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Barry Green wrote:

Hi, guys —

I believe contraception is wrong and have attempted to practiced Natural Family Planning (NFP) my whole life. I am 40 now and have four children. During those 40 years I have masturbated and used a condoms during safe periods and I know this will continue since it is a hard habit to break.

I am a very weak person and give in to the temptation of the flesh during the unsafe periods. Since we are practicing contraception and NFP, the chance of pregnancy is small.

I would be getting a sterilization to reduce sin in my life. I would rather confess one sin then many sins. The obvious objection to this is,

How do I know I won't be sinning as much after sterilization?

I don't know, but after twenty years of sinning during unsafe periods, I am positive about this route and know, plain and simple, that sterilization will greatly reduce sin in my life.

That is how I feel.

  • However, is sex after sterilization a sin?

I don't think so but have never read anything on this issue.
Thank you for you time.

Barry

  { Is getting sterilized to stop my masturbation habit a sin and is sex after sterilization a sin? }

Paul replied:

Dear Barry,

Sterilization is mutilation of the body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, and hence a matter of mortal sin. It also intentionally closes one off to life, which is indicative of someone closing themselves off from God. Sterilization, for contraceptive purposes, can never be done under any circumstances.

You may be weak in the flesh (as most people are), but this is No excuse to give up and resign yourself to a life of mortal sin. Such a resignation:

  • insults God
  • what He has done for each of us on the Cross, and
  • the grace He offers us in the sacraments.

I firmly resolve . . . is what the Act of Contrition prayer says. With the help of His grace that resolution is what it means to be a Christian. Mother Teresa once said,

Christ doesn't call me to be successful, He calls me to be faithful.

Part of that faithfulness is believing His promise that he will provide the grace for you to eventually overcome your sins and to be made whole, if you persevere with Him.

Masturbation, contraception, and sterilization are all grave evils and matters of mortal sin.

How guilty one is depends on the knowledge and freedom one has at the time; but to give up and resign the fight is to reject:

  • God
  • His Son
  • His Church, and
  • His grace.

Morally speaking, you cannot do one in order to avoid the others. That is objectively evil. My advice is to not go through with the sterilization and to get on your knees and beg God to enlighten you as to how best you can:

  • cooperate with His grace, and
  • walk with Him through these serious struggles.

God loves our resolution, honest effort, and perseverance to try to please Him and overcome our brokenness due to sin.

Peace,

Paul

Barry replied:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the prompt response.

I am very familiar with the Catholic argument about morality concerning contraception. I have been practicing NFP for twenty years.

  • The question I posed was is sex after contraception a sin?

I know a Catholic friend who got a vasectomy, went to Confession, and continued his sex life as normal. This is similar to what I do when I practice contraception during unsafe periods. I go to Confession and try again.

  • Again, is sex after a vasectomy (or sterilization) a sin?

I don't believe this was addressed in your response.

Thanks,

Barry

Paul replied:

Hi Barry,

Here is how I would respond:

If you are asking this specific question so that if the answer is No — that sex isn't wrong after a vasectomy — then you would have this mutilation done to you, I could not answer your question.

I would be placing my salvation at risk for assisting you with putting yours at risk. One can never consent to a grave evil (vasectomy) regardless of the potential consequences.

If, however, the question comes from one who has deeply repented of his vasectomy he had earlier in life but cannot reverse it, then my answer would be this:

There is a consensus among Catholic theologians and couples that, in such a case, it would be right to continue to practice the periodic continence of Natural Family Planning. This practice could be seen to be both justice and penance for the one repentant of his sin.

Again though, one can never consent to the sin of sterilization in order to avoid the sin of contraception. Sterilization is continuous contraception.

Peace,

Paul

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