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Switch to Forum Live View No desire for children=no marriage?
8 years ago  ::  Jul 08, 2009 - 1:10AM #1
KetchupRelish
Posts: 6

If a Catholic does not want children, ever, does that mean they cannot get married ever?  Does a Catholic marriage have to produce children (or be open to children) if both spouses are fertile?


I know that NFP is an option for people who don't want children (or want to space out their children), and I read that it is 98-99% effective.  However, women's menstrual cycles can fluctuate for various reasons (stress, hanging out with other women a lot...).  So there is still a chance a couple could mis-time their physical intimacy, and actually conceive a child during a period they THOUGHT the wife was infertile.


I also heard that if someone doesn't feel called to children, probably God isn't calling them to marriage.  Really?  So if two Catholics who don't want children fall in love, they can't get married (or they have to wait until the woman reaches menopause) because they won't have a valid marriage unless they want at least one kid?


I understand that children are the incarnation of the love between a man and woman (assuming these two people really loved each other when they had sex...).   But does that mean two people who love each other but don't feel called to parenthood can never have sex, can never have a valid marriage?

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8 years ago  ::  Jul 08, 2009 - 9:50AM #2
Shaner
Posts: 1,596

Jul 8, 2009 -- 1:10AM, KetchupRelish wrote:


If a Catholic does not want children, ever, does that mean they cannot get married ever?  Does a Catholic marriage have to produce children (or be open to children) if both spouses are fertile?


I know that NFP is an option for people who don't want children (or want to space out their children), and I read that it is 98-99% effective.  However, women's menstrual cycles can fluctuate for various reasons (stress, hanging out with other women a lot...).  So there is still a chance a couple could mis-time their physical intimacy, and actually conceive a child during a period they THOUGHT the wife was infertile.


I also heard that if someone doesn't feel called to children, probably God isn't calling them to marriage.  Really?  So if two Catholics who don't want children fall in love, they can't get


married (or they have to wait until the woman reaches menopause) because they won't have a valid marriage unless they want at least one kid?


I understand that children are the incarnation of the love between a man and woman (assuming these two people really loved each other when they had sex...).   But does that mean two people who love each other but don't feel called to parenthood can never have sex, can never have a valid marriage?




Yes, for a marriage to be sacramentally valid, the couple must be open to having children, so say's the Church.  However, this is something that is best discussed with a Catholic Priest or in pre-Cana classes.  These classes are, for the most part, a must before a couple marries in the Church.  So don't rule it out, for every rule, there are exceptions.



From what I've read and heard, NFP does have a high success rate.  However, this is one of the teaching's that most Catholic couples, (some estimates are as high as 85%) disagree with and feel it is a decision best left to themselves and God, so artificial birth control is used, rather than NFP. 


However, as I indicated earlier, these questions you have should best be discussed with your family Priest, or any Priest for that matter, he can guide you best.


Peace


 

"Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the Words of Eternal Life"
"Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
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8 years ago  ::  Jul 08, 2009 - 10:12PM #3
Roodog
Posts: 10,168

Talk to your Priest,


A lot of things that was law may not be as rigid anymore. Get up to date info on this.

For those who have faith, no explanation is neccessary.
For those who have no faith, no explanation is possible.

St. Thomas Aquinas

If one turns his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
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8 years ago  ::  Jul 16, 2009 - 6:26PM #4
angpuppy
Posts: 520

If a Catholic does not want children, ever, does that mean they cannot get married ever?  Does a Catholic marriage have to produce children (or be open to children) if both spouses are fertile?



God made marriage and human sexuality to form and create the human family.  Our theology is family centered, a basis on selfless love expressed through service. 


Imagine a man claiming he wanted to be a priest, but he did not want to offer anything but private Masses for himself.  He felt he'd be happiest this way because by being a priest, He'd be able to have access to the Eucharist whenever he wanted because he had been given the ability to consecrate the Eucharist.  He wouldn't have to travel to go to Mass or anything.  But he rather hated the idea of being of service to people.  He didn't want to hear confessions or go through the stress of parish politics.  All he wanted was his own personal Mass.


