Why is Condom Use a Sin?

I am a new Catholic, former Evangelical Christian. I am in the process of working out my salvation “with fear and trembling.” :slight_smile: I have worked through all the normal issues that Evangelical usually have with Catholic theology and agree with Catholic teachings. My current difficulties have to do with “Just War Doctrine” and certain sexuality issues.

The first issue I wish to discuss is condom use. Now I know that the Church teaches that condom use is wrong. What I want to understand is the reasoning behind this teaching. Why is NFP allowed when condom use is far less effective at preventing pregnancy than NFP? It seems to me that a couple that uses condoms during intimate relations is actually more open to the possibility of pregnancy that the family that uses NFP. I’ve read that NFP can be 99% effective while condom use is, at best 95% effective, with some experts putting the effective rate as low as 85%. Since effective condom use does not result in the sin of abortion, what is the rationale behind prohibiting condom use?

Please feel free to quote the catechism and/or the Bible to me. I’m all ears. But what I am really looking for is an answer that weaves tradition, Church teaching, and the Bible with a good dose of reason and logic.

Now I know there are Christians out there who will tell me that they believe that condom use is a sin because the Church tells them it is. There is nothing wrong with believing that way, in fact there is a certain strength to such an argument and I respect that. God bless you, your belief is a tribute to your faith, a wonderful gift from God. I pray for faith such as you have; please pray that I may one day have that faith. Sometimes I feel like the father in Mark 9:24, " Straight away the father of the child gave a cry, saying, I have faith; make my feeble faith stronger."

Please understand that my Catholic faith is not contingent on anyone convincing me that their viewpoint is correct. I’m know God will answer my prayers and give me the ability to understand this teaching. Maybe you can be part of God’s answer to my prayer and help me to understand. :thumbsup:

NFP and contraception are both methods of birth control. Birth control is the spacing & planning of children.

The Church does not teach birth control is immoral. The Church teaches that contraception is an immoral means of birth control. Big difference.


Each marriage act (act of sexual intercourse) must be unaltered before, during, or after the act. No action may taken to alter the act because each act must be objectively unitive and procreative in order to be authentic and properly ordered as God designed.

Subjectively that particular act may or may not be procreative. For example, if someone is naturally infertile due to time of the month, post-menopause, already pregnant, etc, then an unaltered act of intercourse is objectively procreative but subjectively does not result in conception.

**How does NFP meet this criteria? **In NFP each marital act is objectively unitive and procreative. If you have reason to avoid pregnancy you do not engage in the act. That respects the objective elements that must be present in every act.

**How does contraception fail to meet this criteria? **When contracepting a couple engages in the marital act while simultaneously altering the act to nullify it’s procreative element-- either before, during, or after the act. Before-- sterilization, Pill, sponge, diaphram, condom, IUD. During-- withdrawal, masterbatory acts that don’t culminate in intercourse. After- morning after pill, abortion. All of these things alter the act either in anticipation of, during, or after.

NFP says: Don’t want to become pregnant at that time? Abstain and respect the act as God created it because we and the act serve God. Engage in the act when the woman is naturally infertile and never alter the act.

Contraception says: Don’t want to become pregnant? Have sex and mutilate the act because the act serves us.

NFP is not an alterative to contraception, it’s an alternative to complete abstinence.

For more, go to www.omsoul.com and pick up some of their resources. Humanae Vitae, the book Theolog of the Body for Beginners, Dr. Janet Smith’s CD “Contraception, Why Not” and the book The Bible And Birth Control are all ones I recommend.

Pope John Paul wrote a wonderful piece called The Theology of The Body.

Condom use is a sin because it closes the door to the possibility of creation. Creation in this sense the creation of another human being. NFP does not close the door to life because man and woman are simply engaging in the procreative act of sexual intercourse…the way god intended. Condom use is an artificial barrier to prevent new life.

God gave us the awesome gift of actually being able to actively participate in his greatest creation…that is, the creation of another human being. Using a condom is like stadning toe to toe with god and telling him you are going to do it YOUR way.

NFP NEVER interferes with the possibility of conception from engaging in intercourse. It is simply monitoring for times of less chance of conception.

God created sexual intercourse for the primary purpose of allowing us to participate in cooperation with Him in the creation of a new human life. Whenever we tinker with this gift via contraception we are removing the core component of its reason for existence. THus we are reducing it to a physical event and have removed the spiritual aspect of it. WHich guts it of its meaning.

It is the specific marital act that must be open to life. If there is no marital act, then no problem. But, if intercourse occurs, it must be holy–open to life.

Every intercourse must include God. By using a condom, you are excluding Him.

You have to think about each act–not the intention of the couple.

I have to say though, I didn’t understand the Church’s teachings until I submitted in obedience. Then, it was perfectly clear. :slight_smile: I think sometimes God wants our obedience first. Reading the lives of the saints helped me to see the beauty of obedience.

And, after all, who is Lord of your fertility?

