sterilizing himself, and the other sin of presumption and he must confess them both.

You can’t hold a past intention over someones head even when their view of things have changed and claim that they are still sinning. If their attitude has actually changed so that they are truly no longer closed to life then there is no sin when they engage in marital relations. Why is there no sin? Because they are neither closed to life in their intention or their actions. In the past they were closed to life in both, and then, for a while, simply in their intention, but once their intention changed to no longer be closed to life there was no longer any sin in their relations. Does that make more sense?

And yet we hold it over the head of the Protestants in my example when their intention and teaching was that they were following God.

No, you are confusing the past and the present. Their past intention is not at all being held over their heads. Their current situation is. They are currently unmarried. Unmarried sexual relations are sinful. Period. It doesn’t matter whether or not their past intentions were good or bad, what matters is their present intentions and actions. If they continue to have sexual relations knowing such relations are sinful both their present act and their present intention will be sinful, that is why they are not allowed to have sexual relations, nothing to do with some past intention at all.

Whereas, for the couple who had a vasectomy, and then repented and had a change of heart, they had a bad intention and performed a bad action, but they no longer have a bad intention and are no longer performing bad actions, so they are not sinning.

Does that help?

Yes it makes sense. It just seems to me that a remarriage is not so easily undone. It’s not like telling a kid to stop sleeping with his girlfriend. It’s a couple who has kids has been together for years and was committed to each other in a marriage ceremony that was erroneous.

That doesn’t change the fact that every other aspect of their “marriage” may be perfectly catholic. Open to life, etc…

It just seems like it is just as difficult, if not more difficult and disruptive to the family to undo a civil marriage than a vasectomy.

This is where I can personally see the Church being able to greatly improve in it’s ministry to divorced and remarried people. Not by changing it’s teaching, but by creating “fast tracks” for certain specific situations that could have the first marriage be declared null without it taking 1 to 2 years and without as lengthy a questionnaire. I realize it can occur much quicker and that the questionnaire is less erroneous for some, but can be a source of much difficulty for others. And more counseling, support for those who do need a full length investigation.

In other words, I understand what the Church does and why it does it - and I agree. Just think it could figure out ways to increase their resources so they could do it better and faster for those involved without “rubber stamping” or jeopardizing the integrity of the annulment process.

I had my tubes tied before became catholic I don’t want to be pregnant due to seizures dangerous my youth pastor at my previous church had disabled son who got vasectomy for his marriage he’s autistic his wife Down syndrome .
Why would it be sin I feel disabled are exception .now that I’m catholic everything seems wrong some days I wish I could go back as a Protestant . I also bipolar
I take meds. If God gives me opportunity to adopt that be better but my mom and my fiances mom help us out and I get Disabijity . I feel better with tubes tied .
When I became catholic 6 yrs ago I’m still lesrning rules
Some I don’t like. My tubes are tied I prayed befoee I did
God gave me ability to use good judgement.
I still want to marry share my life with someone enioy sex .
Not here to argue just do I really belong here :(.

[QUtpgeveOTE=thewanderer;12074711]Because it is no longer contraceptive sex. It is sex while infertile, which is not sinful. The act of getting a vasectomy was a sinful act of contraception, and having an attitude that is selfishly closed to children is sinful, but having marital relations while infertile is not sinful.

Why is remarriage adultery my dad remarried his wife my mom and dad were divorced legally my mom lives with her bf 15 years I live with my fiancé 2 years
Why are these sins my fiancé and I love living together
My therapist thinks it good for disabled to do sowe learn coping skills do chores he drives I don’t . I still actively go to church try to be good
My priest told me and my pastors before RCIA said God loves me

God does love you and he wants you to love him.:slight_smile: an important part of that love is keeping his commandments. Marriage is for life; God never wants anyone to divorce, and if they have good reason to separate they cannot remarry.

2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,a] 8 and the two shall become one.’**(“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark+10&version=RSVCE#fen-RSVCE-28765b”)] So they are no longer two but one.c] 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

My dad was abusive to my mom . So I encouraged her to leave she is divorced and now with a man who doesn’t beat her my dad have her a black eye wen she was pregnant with my brother now she is divorced and with a nice man that’s nice to her.
Neither one of them go to church they don’t like organized religion
My mom was raised catholic. I pray for them

Well, now I pray for them too.:slight_smile:


At least in the US, the vast majority of the divorced and remarried Catholics who now find themselves unable to receive the Sacraments, never even had their original unions investigated. Some because they reject the teaching of the Church on marriage but most, IMHO, just find the whole process too complicated and stressful. The Church cannot go back on the teaching that marriage is for life, nor can she pretend that marriage outside the Church is not sinful. But she can work to get more of those couples back into Sacramental marriages.

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