Now certainly priests are allowed to hold their own private Masses by themselves without anyone around, but what is the purpose of the priesthood?  It is to serve the Church.  Now, imagine this man was ordained, and he was assigned to a parish.  Would he be doing the work of God on Sunday if he locked all the church doors before celebrating Mass in order to prevent parishioners from coming in? 


Let's go to another extreeme.  Say instead you had a priest who really wanted to have a vibrant parish.  He wanted the parishioners to come in, sing beautifully.  He had dreams of this all his life!  Would he be doing God's work on Sunday if he went around time and forced people to attend Mass at gunpoint?


I would say these two extreemes are what we get when we focus on answering the question "What do I want?" rather than "What does God want of me?"  The first priest is like a couple contracepting because they don't want children.  The second example is like a couple with infertility problems who resort to demeaning ways of trying to get pregnant - of which the Church condemns method which seeks impregnantion outside of the marital embrace - surrogate motherhood, invetro fertilization, etc.


What the Church says to the married couple is that every sexual embrace must be open to life.  You can't have Mass and lock the doors to prevent people who would come to Mass from getting to Mass.  It however is not a sin to have private masses that others simply would not show up to.  And it is not a sin to have Mass that everyone could show up to but for some reason you seem to live in an area with very few people, so you may find yourself celebrating Mass by yourself frequently.


Ideally though you should not be seeking to live a life not in service.  It is a sad thing if a priest runs a parish that has no or very few parishioners.  At the same time, we don't want to overwhelm the priest with so many parishioners that he cannot attend to any of their spiritual needs.  As such relating this imperfect analogy to married life, it is a sad thing if a couple suffers from infertility, though not a sinful thing.


Beyond the physical, there is also dealing with your heart.  Its not wrong prefer not having children, just as a priest might prefer quiet time to himself, but it is wrong that if a child did come you reacted in resentment, just as it would be wrong for a priest to act rudely to a parishioner.  This call to love through service recognizes that much of love is a choice.  It is selfish to merely love those who we want around.  We should love all people whom God brings into our life.


Thus the teaching is this.  If a couple has grave reason to postpone or prevent pregnancy, they are free to abstain from sexual acts during the period it is most likely the couple will not get pregnant.  The couple must discern whether they have a grave reason or whether the reason is motivated out of selfishness.  Are you the priest who is canceling Mass because there's a Tornado coming through town or are you the priest canceling Mass in order to serve have more funds or opportunities to seek things that do not serve your primary vocation, that confuse your purpose.  Say the priest canceled Mass in order to have Bingo?  Or perhaps the parish decided that Mass would be held only once on Sundays and that the majority of parish functions would be focusing on other parish ministries.


Maybe to some that might look good, but to do such for a Catholic would mean demeaning the value of Mass, and for a married couple would mean demeaning the value of the marital embrace.


As such, the Catholic Church doesn't tell you how many children to have, but the Church does encourage larger families. 


NFP models are not reliant on the calendar, so irregular cycles are not the primary cause of mischarting your fertility.  But again the key to using NFP prudently within the Catholic faith is not only to keep the individual act open to life, but not rejecting unexpected life that might result from it.  Ultimately you're being prudent by using NFP, while still giving God the final say.

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8 years ago  ::  Jul 17, 2009 - 7:02PM #5
cove52
Posts: 999

Jul 8, 2009 -- 1:10AM, KetchupRelish wrote:


If a Catholic does not want children, ever, does that mean they cannot get married ever?  Does a Catholic marriage have to produce children (or be open to children) if both spouses are fertile?