BTW, you don’t have to use NFP. You can just accept life as it is given to you.

THis topic is often one that gets the ball rolling for evangelica prots to convert. I believe this is the key for Kimberly Hahns approach to Catholicism. She really connected with the Catholic view on the Theology of Love and Sex.

This specific teaching was the hardest for me to accept. As you discuss this here, you will be bombarded with some scriptural support and beat around the ears with Humanae Vitae.

Those never convinced me. It is still difficult to accept but two things have really opened me up to it.

The first was that all Christian churches taught that artificial contraception is immoral until the 1930’s when the Episcopal Church was the first to approve it. Since that time every other Christian denomination has changed its teaching except for the catholic church. Why was it immoral before and now is considered moral by those churches? The answer is that those churches have succumbed to social pressure. They are affected by the world rather than affecting the world.

The second was a G.K. Chesterton quote. He predicted in the early 1900s that if contraception were to become accepted, then abortion would soon follow.

That quote echoed what my parents had said of abortion, that if abortion would be allowed to continue, soon people would be killing babies after they are born. Now surely you’ve seen news stories of women killing their new born babies. Colorado had to pass a law allowing women to abandon their babies at hospitals or fire stations to stop an alarming trend.

After realizing Chesterton’s prediction came true, and witnessing the continued path of death it has lead down, I had to realize that even though I don’t fully understand the teaching, contraception is having an undeniably negative effect on society. Every western culture uses contraception so much that our societies are literally dying off. Birth rates are now unsustainable for every European country.

So after looking at the results of contraception, I have to say that the preponderance of evidence lies with the catholic church about the morality of the issue.

The scary thing is that we live in an area with a very high percentage of scientists. When my daughter gets into pro-life debates at school with the children of these scientists, some of them will actually suggest that children under the age of two aren’t fully human. It’s a scary world out there.

To the OP. I am also a convert. I originally had this view point with contraception as well, seeing as how I would get pregnant even while using birth control. When I went through RCIA I actually thought I was being open to life while using birth control just because of the fact that I had become pregnant while using it.

It took me a while to really understand the teaching and to really understand the devestating effects that a contraceptive mentality had on my relationship with my husband. I don’t want to go into the specifics, but I just want to say that the Church is correct. Couples who follow the teachings of the Church will have much stronger relationships than couples who contracept.

My opinion is condoms within a marriage is as acceptable as NFP. Yes, I know what the teaching is, but thats my opinion. The main thing in my opinion is the couple be open to a pregnancy if one occurs, whether by NFP or condom. If God wants a pregnancy a condom isnt gonna stop one. The same with NFP…so I find them both neither moral or immoral, simply neutral in a marriage. I believe thiis is one instance where the Church needs to be progressive.

“Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Sound familiar?

Actually, why use a condom or NFP at all then? If God wants you to not get pregnant then you won’t, right?

In using NFP, a couple if cooperating with God’s plan and respecting it. God created fertile days and infertile days so that spouses could enjoy marital intimacy and conceive or not according to his plan.

I cannot find anything laudable in this primacy of the autonomy of conscience rationalization for defying God’s natural and moral law. Rather I hear the echo of that most primordial scream “I will not serve!”.

If you are going to let your “opinion” rule your life you have no need for the Church. Hopefully you have not bought into the “primacy of conscience” fallacy.

One could agree that NFP puts him to the test as well.

Thats how you equate that?


Wow…had no idea the church was for those who are already CURED…I thought it was for those in need as well…If you are of the mind that disagreeing with the Church on certain matters is horrendous, even if one isnt out tryng to convert others to thier opinion (which I dont do) then please do me a favor, and add me to your ignore list as we have nothing to say. :slight_smile:

I know you’re going to take a lot of heat for that crack, not that it will do a bit of good.

But quite honestly, if your opinion is that condom use is as moral as NFP in marriage, then you really, really, really do not understand the issues. Really. And I’ll bet you have not used NFP.

I hope you are circumspect in sharing this opinion with others who might be encouraged to join you.

One could-but they would be wrong.

WOW! You are suprised that people in a Catholic Forum adhere to catholic teachings!

The problem is you have stated you dont NEED a cure- that your opinion takes precedence over the teachings of the Church. In addtion I am at a loss as to your claim you are not trying to convert others to your “opinion” when you post your “opinion” to a public forum.

Who do you bow your knee to in submission and obedience in matters of faith and morals?

No, NFP uses fertility exactly as God created it. Artificial means, are just that, artificial, they do not originate from God’s plan.

In addition, artifical means of birth control are a rejection of one’s spouse.

The marital act is meant to be a act of union, a full acceptance of one’s spouse as God created them.

When using Artifical Birth Control (ABC), it is an active rejection of an aspect of your spouse, namely their fertility. They must change something about themselves before you will engage in an act of union. Kind of a oxymoron, isn’t it!

NFP accepts one’s spouse exactly as God created them, without change.