Why is it wrong not to want children?


#1

I have a question about Catholic morality (well quite a few, but I’ll start with this one), why is it wrong for a married couple not to want to have children?

I understand that having children is a blessing and that it’s necessary for the continuance of the human race but why does that make it immoral to not want them? Not everyone wants the same thing, not everyone would even necessarily be great parents - so that makes them lesser people, or not a proper couple? With respect, I just don’t understand this belief.

Please will someone explain it to me?


#2

Well first off if you can't have children it would be fine I think if you didn't want any (to adopt).

BUT if you can have children, and purposely don't want to have children EVER and use methods to that effect...why be married? It's really just state sanctioned fornication.

They say that bringing children into the world is a selfless act. (because you are putting them first) and it teaches us how to be giving, compassionate, etc. etc. Using contraception in a "marriage" is just plain selfish. You say "I love you but not wholly", "you can have all of me-but not this little part" to your spouse.

Real love is fully giving yourself to your spouse and creating a mix, (a person) that is part of both of you that will teach you the above virtues.

All this is IF you can have children to begin with. If you are unable to have children in the marriage you can still give yourself fully to your spouse just no children are a result of it.

I think as a former child hater it's unhealthy to not to want to ever have kids...just my .02 cents.


#3

Thanks for the response.

However, I'm sorry, but I have to say I don't agree, in fact I'm confused by this whole attitude :confused:

Sanctioned fornication? "Why be married"? What about loving companionship? What about a couple who feel they wouldn't cope with children very well for some reason, or just want to devote themselves to something else?

Don't get me wrong, I think parenthood is a very good thing but I just don't see it as the only valid life choice, this rigid idea that if you don't want kids you must be selfish... or mentally unhealthy? It's such a harsh judgement. And you can love someone wholly, and still make a decision that kids are not for you. Where do all these ideas come from? It just seems so Victorian to me.:shrug:
Hope I'm not being too offensive by saying these things. I just genuinely get bemused by all the rules of the Church and how there only ever seems to be one 'right way'.


#4

[quote="marysdaughter22, post:3, topic:207124"]
Thanks for the response.

However, I'm sorry, but I have to say I don't agree, in fact I'm confused by this whole attitude :confused:

Sanctioned fornication? "Why be married"? What about loving companionship? What about a couple who feel they wouldn't cope with children very well for some reason, or just want to devote themselves to something else?

Don't get me wrong, I think parenthood is a very good thing but I just don't see it as the only valid life choice, this rigid idea that if you don't want kids you must be selfish... or mentally unhealthy? It's such a harsh judgement. And you can love someone wholly, and still make a decision that kids are not for you. Where do all these ideas come from? It just seems so Victorian to me.:shrug:
Hope I'm not being too offensive by saying these things. I just genuinely get bemused by all the rules of the Church and how there only ever seems to be one 'right way'.

[/quote]

It's not "loving companionship" if you can have children and do whatever you can not to have them-that's selfish not loving, you don't give yourself to your spouse completely. The "ideas" come from The Church that you by your profile claim to be a part of (I'm converting soon myself to Catholicism).

If you want to be "married" yet don't ever want kids and will use whatever to that end on a permanent basis, why be Catholic? :shrug:


#5

[quote="marysdaughter22, post:3, topic:207124"]

Thanks for the response.

However, I'm sorry, but I have to say I don't agree, in fact I'm confused by this whole attitude :confused:

Sanctioned fornication?

[/quote]

So, you're willing to use someone just for enjoyment? And you want to avoid any responsibility?

[quote="marysdaughter22, post:3, topic:207124"]

"Why be married"? What about loving companionship?

[/quote]

One can find loving companionship outside of marriage.

[quote="marysdaughter22, post:3, topic:207124"]

What about a couple who feel they wouldn't cope with children very well for some reason, or just want to devote themselves to something else?

[/quote]

Then they shouldn't get married.

[quote="marysdaughter22, post:3, topic:207124"]

Don't get me wrong, I think parenthood is a very good thing but I just don't see it as the only valid life choice, this rigid idea that if you don't want kids you must be selfish... or mentally unhealthy?

[/quote]

See comments above. Why get married and have sex?

