Is it a sin for both wife and husband if contraception is used?

Full Question

Is it a sin for both wife and husband if contraception is used?


Contraception normally implies a consensual act, which means both spouses would be morally implicated. However, if one spouse sexually forces himself on the other and uses contraception in the process, the forced-upon spouse would not sin. If one spouse is coerced into contracepting, then the person who is coerced could likely have mitigating circumstances regarding his participation, and thus his subjective culpability could be diminished.

In 1997, the Pontifical Council for the Family issued a vademecum—Latin for “to accompany me”—on contraception that provides theological and pastoral guidelines for confessors to serve married couples struggling with the Church’s teaching on contraception. I discuss that matter—and possible related mitigating circumstances in some cases—in a larger article on “Serving the Divorced and Remarried Well.” And I provide a link to the vademecum as well.

God inscribed in the marital act a bond between the unitive (love-giving) and procreative (life-giving) aspects. Deliberately thwarting this bond via contraception is immoral, because it undermines the sexual expression of marital love by a husband and wife, an expression of love which by its nature is open to the blessed fruit of new life (see further CCC 2368-70, 2366-72).

By Tom Nash


1 comment

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    Too funny. So if a man puts on a condom and forces himself on his wife, the wife is not guilty of using contraception, nor is the man guilty of rape since his wife is required to submit to him. If the woman uses contraception, how on earth does she “force herself” on her husband? Get him drunk like Lot’s daughters did?
    This is such a disastrous policy. How many millions of children have starved to death or died of diseases because their mothers, denied contraception under threat of eternal torment, were unable to care for them? How many of those kids died before being baptized and went to Hell? How many abortions take place in which the soul is sent to Hell for lack of baptism, when contraception could have avoided sending that soul to Hell? The Catholic Church is probably responsible for sending more souls to Hell than any other organization due to its policy on contraception. The catechism says those aborted souls cannot be saved without baptism.
    The idea that the bible condemns a technology (contraception) that none of the prophets ever predicted (no prophet ever knows any more about technology than that which is available at the time they are living), is ludicrous. This all has to do with the maniacal obsession with sex that is the Catholic Church. A bunch of unnatural, disordered, celibate virgins (well in some cases maybe not so celibate when it comes to child rape), telling the rest of us what we can and cannot do in our bedrooms – the idea is simply insane and an affront to humanity.
    Catholics don’t show up in church with 12 kids anymore, so it’s clear that Catholics in very large numbers are using contraception and therefore going to Hell. If you’re going to go to Hell anyway, why waste what little time we have listening to some priest blather on in mass? You’re going to Hell anyway, so get out and have some fun first.
    Ask your priest which Hell you will be going to. The Church translated four very different words to the pagan word Hell (Hel), a word of German origin. Those words are Sheol, Gehenna, Hades and Tartarus. Look them up and figure out which of those Hell’s you will be going to! I’m holding out for Sheol. Our condition was much better before Jesus came and decided that instead of being destroyed if we failed to believe say and do what the robed, celibate virgin clergy insist upon, we would instead be tortured for millions an billions and trillions of endless years, though we live here but a handful of decades. What could possibly be more evil?

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