Confessing Pre-Marital Sex/Birth Control

My fiance and I live together and will be married in September. I am a new Catholic (baptized/confirmed 1 year ago) and one of the major problems I’ve had is understanding the Church’s teaching against pre-marital sex and condom use. I support and understand the birth control issue for Plan B/etc. where a fertilized egg is being blocked/destroyed, but I cannot get on board yet with condoms/pre-marital sex in general being sinful.

That being said, I know the Church teaching. I know that pre-marital sex is a sin, that using condoms is a sin, etc. So here is my question…I engage in both of these acts that the Church teaches as being sinful, yet I struggle with agreeing with the teaching (therefore I continue to engage in the acts). I cannot confess these sins because it would be an empty confession if I do not plan on changing my actions yet. I say yet because if through prayer and meditation I do come to understand and follow this teaching then I will change it. However, this means that I should NOT be receiving Communion at Church, correct? Even though I disagree with the teaching I do understand that according to the Church I am in a state of sin and should not receive Communion. I just wanted to verify that my line of thinking is consistent because I’m not sure on whether to confess these sins if I don’t plan on changing them, or whether I should be receiving Communion at all during the next 8 months if we continue having pre-marital sex.

Thank you for any advice, does anyone else struggle with this one teaching?

You are correct that you should not receive the Eucharist. Confession is not a get out of jail free card, you have to really mean it or the sacrament is a spitting in the face of Jesus.

Using contraceptives goes counter to what God tells us to do, which is unite in marriage and have children! Society says sex is for pleasure only, and to try and subvert the procreation until we think we are ready. Can you understand this is contrary to what God wants for us?

I am sad that you are now a Catholic in dissent of Church teaching, and a brand new one at that. Is your girlfriend also Catholic?

Can you please post the scriptures for the guidelines that Jesus gives us on sex and children. I feel it’s important to help people get a view directly so that they can get it from the horses mouth so to speak.


I don’t think that you should receive communion even after you marry, because you will still carry the mortal sin of premarital sex, which marriage will not make you remorseful for.

If you are never going to be able to believe in and live by the church’s teachings why did you convert? It seems to be a waste of your time as well as being disrespectful to Catholicism.

Contrition requires “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.” (CCC 1451) I believe the sacrament would be invalid if you enter it with every intent to continue to sin.

Secondly, if you are in a state of mortal sin, you cannot receive Communion. CCC 1385 states: “conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion”

Short answer, should you confess – No, Should you receive, No.

Learn the “why” behind the laws, and continue to pray.

Not necessary. Catholics believe that the church speaks with the authority of Jesus.

Thank you, and I know I am new but I converted for many reasons, I do love the Church and I believe it is the one Church Christ founded. I am struggling with this one issue but I believe through prayer I will come to abide by this law. I can’t just “make” myself agree with it, therefore I can’t confess the sin…I think I’m just very conflicted.

My fiancée is not Catholic, but very supportive of my faith. She has already told me that if I need to, she’s fine waiting for sex until marriage.

I struggle with all sorts of things.

There is more than one thing here.

Premarital sex. Sinful. Not supposed to do it.

Artificial birth control in marriage. Sinful. Not supposed to do it.

But the big thing is being in opposition to the teachings of the Church. Every faithful Catholic on earth accepts the teachings of the Church whether he violates them or not. The question is not one of “not being Catholic” if one sins. The question is whether one is living a Catholic life in dissent.

Everybody sins all the time. Jesus said even the just man sins seven times a day. But it is true that we need to accept the teachings as true and acknowledge our sinfulness. In addition, we really do have to have the intention to amend. But that intention is always flawed, because we do sin again. The issue is the present intention and trying. One can at least TRY to follow the teachings of the Church regarding artificial birth control. One can start by educating oneself to NFP with as much of an earnest heart as we can muster in ourselves. We can at least read the literature on why it’s wrong; why it’s harmful. Even the Popes have written about that.

How about at least taking little steps? That’s how we develop ourselves in all ways. You didn’t know how to read before you learned. You didn’t know how to read major literature while you were in first grade. You didn’t know how to do algebra in second grade. You developed yourself by steps all along the way. And, frankly, you need a really good priest-advisor to help you along the way.

I can’t advise you spiritually. That’s a priest’s job. But in my opinion, if you honestly attempt your “baby steps”, not necessarily to agree but to obey, and if you confess your latest sins, and at least resolve to take one “baby step”, I say you go to Communion as soon as you can thereafter. You’ll need the strength it gives.

But rejecting the teachings of the Church because we don’t agree with them really is fatal. It’s the sin of Lucifer; pride. “I will not serve” he said. Might as well invent your own religion from the ground up if you do that, and you’ll never 'grow" in your faith and in your virtue. There isn’t a sin on this earth that people can’t justify if they set their mind to it.