I know that NFP is an option for people who don't want children (or want to space out their children), and I read that it is 98-99% effective.  However, women's menstrual cycles can fluctuate for various reasons (stress, hanging out with other women a lot...).  So there is still a chance a couple could mis-time their physical intimacy, and actually conceive a child during a period they THOUGHT the wife was infertile.


I also heard that if someone doesn't feel called to children, probably God isn't calling them to marriage.  Really?  So if two Catholics who don't want children fall in love, they can't get married (or they have to wait until the woman reaches menopause) because they won't have a valid marriage unless they want at least one kid?


I understand that children are the incarnation of the love between a man and woman (assuming these two people really loved each other when they had sex...).   But does that mean two people who love each other but don't feel called to parenthood can never have sex, can never have a valid marriage?




NFP is not supposed to be "used" for the prevention of pregnancy.  I know it is confusing but this is one of those curve balls the big hats like to throw.  All I can say is follow your conscience.  If you and your partner are not suited for children best not to have any.  Children have a right to be wanted.  This world is full of too many unwanted children. It is not unusual for childess couples to have happy and productive marriages.  Also, Childless couples may have more time to dedicate to charities and missionary work that supports children.  Your marriage as a vocation could be focused in other areas and you would still be a good Catholic christian. I personally can't understand how celibate men can decide that sex is only for creating children.  Sex is important to a healthy and loving relationship between a husband and wife.  It is normal to want to express ones love without the desire to have a child. A concept that has not reached the guys at the top I guess.

"I yam what I yam and I yam what I yam that I yam / And I got a lotta muscle and I only gots one eye / And I'll never hurt nobodys and I'll never tell a lie / Top to me bottom and me bottom to me top / That's the way it is 'til the day that I drop, what am I? / I yam what I yam."
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8 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 4:55PM #6
angpuppy
Posts: 520

Jul 17, 2009 -- 7:02PM, cove52 wrote:


Jul 8, 2009 -- 1:10AM, KetchupRelish wrote:


If a Catholic does not want children, ever, does that mean they cannot get married ever?  Does a Catholic marriage have to produce children (or be open to children) if both spouses are fertile?


I know that NFP is an option for people who don't want children (or want to space out their children), and I read that it is 98-99% effective.  However, women's menstrual cycles can fluctuate for various reasons (stress, hanging out with other women a lot...).  So there is still a chance a couple could mis-time their physical intimacy, and actually conceive a child during a period they THOUGHT the wife was infertile.


I also heard that if someone doesn't feel called to children, probably God isn't calling them to marriage.  Really?  So if two Catholics who don't want children fall in love, they can't get married (or they have to wait until the woman reaches menopause) because they won't have a valid marriage unless they want at least one kid?


I understand that children are the incarnation of the love between a man and woman (assuming these two people really loved each other when they had sex...).   But does that mean two people who love each other but don't feel called to parenthood can never have sex, can never have a valid marriage?




NFP is not supposed to be "used" for the prevention of pregnancy.  I know it is confusing but this is one of those curve balls the big hats like to throw.  All I can say is follow your conscience.  If you and your partner are not suited for children best not to have any.  Children have a right to be wanted.  This world is full of too many unwanted children. It is not unusual for childess couples to have happy and productive marriages.  Also, Childless couples may have more time to dedicate to charities and missionary work that supports children.  Your marriage as a vocation could be focused in other areas and you would still be a good Catholic christian. I personally can't understand how celibate men can decide that sex is only for creating children.  Sex is important to a healthy and loving relationship between a husband and wife.  It is normal to want to express ones love without the desire to have a child. A concept that has not reached the guys at the top I guess.




You don't have to WANT a child.  You're talking about the sad thing that there are unwanted children.  But if you want to look at the heart of this, what you're saying is that it is a sad thing not that the children are unwanted, but that these children we don't want exist.  This attitude toward any group of people or person is against Catholic principles.   The sad thing is not that the children exist but that the people are selfish enough to only love children they covet (of which two of the ten commandments condemn).  


