Hypothetical - Contraception related

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Imagine this scenario please. A husband-wife are told that they can’t have any more kids because any subsequent pregnancies will lead to death.

The couple uses NFP to determine the woman’s fertile cycle and abstains from having relations during this time, as the Church teaches.

Once the woman is not fertile, the couple uses a condom, just in case the NFP readings were wrong.

Are they really sinning? They try to respect God’s design by not having relations during his designated time of creation, but they also feel they are respecting life by not bringing about death through another pregnancy that they can not handle.

As far as I can tell, the reason condoms are wrong is that they unnaturally remove the procreative from the unitive aspect of the marital act. But if the procreative aspect is already removed via God’s design it makes me wonder why they can’t use a condom?
The use of the condom is still immoral. The easiest way that we know this is that the Church authoritatively teaches that artificial contraception (this includes condoms) is intrinsically evil. This means is can never, ever be a moral option no matter what the circumstances may be. The reasoning behind this is that even though a couple “knows” they are infertile, the act of intercourse itself must be left open to conception. Even with NFP there is always the option that God could intend for conception to occur even at the most unlikely time. The point is that couples need to remain open to that by not deliberately attempting to frustrate being open to procreation. Also, with barrier methods like a condom, it could even be said that the act itself is not one of sexual intercourse, but rather a simulated act of intercourse that is masturbatory in nature.
Ham1 is right contraception is always wrong and can harm the relationship when used not to mention the harm to the womans body with certin types of birth control. What needs to happen in that situation is that during the times when the woman is fertile is they must abstain from sexual relations. Just because you are not fertile does not mean that you can use birth control. It is still a sin.
Harm the relationship? What about harming the LIFE of the woman?

Or should they just abstain? That can’t be good for the relationship either.
Both posts are correct, contraception is gravely sinful even under the scenario presented. Look at it this way. You said the Husband and Wife are using it ‘just in case’. Just in case of what? Just in case she is fertile at that time. Which means, they aren’t just using it when she is infertile and by definition have used contraception during a fertile period and used unnatural means to prevent conception.

That being said, it’s easy for us posting to give the pat answer. What I’d like to offer is some advice as well. As one who has a friend who has a very serious disease (LUPUS) which can make pregnancy potentially life threatening, I was curious what options existed to allow spouses to partake of the blessings of marital act in that situation (my friend and her husband had basically been TOTALLY abstaining for several years when she told me of this problem). I had correspondance with several NFP teachers and also with the director of the Couple to Couple Leauge (one of the leading NFP promoters), who assured me that NFP could be used in such situation successfully without endangering the wife. There are VERY conservative NFP rules you can use which make NFP as effective at post-poning pregnancy as sterilization. One just has to be more conservative than normal. In order to do this, one needs both a qualified and knowledgable NFP counselor, as well as a pro-NFP physician for the wife.

I recommend visiting the CCL website…
…for more information. If you can’t find exactly what your looking for, just send them an email and they will help point you in the right direction. The best bet is to find and contact an NFP instructor in your area (you can find one using the website above) who will give you the personal attention you need and help find the resources you need as well.

You should also visit …
…They have a search directory for locating NFP physicians, teachers, and centers in your area.

I hope this helps.


Please feel free to contact me with any question you might have.
Just because situations are very difficult does not make immoral acts moral. The Church teaches that artificial contraception can never be chosen, ever…period. If morality can always be altered by situations then what happens to truth? If we use the situational reasoning that you weem to be advocating then we can find circumstances that will also justify abortion, homosexual acts, pre-marital sex, and even murder.

The couple should use NFP very carefully and conservatively. The couple should also get a physician is does not have an utterly warped view of the human person. Find a physician who understands the teaching of the Church. You may find that the situation is not as “life and death” as previously thought.
If a husband has aids and the wife is sterile, can the couple morally use a condom? If not, why not?
If one member of a couple is sterile, what is the purpose of the condom? If one of the members has a sexually transmittable disease, why not abstinence? There are bigger, more important things to God than having sex.
My answer to that would be that they should abstain. Contraception is not 100 percent effective and what man would expose his wife to even the slighest chance that she would contract AIDS because he wanted personal gratification how is that expressing love for his wife? No matter what situation the use of contraception is always inmoral, no matter what. Always and forever.
Because intriniscally evil means always evil…no matter what. So, if we follow the authority of the Church we know this to be true. Unless you believe that the Church does not have the authority of Christ, then you would have to accept that teaching as valid.

