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Melva wrote:

Hi guys,

My husband and I are expecting a child together. We are Catholic, but have not been actively practicing the faith. We are in the process of having our marriage convalidated. We have very recently joined a parish, but don't know all the guidelines. I have a child from a previous marriage, and he has two children from a previous relationship. With this pregnancy, that makes four and we are in agreement that this family is at capacity to fit our budget and household.

Before we started the convalidation process, there was no doubt in our minds that I would undergo a tubal ligation, as I am scheduled for a cesarean section and since I will already be in the operating room, I thought it would it would be the right time for this procedure.

I also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) [a health problem that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle, ability to have children, hormones, heart, blood vessels, and appearance].

Because my cycles are not predictable and sometimes non-existent, I don't feel that (NFP) Natural Family Planning would work, since I am not regular.

  • Is it totally unacceptable to have a tubal ligation?

Thank You for your time.

Melva

  { Given my health problems and the number of children we have, is a tubal ligation still wrong? }

John replied:

Melva,

Thanks for your question, congratulations on your pregnancy, and welcome back to the Church.

The issue here is not so much any particular form of artificial contraception, but the contraceptive mentality stemming from your approach to your personal circumstance. The Church allows the use of Natural Family Planning, so that a couple may space their children. In that process, the couple remains open to God's will. What you seem to be telling us is that you categorically are unwilling to let God be sovereign in you marriage and in the creation of lives. Therein lies the problem.

Tubal ligation, like all forms of artificial contraception, are considered gravely sinful.

Regarding your cycles, the Church has no objection to the use of the pill to regulate them, so long as that is the intention of their use. In other words, the pill is not being used to contracept, but for other medical purposes. The contraceptive side affect is not intended.

However in your case, you've made it abundantly clear that you and your husband don't want more children and are considering surgery to prevent pregnancy, hence, this can't be seen as a loophole through which you can justify a contraceptive mentality.

My answer is not intended to be cruel, judgmental, or a condemnation. I'm simply stating the objective truth taught by Holy Mother Church.

I'm sure your circumstances seem overwhelming. You are already blessed with children and it is easy to understand why you might think you've reached your limit. I would advise you both to pray for the faith only God can give you so that you might trust Him to be sovereign in your marriage.

God always answers those kinds of prayers, as He always takes care of His children.

John DiMascio

Mary Ann replied:

Dear Melva,

Congratulations on having your marriage convalidated, and congratulations on your new child!

I gather that you have found out from this process one truth:

That sterilization is an intrinsic moral evil, the evil of self-mutilation,
the destruction of a healthy function.

No, you may not have a tubal ligation, nor may your husband have a vasectomy. Aside from the moral wrong, there are spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical bad effects from both these procedures. PCOS can be treated and there is a new natural way to do so. Even though the tubal ligation would result in the cessation of your PCOS, we may not do evil to achieve a good end. There is a method of (NFP) Natural Family Planning that would work. Indeed, all of them should work because none of them are dependent on regular cycles.

I would suggest you visit these sites:

You will find information and inspiration on all of them. You can also get a referral to a doctor who practices NaProTechnology and can teach the Creighton method of natural family planning.
You may find your health becomes better than ever.

God luck and God's blessing.

— Mary Ann

Bob replied:

Dear Friend,

While your situation is a difficult one, the answer is not tubal ligation. The Church never condones deliberate mutilation for the sake of obstructing fertility. This may not be what you want to hear, but it is the truth.

Speaking from my own experience, I can attest to the fact that sometimes doing the right thing is difficult and requires courage and sacrifice. My wife and I could not conceive children naturally, and the only options available to us (by medical science) are unacceptable by moral standards that we hold as Catholics who want to remain faithful to our Church's teachings.

Then God stepped in . . .

We foster parented and then adopted an older child, who is now 15. It is clear in my mind, now, that this sacrifice brought us to a quite wonderful but unexpected place. I don't know if we would have adopted if the natural and medical options were closed to us, but God certainly knew, and He has blessed us within our less than perfect circumstances.

So, don't ask Why, but What.

  • What is God calling you to?

He has something great in store for you; no sacrifice will go unnoticed by our Heavenly Father.

I'll pray that you have the courage and strength to do the best and right thing.

God bless,

Bob Kirby

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