I think of the psalm:  "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."  Our hearts must rest in God in humble submission and trust. 


This is not at all about celebate men not getting it.  Definitely it is easier when you have no chance of getting pregnant to insist on moral princples that don't apply to your circumstance in life, but that just makes them more objective. 


Which I should add, currently in the questionaire to determine if you are eligible to be married, there are questions related to your willingness to have uncontracepted sex and to be open to children.  Part of matrimonial consent is to be open to having children.  You are in fact not validly married even if you have a wedding if you are closed to having children.

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8 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 6:54PM #7
WaveringCC
Posts: 5,164

Jul 20, 2009 -- 4:55PM, angpuppy wrote:


Jul 17, 2009 -- 7:02PM, cove52 wrote:


Jul 8, 2009 -- 1:10AM, KetchupRelish wrote:


If a Catholic does not want children, ever, does that mean they cannot get married ever?  Does a Catholic marriage have to produce children (or be open to children) if both spouses are fertile?


I know that NFP is an option for people who don't want children (or want to space out their children), and I read that it is 98-99% effective.  However, women's menstrual cycles can fluctuate for various reasons (stress, hanging out with other women a lot...).  So there is still a chance a couple could mis-time their physical intimacy, and actually conceive a child during a period they THOUGHT the wife was infertile.


I also heard that if someone doesn't feel called to children, probably God isn't calling them to marriage.  Really?  So if two Catholics who don't want children fall in love, they can't get married (or they have to wait until the woman reaches menopause) because they won't have a valid marriage unless they want at least one kid?


I understand that children are the incarnation of the love between a man and woman (assuming these two people really loved each other when they had sex...).   But does that mean two people who love each other but don't feel called to parenthood can never have sex, can never have a valid marriage?




NFP is not supposed to be "used" for the prevention of pregnancy.  I know it is confusing but this is one of those curve balls the big hats like to throw.  All I can say is follow your conscience.  If you and your partner are not suited for children best not to have any.  Children have a right to be wanted.  This world is full of too many unwanted children. It is not unusual for childess couples to have happy and productive marriages.  Also, Childless couples may have more time to dedicate to charities and missionary work that supports children.  Your marriage as a vocation could be focused in other areas and you would still be a good Catholic christian. I personally can't understand how celibate men can decide that sex is only for creating children.  Sex is important to a healthy and loving relationship between a husband and wife.  It is normal to want to express ones love without the desire to have a child. A concept that has not reached the guys at the top I guess.




You don't have to WANT a child.  You're talking about the sad thing that there are unwanted children.  But if you want to look at the heart of this, what you're saying is that it is a sad thing not that the children are unwanted, but that these children we don't want exist.  This attitude toward any group of people or person is against Catholic principles.   The sad thing is not that the children exist but that the people are selfish enough to only love children they covet (of which two of the ten commandments condemn).  


I think of the psalm:  "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."  Our hearts must rest in God in humble submission and trust. 


This is not at all about celebate men not getting it.  Definitely it is easier when you have no chance of getting pregnant to insist on moral princples that don't apply to your circumstance in life, but that just makes them more objective. 


Which I should add, currently in the questionaire to determine if you are eligible to be married, there are questions related to your willingness to have uncontracepted sex and to be open to children.  Part of matrimonial consent is to be open to having children.  You are in fact not validly married even if you have a wedding if you are closed to having children.




It's such a sad teaching. It demeans marriage, reducing it to a contract and business meant primarily to procreate the human race. 


And Cove is right - nobody can tell others that they have to have children if they wish to marry.


Nobody can tell others that their marriage is not valid if they choose not to have children. Nobody has the right to judge a couples' marriage as less than sacred and holy because they are not of the right temperament to do a good job raising children.  Marriage is, all by itself, a sacrament. Those who have the gift for parenthood should pursue it.  Those who don't, should not.  They have other gifts that they can generously share with others who need them.