Also, in a sense, as I mentioned above, intercourse with condom is essentially an act of “simulated” intercourse. If, by some miracle, God wanted conception to occur, you would be frustrating his will by using a condom. The idea is that each act of marital intercourse has to be unitive (which as I mentioned is somewhat in doubt when using a condom) and open to procreation. The condom is an attempt to frustrate this openness to procreation and that goes against nature.

What if St. Elizabeth and St. Zachary has used a condom? She was, after all, thought to be infertile.
I’m confused. If you’re using NFP, and using it to prevent conception for an indefinite period of time, for whatever reason…isn’t that against the procreative nature? Isn’t that showing that you’re not open to procreation? And then wouldn’t that also be “intrinsically evil”?
I’m confused. If you’re using NFP, and using it to prevent conception for an indefinite period of time, for whatever reason…isn’t that against the procreative nature? Isn’t that showing that you’re not open to procreation? And then wouldn’t that also be “intrinsically evil”?
No, because you are not deliberately and artificially attempting to render infertile an act that could otherwise possibly be fertile.
Okay…makes sense. Using NFP doesn’t cause you to be infertile, it just prevents conception (if done accurately). BUT…you’re still choosing not to procreate by abstaining during your fertile period. So if you’re choosing to only have relations when you know you can’t get pregnant (or know that the odds are greatly against it) then wouldn’t that make the intercourse masturbatory in nature?
My comments above regarding “masturbatory” were in reference to intercourse with a condom, which in a plain physical sense is not wholly intercourse as there is a barrier between the two individuals. This barrier can be said to make the act “simulated” intercourse which of course would just be an elaborate form of masturbation. The couple practicing NFP is physically engaging in actual intercourse, unlike the couple using a condom.
I hope this doesn’t come off sounding too snippy but these discussion irk me. It seems that a lot of people are looking for a loop hole.

In the not-so-distant past, men were advised to not have sex after surviving heart attacks. Their wives made the sacrifice, willingly, if not cheerfully, by abstaining from sex, often for years or permanently.

Why is it so different when it is the wife’s health? Are men less able to make the sacrifice? Has sex become even more important than the physical and spiritual health of spouses?

Don’t get me wrong, sex is great and an important part of marriage. It’s just not a mandatory aspect. Many couples continue to grow in love without being able to enjoy sex anymore.

From everything I read, the scenario where pregnancy will kill the wife is incredibly rare. Much more common is the situation where further pregnancies are dangerous. And as far as AIDS goes, one statistic was bragging that condoms are 80% or more effective in blocking the virus. Not great odds.

Before contraceptives became legal and readily available, this would not have been an issue. If you really needed to avoid pregnancy, you abstained. This is a really good example of the contraceptive mentality. We are arguing backwards from a point of “why not”.
In case there is any doubt about this, let us put all musings, personal opinions and debate aside for just a moment and look for some clarity on what exactly the church does teach. The Catechism says…

** 2368 **A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:
**2370 **Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:159
2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

,This is crystal clear. No if, ands or buts need apply. Now that we have clear what the church DOES teach, we can talk about why.
Contraception is not 100 percent effective
Since this thread concerns the hypothetical, then even with contraception every marital act is, in fact, open to the possibility of life. So, apart from abortifacient contraceptives, what’s the beef?

John Higgins:
Since this thread concerns the hypothetical, then even with contraception every marital act is, in fact, open to the possibility of life. So, apart from abortifacient contraceptives, what’s the beef?

Because it comes down to the choice to work with or against what God has given us.

In NFP, the couple works with what God has built into the natural cycle. With artificial contraception the couple tries to undermine what God has designed.
Furthermore, NFP is licit when used for the right (i.e. unselfish) reasons.

God gave us periodic fertility that births might be separated to make them managable. He designed the human body so that with decreased nutrition (e.g. in the case of poverty) fertility is reduced. He designed the body so that lactation makes a woman infertile, thus helping to space the children.

Many of us are fat and fertile, but many of us don’t want to share our material blessings. So we do whatever it takes to avoid conception.
If a husband has aids and the wife is sterile, can the couple morally use a condom? If not, why not?
Keep in mind that in sexual intercourse, the couple must not work to undermine either the uniative or the procreative aspects. In this case, even if we accept that the procreative purpose can not be fulfilled and thus can not be undermined, the condom still undermines the uniative purpose.

Of course, since we know that all things are possible with God, we can not say that a sterile woman can not conceive. God has performed miraculous healings in the past.
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