Would Church allow marriage if couple doesn't want children but are open to it?

Would the Church allow marriage if couple doesn’t want children but are open to it? In other words, what if they don’t want to have children, hope they don’t have children, but they do not contracept, but only use NFP. Their attitude is, “Well, we’ll whatever we can to prevent conception (w/o resorting to artificial birth control), but if it happens, it happens…and we’ll welcome a baby and love little him or her.”

TheAdvocate asks** : “Would the Church allow marriage if couple doesn’t want children?”**


As long as they don’t claim that they will violate the Contraception ban.


I believe NFP is only to be used in serious circumstances.

That is correct.

Married Christians are not required to have children, only to be open to life. If a couple truly does not want any children, that could be problematic morally, but would not necessarily invalidate a marriage.

I believe that NFP is the method they suggest for all the couples that went through the marriage prep class. It’s not a form of contraception in It’s true sense. It’s just keeping relations to a time when your wife is at her least fertile.

It helps in refocusing intimacy to beyond just sex. :wink:

As to the OP, I can tell you that my first wife had the same mentality (didn’t want kids, bit if they happened, they happened. Our marriage was consumed by the indifference, the lack of maternal warmth. It got to the point that I agreed to place the boys in daycare instead of them being at home with their mom. After the separation, she confided that she never really wanted children, and that if she could have done it again there would have been no children.

At the divorce, she handed the boys over, but demanded joint custody. They live with me now. Even now, she’s more of a “cool aunt” than mother to my sons.

Point is, if they don’t want children, they cannot possibly be open to it. Maybe they have a feeling that they will grow into it, or that it’ll be just something that happens.

Marriage, and the marital relationship is a force not to be played with. These (unwanted) children will be people. Real humans with hearts and minds and souls.

This is a raw nerve for me, please excuse me if I rambled. But I still recall my then 5 year old naming l the people who love him. When he failed to mention his mom, I prompted him by saying “you forgot to mention mommy.” His reply was “oh yeah, but she doesn’t love me that much.”

I hope, for the sake of the children, that this couple does some serious discernment

We’ll said! A lot more concise than my rambling post.

A real, permanent intention against children is an impediment to valid marriage. This could have a material impact on the ability to give valid consent and would need to be disclosed to the pastor during the premarital preparation period. The pastor would need to carefully and thoroughly evaluate the situation and interview each person.

Anyone who says “yes” or “no” on this thread is speculating. In the end, only the pastor can determine, through thorough interviewing of the couple, whether or not an impediment to valid marriage exists.

Agreed; but the OP clearly addresses this by saying “but are open to [children]” and more plainly “but we’d welcome a child and love it”. That would point to a ‘desire’ rather than to an ‘intention’ against.

Anyone who says “yes” or “no” on this thread is speculating.

Umm… isn’t that what the OP is calling for? For us to think through the question as presented and discuss it? (After all, we are in the moral theology forum…) :rolleyes:

Maybe. Maybe not.

It is through an interview that the priest will establish the real facts and probe this issue.

This is a specific question about whether not specific individuals can enter into a marriage. We can give facts, we can point them to their pastor.

We cannot say “yes” or “no” the marriage would be valid or invalid as if it were a fact. Many people have said “yes” in a definitive manner, and that just isn’t accurate.

Can any back this up with a source? Any document at all? Any bishop’s statement, or statement by a Marriage council or something?

In other words, are you certain? Because I can see a lot of pastors saying no to this.

TheAdvocate asks** : “Can any back this up with a source? Any document at all?
Any bishop’s statement, or statement by a Marriage council or something?
In other words, are you certain? Because I can see a lot of pastors saying NO to this.”**

OK, I will tell you what I know (and what I DON’T know).

A couple from my Home Church planned to have a Catholic Wedding.
During their 6-Months of Preparation, my Priest asked them if they planned to Delay having Children.
They want to Wait for 5 years … to finish Schooling, and get a Stable Income.

OK, are you going to practice Natural Family Planning?
She UNLOADED her Plan . . . to take Birth Control for a few Months, then convert to NFP.
That Priest got angry, and Read Them the Riot Act … a Conspiracy to commit DAILY Mortal Sins.

Upon the Groom-to-be’s Request, I contacted my local Diocese, and spoke with the Vicar.
He, also, was NOT Happy about it.
He said that NO Priest can be forced to perform a Wedding Ceremony to people who Plan to violate the Contraceptive Ban.
He went further, and said it would un-ethical for a Priest to do such a Thing.

He DID say that a Priest COULD Perform it** IF **that Priest thought that they would Change their Mind (before committing her Mortal Sins).
This is an Exception that you could drive a semi-Truck through.

So, Jenny told her Priest that she was NO LONGER considering taking Contraceptives.
And, Peace Returned to the Land.

I am sorry I did not provide Specific Information before.
So, the true Bottom Line is . . . I do NOT know for sure what Official Policy is on the issue.
If you REALLY want a Definitive Statement of Church Policy, I will contact the Archdiocese, and speak with their Canon Law expert, to get an “Official” answer.

I’m sorry, but planning to contracept does not invalidate a marriage, and the idea that a priest would deny marriage to a couple just because they are planning on sinning seems wrong to me, it is a sacrament, it is to be denied if there is a suspicion it would be invalid, but beyond that I really don’t see a legitimate reason for a priest to deny the sacrament.

A permanent intention against children would make any attempt at marriage invalid.
Using or intending to use contraception does not make an attempt at marriage invalid.
Given that marriage is a sacrament and priests are not supposed to set up extra and unnecessary obstacles to the sacraments I find it hard to believe that denying marriage to a couple because they intend to sin by using contraception is truly in line with correct Church practices. The fact that you know it has happened on at least one occasion does not necessarily mean it is actual Church practice. I would be interested to better understand the reasoning behind this course of action.

EDIT: I just found the line from Canon Law I was thinking about while writing this.

Canon 1058 All can contract marriage who are not prohibited by law.

source: catholicdoors.com/misc/marriage/canonlaw.htm

Now, I know I’m not a Canon Lawyer, but it seems pretty clear that the only reason a couple could be legitimately refused marriage is if they are prohibited from marriage by canon law. There is no Canon Law that prohibits people from marriage due to sin (or, in particular, due to the sin of contraception). So, unless new information is presented it would appear that you are incorrect about Church teaching in this case.

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