Hi. I’m new here. Here’s a good one to get started.
I grew up in various churches, never staying with any one denomination.
My wife grew up in the Methodist Church.
We’ve been married 10 years now. Easter of 2002, we both joined the Catholic Church. After 4 1/2 years, my wife is thinking of returning to the Methodist Church. She can’t agree with the Catholic stance on contraception (among other things). To be honest with you, I really don’t want any more children.
Here’s my question(s):
Would I be a bad Catholic if I didn’t try to stop her from returning to her previous faith?
Would it be a sin to have relations with my wife if she were using artificial birth control (as a Methodist)?
Welcome to the forums! You’ll find a lot of wonderful information here, along with some pretty spirited threads.
If you fully entered into the Catholic church then you will be Catholic until you die regardless of what church or rules you choose to follow in your life.
Why are you eager to give up on Catholic teaching just because, at the moment, you don’t agree with it?
Aren’t you at least curious as to why the Church maintains the position it does despite all the other arguments against it over the years? Certainly She isn’t just being stubborm. She has legitimate scriptural reasons to stay Her ground. Methodists are a scriptural bunch. The words of Jesus which the Catholic church uses to guide her in her teachings are the same in the Methodist bible. The Methodists just don’t interpret them the same way. But it wasn’t the Methodist Church Jesus promised would not be in error on matters of faith and morals, was it?
Have you listened to Christopher West speak on Marriage and the Eucharist or Theology of the Body? Have you read Humanae Vitae? Pay close attention to the footnotes and references. Take the time, if necessary, to look those up yourself so you can see the source for the position of the Church. You will find much of it stems from Jesus’ own words, while others are from the Early Fathers, and others from current research the bishops have studied extensively.
You would be a weak Catholic if you did not help to sustain your wife’s spiritual growth and understanding of Jesus’ teachings. Not a bad Catholic, just a weak one. Pray for strength and courage. As the head of the household you are responsible for the spiritual, physical and emotional health of those in your care. Your wife is relying on you, trusting you, to protect her from all harm.
You know the Catholic Church is the Church Jesus founded and that She has the deposit of faith the Holy Spirit left with the apostles. That is your anchor. Logic and reasoning are failing you whenever you find yourself at odds with the teachings of the Church. They are the waves which are tossing you to and fro, trying to pull you from safety. Do not give up. Do not give in. Do not let go. And certainly keep hold of your wife.
Buy the CDs or DVDs of those talks and listen/watch them together with an open heart and mind. If you have any issues or questions, speak to your priest about them, allow fellow members of the church to explain some of these things so that you can understand.
Would it be a sin if you allowed your wife to use ABC? If you did nothing to discourage her I would think so. Why would you want to let your wife harm herself? Don’t you love her enough to want to protect her body, her emotional state and her soul? Spend some time listening or reading Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s work. I think you’ll find it uplifting, clarifying and motivational. Then go together to a Natural Family Planning seminar offered by your diocese.
Bottom line: DO NOT WALK AWAY OR GIVE IN WITHOUT DOING YOUR HOMEWORK. YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT IT IS YOU ARE WALKING AWAY FROM BEFORE YOU MAKE SUCH A LIFE-ALTERING DECISION.
You will both be in my prayers. Please feel free to post any other questions you may have. There are so many really knowlegeable and charitable people here who are more than happy to help fellow Catholics get through the rough patches. The path to heaven is a narrow one, remember that. Never be surprised to find yourself feeling restricted, Jesus told us it would be that way so that means your on the right path. Reach out to us and we’ll help you stay the course.
Your wife might benefit from reading the founder of the Methodist faith, John Wesley, and his view against contraception. "Onan, though he consented to marry the widow, yet to the great abuse of his own body, of the wife he had married, and the memory of his brother that was gone, he refused to raise up seed unto his brother. Those sins that dishonour the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile actions. Observe, the thing which he did displeased the Lord–And it is to be feared, thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls. " John Wesley Commentary on Genesis
Catholic teachings on what to do when one spouse insists on contracepting gets complicated, but you’re not simply permitted to contracept if your spouse is Protestant. I think you should examine yourself as you write you don’t want any more children. Are you placing the burden of birth control on your wife? (Either NFP or female contraceptives typically place the burden to not get pregnant on the woman.) Are you in some way helping to drive her away from the Catholic Church by your not wanting more children? As a husband it is your role to help your wife get to heaven, and you should not underestimate the role children play in helping us get there.
In the words of Bart Simpson, “Once you go Vatican, you can’t go back again!”
Just trying to make light of the situation. I hope you and your wife decide to stay with the Church. I was raised Methodist and have never thought about going back. When you hear the truth, you know it.
May be you may want to find out why some churches changed because the people change, and why Catholic church is so ‘stubborn’ to keep the teaching, because if I’m not mistaken, before 1930s all churches had the same view on contraception that they didn’t approve it.
I know it’s a very difficult issue to handle, because no one wants to have many children and unable to raise them properly.
Is your wife scared of having more children? Is she scared of having children with birth defects?
In cases like this, it seems like the person leaving the Catholic Church does so out of fear, and not out of intellectual disagreements. Because of this, books and videos which make intellectual arguments against contraception will not be helpful. If there is a book of stories by people who have struggled with the same issue and stayed with the Church, this may be more effective.
Hi Rose, Glad you lighten it up. I hope my earlier post wasn’t too tough on a forum newbie.
Dudeingeorgia, Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums.:tiphat:
I hope you stick around here, and I hope you pursuade your wife to stay Catholic. I think you do have an obligation to try to keep her Catholic. Learn about the Church teachings that she questions and lovingly present her with the truth of our faith. :love: And pray for her.:gopray:
Do you not believe in your heart that you brought her into the Truth?
You gave her access to the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ!
You gave her access to the grace of reconciliation!
It sounds like you are at a crossroads yourself.
Invest time and energy into renewing your commitment to Catholicism, and your marriage. Please explore some of the links offered in this thread, especially the Hahn’s material…it will invigorate you.