[quote="marysdaughter22, post:3, topic:207124"]

It's such a harsh judgement. And you can love someone wholly, and still make a decision that kids are not for you. Where do all these ideas come from?

[/quote]

Natural law.


#6

[quote="marysdaughter22, post:3, topic:207124"]
Thanks for the response.

However, I'm sorry, but I have to say I don't agree, in fact I'm confused by this whole attitude :confused:

Sanctioned fornication? "Why be married"? What about loving companionship? What about a couple who feel they wouldn't cope with children very well for some reason, or just want to devote themselves to something else?

Don't get me wrong, I think parenthood is a very good thing but I just don't see it as the only valid life choice, this rigid idea that if you don't want kids you must be selfish... or mentally unhealthy? It's such a harsh judgement. And you can love someone wholly, and still make a decision that kids are not for you. Where do all these ideas come from? It just seems so Victorian to me.:shrug:
Hope I'm not being too offensive by saying these things. I just genuinely get bemused by all the rules of the Church and how there only ever seems to be one 'right way'.

[/quote]

maybe marriage isn't your vocation. I don't think God would call someone to a vocation in which one of the purposes for said vocation would cause the one being called to be so against it. Remember, marriage is a vocation, just like the religious life. And both offer great companionship and both must be discerned very carefully, to not do so would cause the one entering to have a very difficult road at the least and be dangerous at the most.


#7

Very good points ComputerGeek. Totally, using someone for enjoyment with no responsibility.


#8

I think we may need to remember our manners.

This is a good question. A very fair one as well. I know excatly where the OP is coming from.


#9

Marysdaughter:

The reason it is wrong from a Catholic perspective is that having and raising children is a primary purpose of marriage. So one shouldn't get married knowing they will be avoiding children altogether.

The more informed posters can correct me, but I have heard of having a Josephite marriage (sexless) is ok--and clearly has the effect of a childless marriage. But that doesn't seem to fit with the purpose of marriage...so I don't know. Some one here does, though.


#10

Why do you not want children?

Are they a burden (financial, emotional)? Are they too much responsibility? Are they too much of an unknown? Are you afraid you will either perpetrate the (bad) habits of your own parents, or that you won't 'live up to' the (good) habits of your parents?

Will they tie you down? Do you think that you only have a limited amount of love and if you have children, your spouse will be 'denied'? Or that HIS love for you will be 'lessened' because you'll have to 'share'?

Do you think that having children will keep you from being able to have material goods and career success? That you'll constantly have to put THEM first and never be able to be 'your own person'? That instead of being the capable person you are, you'll just make mistake after mistake and create beings who will hate and despise you and blame YOU for all the terrible things they will do? That you will 'damage' the environment with these 'mouths to feed' and that other people will blame YOU for the damage? That you will have to learn a tremendous amount of new skill sets, and they won't work all the time, and they certainly won't work on a second or third child even if they worked for the first? That you'll have the responsibility not just of food, clothing and shelter but of actually raising a well-rounded, civic-minded, responsible 'adult-to-be'?

Do you worry that you and your spouse will be constantly fighting over how to raise the children?

Do you think that you're the only person in the world who has these feelings?

Or do you think that these have 'only' come about in the last couple of decades because women are now 'liberated' and that before your enlightenment, women were 'forced' into the 'drudgery' of child rearing because they had nothing BETTER to do, and that countless billions of women's lives were WASTED on the mind-numbing DREARINESS of raising a family? And you dread that by having children, you'll be turning your back on 'your sisters' and buying into the male-supremacist world and you'll be making all the 'sacrifices' of those brave feminists in VAIN because you just 'succumbed' to the bad old patriarchical, narrow-minded, medieval notion; you listened to your stupid 'biological clock' instead of using your MIND, etc.?

See, there are a lot of possibilities (I've only touched the surface, above) as to why you ask about it being 'wrong' to not want children.

Note that I don't say 'reasons'. . .because many of these are not 'reasonable' at all but are predicated on wrong premises and 'feelings', and those which do attempt logic likewise are built on an edifice which is at best narrow and at worst actually false.

Because everything above can be addressed, point by point.

Financial burden? You or your spouse could develop a debilitating disease, get hit by a car and wind up paraplegic, be affected by toxic chemicals, cause an accident, be victims of fraud, etc. Life does not have guarantees. You could do everything the financial wizards say and through no fault of your own wind up 'bankrupt' or worse, out of the blue. If you're worried about 'financial burden', then to be honest you'd have to worry about all the above and you'd pretty much never really be able to do much of anything. . .can't buy a house because of the housing bubble, have to have savings for your SAVINGS because the bank could go under any time, can't drive because you might cause an accident, etc. I daresay that like most people you would 'like' to have the big ticket purchases like a car, and if not a house, at least you'll budget for things like rent. If you can do that for yourself and your spouse, you can do that for yourself, your spouse, and a child. Breastfeed your child and save big bucks on formula; use cloth diapers and save big bucks on 'disposables'; use things like Craigslist, thrift shops, etc. and save big bucks on clothing, furniture, toys etc.,

I can go on, because all the other worries have 'answers' too. . .but first, you need to find what you are REALLY afraid of (yes, I said afraid). Because all those 'excuses' are really trying to 'justify' fears 99% of the time. . .


#11

I have to kind of agree with the original poster.
People may not have kids, and what if htere are health problems involved?
does that mean only healthy people should get married?


#12

Because the whole point of matrimony is children and the whole point of the marriage act is to procreate.

Its not wrong to not want kids, it is wrong to engage in something designed to create kids while not wanting kids.

Don't want kids then don't get married and don't engage in an act which is designed by God to create new life.

You don't need to get married or engage in the marital act to have love.


#13

[quote="LollilopLicker, post:11, topic:207124"]
I have to kind of agree with the original poster.
People may not have kids, and what if htere are health problems involved?
does that mean only healthy people should get married?

[/quote]

Health problems are no barrier to wanting children.


#14

I don't think it's necessarily wrong to not want children. Does the Church say anything specifically about not desiring children being wrong?

What is wrong is attempting to pervert nature to prevent yourself from having children. Even when you do not desire a child you must be open (within your marriage) to the possibility that God might want you to be a parent. I'm sure, even if you do not desire a child, that God would give you a child if it was for the greater good. Either of yourself, your spouse, or mankind.

I think everyone is assuming that not wanting children means you will use artificial birth control methods but that's not necessarily true. It just means you'll be sobbing on the toilet when the little stick turns blue instead of rejoicing...

That's just my thoughts on the issue though and I'm not expert.


#15

[quote="Rico_S, post:9, topic:207124"]
Marysdaughter:

The reason it is wrong from a Catholic perspective is that having and raising children is a primary purpose of marriage. So one shouldn't get married knowing they will be avoiding children altogether.

The more informed posters can correct me, but I have heard of having a Josephite marriage (sexless) is ok--and clearly has the effect of a childless marriage. But that doesn't seem to fit with the purpose of marriage...so I don't know. Some one here does, though.

[/quote]

I always thought the purpose of marriage was to have a companion. Remember in the Garden? How Adam was lonely so God gave him Eve? Children resulted but the initial need was just wanting companionship?


#16

I'm kind of on the fence on this issue. For me sometimes I says I want kids and then other times I say I don't. I'm not totally sure yet; I'm only 22 though. I personally don't think it's wrong not to have kids. I believe you should only have children if you really want them. Don't have them if you don't want them. With saying this I don't believe a couple should have an abortion if they find themselves pregnant with a child they don't necessarily want. Precautions should be made ahead of time to prevent something like that from happening.


#17

[quote="nickybr38, post:15, topic:207124"]
I always thought the purpose of marriage was to have a companion. Remember in the Garden? How Adam was lonely so God gave him Eve? Children resulted but the initial need was just wanting companionship?

[/quote]

You are mistaken, it is not necessary to be married to have a companion. Primary purpsoe of marriage has and always will be the generation and nurturing of offspring.

"Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents. " (Vatican II).

Further reading on the subject:

ourcatholicfaith.org/articles/Matrimony%20-%20On%20the%20Primary%20Purpose%20of%20Marriage.html


#18

Children are a gift of God to married couples. We should accept God's gifts with our whole heart and be open to His Will. It is part of the natural order. That is as simply as I can state it.


#19

[quote="Advocatus_Fidei, post:17, topic:207124"]
You are mistaken, it is not necessary to be married to have a companion. Primary purpsoe of marriage has and always will be the generation and nurturing of offspring.

"Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents. " (Vatican II).

Further reading on the subject:

ourcatholicfaith.org/articles/Matrimony%20-%20On%20the%20Primary%20Purpose%20of%20Marriage.html

[/quote]

What about those couples who desired children and yet never had them? Does this mean God did not see their marriage as valid? Or that they were not truly married?

Just wondering.


#20

[quote="Tantum_ergo, post:10, topic:207124"]
Why do you not want children?

Are they a burden (financial, emotional)?.....Do you think that having children will keep you from being able to have material goods and career success? That you'll constantly have to put THEM first....

....Or do you think that these have 'only' come about in the last couple of decades because women are now 'liberated' and that before your enlightenment, women were 'forced' into the 'drudgery' of child rearing because they had nothing BETTER to do, and that countless billions of women's lives were WASTED on the mind-numbing DREARINESS of raising a family? And you dread that by having children, you'll be turning your back on 'your sisters' and buying into the male-supremacist world and you'll be making all the 'sacrifices' of those brave feminists in VAIN because you just 'succumbed' to the bad old patriarchical, narrow-minded, medieval notion; you listened to your stupid 'biological clock' instead of using your MIND, etc.? - this is all extremely insulting

See, there are a lot of possibilities (I've only touched the surface, above) as to why you ask about it being 'wrong' to not want children.

Note that I don't say 'reasons'. . .because many of these are not 'reasonable' at all but are predicated on wrong premises and 'feelings' in your opinion, and those which do attempt logic likewise are built on an edifice which is at best narrow and at worst actually false.

Because everything above can be addressed, point by point.

...If you can do that for yourself and your spouse, you can do that for yourself, your spouse, and a child. Breastfeed your child and save big bucks on formula; use cloth diapers and save big bucks on 'disposables'; use things like Craigslist, thrift shops, etc. and save big bucks on clothing, furniture, toys etc., - well that clears that up then

I can go on, because all the other worries have 'answers' too. . .but first, you need to find what you are REALLY afraid of (yes, I said afraid). Because all those 'excuses' are really trying to 'justify' fears 99% of the time. . .

[/quote]

WOW. My jaw just hit the floor at the judgementalism in this post, and the assumptions about me (and the post that said I was clearly 'willing to just use someone for enjoyment').

First of all Tantum Ergo, I'm actually not asking as someone who doesn't want children (I'm not at that stage in my life, but I'm open to the idea). And OF COURSE I am not dismissing the important work of parents (why do you only talk about mothers by the way?)... in fact, none of those things particulaly apply to me and it's so utterly obnoxious to assume so much about other people's motivations. Do you really have all the answers?

I am asking as someone who has my brain engaged and just can't accept this black-and-white "because I say so" thing. If there's truly a good reason then of course I will accept something, but otherwise no. For the people who have said these type of things:

  • well, the point of marriage is having children, so if you're not planning on having children then you're doing something wrong

  • if you're having sex and not wanting children, you must be selfishly using the other person

  • you must be mentally unhealthy to not want children

  • your mind has been warped by the feminist movement, or else you just want more money for cars and foreign holidays

  • it's just natural law, so deal with it

etc

...well, my only response is that I just don't think these are the cast-iron truths you're making them out to be. They are obviously passionately held beliefs on this forum but that doesn't make it so, and while I respect your rights to your beliefs I'm frustrated by all the moral condemnation it entails (see above post from Tantum Ergo!)

To me, it seems to be a type of blind extremism that doesn't leave an awful lot of room for people in their diversity, or allow them to make a non-mainstream choice, etc.

I'm really deeply unhappy about it because I used to be very religious and thought I'd found something wonderful, and yes parts of it are, but too many parts just don't make sense to me anymore and I simply can't accept them. Most of all I dislike the knee-jerk reactions to this sort of thing, and being told that I've got to believe this, or do that, even if it doesn't feel right.

Well that's about it from me... I think I'll bow out here and respectfully say I really don't agree but I wish you all the best.


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