Having children because of outside pressures - from family, society, or church - is an immoral decision.   Those who have children because the church told them to should think twice about their true reasons for having children.  People who aren't adults should not have children. And those whose decision to have children is formed by others - whether family or the church - are not fully adult.


Cove is right - the poster MUST follow her own conscience on this crucial decision.

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8 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 10:10PM #8
cove52
Posts: 999

Jul 20, 2009 -- 4:55PM, angpuppy wrote:


Jul 17, 2009 -- 7:02PM, cove52 wrote:


Jul 8, 2009 -- 1:10AM, KetchupRelish wrote:


If a Catholic does not want children, ever, does that mean they cannot get married ever?  Does a Catholic marriage have to produce children (or be open to children) if both spouses are fertile?


I know that NFP is an option for people who don't want children (or want to space out their children), and I read that it is 98-99% effective.  However, women's menstrual cycles can fluctuate for various reasons (stress, hanging out with other women a lot...).  So there is still a chance a couple could mis-time their physical intimacy, and actually conceive a child during a period they THOUGHT the wife was infertile.


I also heard that if someone doesn't feel called to children, probably God isn't calling them to marriage.  Really?  So if two Catholics who don't want children fall in love, they can't get married (or they have to wait until the woman reaches menopause) because they won't have a valid marriage unless they want at least one kid?


I understand that children are the incarnation of the love between a man and woman (assuming these two people really loved each other when they had sex...).   But does that mean two people who love each other but don't feel called to parenthood can never have sex, can never have a valid marriage?




NFP is not supposed to be "used" for the prevention of pregnancy.  I know it is confusing but this is one of those curve balls the big hats like to throw.  All I can say is follow your conscience.  If you and your partner are not suited for children best not to have any.  Children have a right to be wanted.  This world is full of too many unwanted children. It is not unusual for childess couples to have happy and productive marriages.  Also, Childless couples may have more time to dedicate to charities and missionary work that supports children.  Your marriage as a vocation could be focused in other areas and you would still be a good Catholic christian. I personally can't understand how celibate men can decide that sex is only for creating children.  Sex is important to a healthy and loving relationship between a husband and wife.  It is normal to want to express ones love without the desire to have a child. A concept that has not reached the guys at the top I guess.




You don't have to WANT a child.  You're talking about the sad thing that there are unwanted children.  But if you want to look at the heart of this, what you're saying is that it is a sad thing not that the children are unwanted, but that these children we don't want exist.  This attitude toward any group of people or person is against Catholic principles.   The sad thing is not that the children exist but that the people are selfish enough to only love children they covet (of which two of the ten commandments condemn).  


I think of the psalm:  "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."  Our hearts must rest in God in humble submission and trust. 


This is not at all about celebate men not getting it.  Definitely it is easier when you have no chance of getting pregnant to insist on moral princples that don't apply to your circumstance in life, but that just makes them more objective. 


Which I should add, currently in the questionaire to determine if you are eligible to be married, there are questions related to your willingness to have uncontracepted sex and to be open to children.  Part of matrimonial consent is to be open to having children.  You are in fact not validly married even if you have a wedding if you are closed to having children.




I think one should start by wanting children in their lives if they are going to have them.  You have twisted my words, I am not sad that unwanted children exist. I am sad for their circumstances and for what lays ahead for them.  They have a right to wanted just as much as they have a right to be alive.


I wanted to have children as far back as I can remember.  Long before I even knew about the birds and the bees.  So when I went through with my sacramental promises it was basically a no brainer.  After 25 years of marriage and raising 4 children I have no doubt I am validly married in the eyes of the Church.  My life experiences have made me a wiser individual.  If one is going to talk the talk they better be willing to walk the walk.  Most of the hierarchy are a bunch of very spoiled men who have not a clue.  I do not believe they are more objective than a married couple that have had several children and who are making a decision to contracept. Or, a couple who have decided for whatever reason to not have children.  I once was  reading a q & a at a popular Catholic web-site.  Some desperate sounding woman was asking, because she had 7 children and was experiencing health issues and other problems, if at all possible for her to use abc.  It made me sick to read the uncompassionate response from a so called Catholic expert.    