How about taking some little steps? God does not expect you to become a saint overnight. He does expect you to try within your strength, and to attempt to develop your strength, your trust and your resolve.

And God bless you. I believe you have a good heart.

Are you sure it isn’t the other way around? i.e. You engage in the acts, so you justify them by deciding that you have difficulty agreeing with the Church?

I don’t mean to be critical and make assumptions here, but this is what I used to be like on several issues. I managed to turn it around when I realized that either I agreed with Catholicism or I disagreed, and that there could be no middle ground.

Just something to think about. Praying that you find your way, with God’s help of course. :slight_smile:

Thank you Ridgerunner for the terrific post.:thumbsup:

No need to worry, I appreciate frank advice! This could be an issue, but I have done quite a bit of research reading up on Theology of the Body, NFP, pro-life issues and I still hit a roadblock with this stuff. I’ll be seeking advice from my priest as soon as I can, because as someone already mentioned, it’s troubling to be feeling this out-of-step so early in my Catholicism, but maybe that’s normal. Converting in my early-mid twenties has already been a difficult 2 years.

Fantastic post, best I’ve read on my time on these forums.

However, this means that I should NOT be receiving Communion at Church, correct?

Correct. You’re currently in mortal sin (from the premarital sexual acts you’ve had). Don’t receive Eucharist. Do however, discuss your concerns and roadblock with your priest.

I’d suggest looking at it this way. Add 20 years to your current age. You and your wife have a daughter and she’s 17 now, just out of highschool.

She tells you she’s moving in with a guy she’s met from school. She says they’ve been having sex for awhile now and that he always uses a condom. Premaritial sex, condoms.

You feel that both acts are right for you now. Are both acts also right for your future daughter?

Additionally, how are you and your fiance ever to understand chastity in your marriage when it wasn’t understood or practiced in your dating relationship?

You’re contracepting now in your dating relationship (having sex with an anti-children mentally). That mentally will not change simply because you’re married.

No advice, but God bless you for searching and wanting to do the right thing. :thumbsup:

:thumbsup: good job BlueEyedLady at giving a Catholic answer!

I’m optimistic however and I do think he will come around but the teaching on sexuality is the hardest one for many to accept.

OP, read “the good news about sex and marriage” by Christopher West. ALL the reasoning is there.

I just wanted to verify that my line of thinking is consistent because I’m not sure on whether to confess these sins if I don’t plan on changing them, or whether I should be receiving Communion at all during the next 8 months if we continue having pre-marital sex.

If you recognize the danger to your soul even if you do not understand it intellectually, you should still go to confession in an act of “imperfect contrition”. The graces received from confession as well as from the Eucharist are well worth it. The hardest sins to beat are the ones that involve two people.

1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."50

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52

I will look into that book, thank you. Could you or BlueEyedLady please clarify: even if one IS remorseful after marriage for what they’ve done and confess their sins of pre-marital sex and birth control, and suffering from Pride, why would they still carry the mortal sin?

I think you are correct that you should not bring these sins to the sacrament of Penance if you intend to keep committing them. I think you are also correct that you should abstain from receiving the Eucharist. However, I would strongly suggest that you talk to a priest at your local parish. Maybe you could even go into the confessional and explain to him that you are not sure if you are ready to receive the Sacrament of Penance, and explain your situation about struggling with the teaching. Be honest with him, and see if he can give you some good pastoral guidance.

Also, have you listened to “Contraception, Why Not?” by Janet Smith? If not, you can download it here. I encourage you to give it a listen. Even if it doesn’t convince you to agree with church teaching on contraception, it at least will help you to understand some of the reasons for the church’s teaching.

They wouldn’t. However, you made it sound like once you are married you won’t be committing the sin of fornication, so you can take communion. You cannot until you are truly sorry for what you did, stop using birth control, and really feel like if you could go back you would do it differently. Once you have all of those feelings and you confess you can receive the Eucharist.

I have to disagree with you emphatically - that was not a “Catholic” answer. I’ve been single for 20 years now and have had no sexual relationships during that time, however, I have never been able to believe that contraception is a sin. I have studied the CCC, read endless articles that explain the foundations behind the “rule” and read with great interest the Humane Vitae (sp) by my hero, Pope John Paul II, and I still cannot agree with the teaching. My conscience is clear that I do not equate using contraception has a mortal sin. Luckily, since I’m single, I’m not at a point in my life where I worry about using contraception. Even though I disagree with this teaching, I go to confession and partake of Communion on a weekly basis.

The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a meeting place for the perfect. If all Catholics were turned away from the Church because they disagreed with one dogma or another, then the pews would be empty except for those hypocrites who “choose” to believe they are perfect. Please go talk to your priest about your questions, I think you will find help there.:wink: