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Deborah Thomn wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a Catholic and have been married to a non-Catholic for 20 years. We used birth control in the beginning of our marriage, stopped for many years, and did not have a baby until we were 41.

Our son is baptized Catholic, and attends Catholic school, however my husband refuses to use NFP. He states that it is not his belief.

  • Am I in mortal sin if we use condoms?

We received dispensation for our marriage through my priest and the bishop.

Deborah

  { If my non-Catholic husband refuses to use NFP, is it a mortal sin if we use condoms? }

Mike replied:

Hi Deborah,

Thanks for the question.

First I would like to applaud that you stopped using birth control after many years. The harm birth control does to women does not get publicized as much as it should.

Any issues dealing with the conjugal love and embrace between you and your spouse within your marriage are irrelevant to the validity of your marriage. The Catechism tells us:

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. 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:

Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle. . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.

Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, 51 § 3.

So yes, it would be a mortal sin to use condoms. Privately, I would have some Masses said for your husband; stipends usually are only $5 to $15.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Eric replied:

Hi Deborah,

Yes, for your husband to use condoms would be a matter of mortal sin for him.

If your husband refuses to listen to your pleas, and insists on using condoms, it is OK to have intercourse so long as you:

  • state your opposition
  • do not condone or participate in his usage, and
  • regularly work to wean him off of them.

You make your best effort to express your objection, but in the end, if he uses them, that's his responsibility.

Eric

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