I know a man whose wife had a very difficult pregnancy after having 4 children.  When asked if he was "open to life" he responded "yes, my wife's".  Then promptly made an appt. for a vasectomy.


God helps those who help themselves.  Does totally submiting and trusting in the Lord mean one should not seek medical intervention for illness or to maintain a healthful life??? God speaks to our needs and guides us individually.   


ang, imo, modern birth control is the answer to prayers that have been sent up to heaven for ages.


I always thought it a little weird that the Church dictates a married couples sexual behavior. 


 

"I yam what I yam and I yam what I yam that I yam / And I got a lotta muscle and I only gots one eye / And I'll never hurt nobodys and I'll never tell a lie / Top to me bottom and me bottom to me top / That's the way it is 'til the day that I drop, what am I? / I yam what I yam."
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8 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 11:33PM #9
Roodog
Posts: 10,168

I had known people who just could not handle the idea of having children. What ever the reason was, they just couldn't deal with it. Yet these people are  happily married.


In the Anglican Church,  this was grounds for annulment along with mental incompetence. This was the position told to me by a strict breakaway sect from TEC back in the 1970s. I do not know what canon law in the RCC has to say about this. You will need to inform me on this.


I have been married for almost 15 years and my wife and I have no kids. It was not our intention but it's how it worked out for us. 

For those who have faith, no explanation is neccessary.
For those who have no faith, no explanation is possible.

St. Thomas Aquinas

If one turns his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
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8 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2009 - 7:58AM #10
angpuppy
Posts: 520

Needing to limit the size of your family for the grave reasons of health is a legimate reason to use NFP very strictly.  The Church does not condemn couples for having such cercumstances.  My understanding is that you cannot validly marry if you are hostile to the idea of having children.  It is certainly not an invalid marriage if a couple marries knowing beforehand that they suffer with infertility.  Though it is an invalid marriage if they are impotent by the Church's definition of impotence -- that they could not engage in normal sexual relations.


The basic issue is with the attitude toward children in general and whether you look hostilly to the natural fertile nature of human sexuality.  Are you seeking to treat this aspect of sexuality with hostility?  Do you look down on the creative good of this aspect of sexuality? Do you reject it and and allow lust to control your marital relations.  Contraceptives aren't about saving people's lives or having a prudent family size.  They are primarly about working against your fertility to be able to have more days to indulge in obedience to lust, thus putting the desire for sex over the good and dignity of the human person who is a unity of body and soul, not merely a soul within a body.


I know a couple in my family who have had health issues and used such issues to rationalize a visectomy.  I advised them not to do it, and was told that NFP simply didn't work for them and they had no choice.  I adviced them if that was the case, than considering we are in agreement that contraceptives are not morally neutral, than total abstainence for the rest of the length of her fertility was still an option and seemed to me to be the most loving selfless option.


Years later, in a conversation with the man, he admitted to me that he agreed with me, that if that truly were the case, the most loving thing to do in respect to the nature of human sexuality and the dignity of the human person would be total abstainence.  And he admitted to me that at the time of our original conversation when he was talking about NFP not working, he was talking about his desire to not even want to give it up on fertile days.  He said that strict NFP would have worked, but he was rationalizing it because he didn't want to make the sacrifice.  He also expressed sadness that his wife was fine with strict NFP, it was really him that wasn't, further revealing that the vesectomy was out of selfishness and that he had degraded the value of his wife.


I think what should also be considered is that in my experience, priests who are big on the Church's teaching regarding family planning tend to come from large families who used NFP and held such values.   They're not isolated from it.

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