Can I take communion if I use contraception?

(58 Posts)
mollysmum82 Fri 18-Jan-13 20:29:08

I've recently done the RCIA and found it wonderful, but I still have so many questions!

I had a look on a Catholic Answers forum after a few months of attending mass, to try and get some answers to my questions. I was really saddened when someone said I was committing a mortal sin by using contraception and I must not take communion, or I would be "desecrating the host". They said there was no point in saying confession if I continued to use contraception, as I clearly wasn't sorry. There's a lot of reasons that we don't want any more children at the moment, the main one being I had such severe pnd I was suicidal, and just don't want to put my family through that again sad How do other catholics reconcile this? Thanks so much for any advice.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 19-Jan-13 21:31:03

Um. Plenty of things invented that I'm pretty sure God takes a dim view of...

tuffie Sat 19-Jan-13 21:56:50

I am Catholic and use contraceptives along with all my other Catholic friends. Moreover, our wonderful priest was telling us over supper the other day that when he was a missionary in Africa he, along with the other priests out there, spent a lot of time trying to persuade the men to use contraceptives to stop the spread of Aids. Not what you would expect from the Catholic Church representatives, but I was delighted to hear it!
So mollysmum, please feel no guilt.

Annunziata Italy Sat 19-Jan-13 22:05:50

It's not the best argument admittedly grin

sweetkitty Sat 19-Jan-13 22:24:28

One of my best friends is a committed catholic and uses natural family planning, there's only one week a month she's "allowed" to have sex. Surely she and her husband are preventing children albeit a "natural" method just the same as someone who uses a condom or takes the pill?

Why is one method deemed ok but another not? The NFP method is based on our understanding of the female menstrual cycle which we didn't know 50-100 years ago just as we didn't have the scientific know how to artificially prevent pregnancy.

I just don't get it. And with the way the planet is going population wise surely it is unacceptable to be having more children you can feed.

Startail Sun 20-Jan-13 15:25:10

I'm an "Experiment in the safe period method of contraception"!

milkandribena Sun 20-Jan-13 21:53:28

Personally
Not a sin don't feel guilty.
I'm RC but disagree with the church on a lot (I prefer to nod when the nice men high up tell me stuff and then go and do the opposite to what they have said.)

I know plenty of RC who take contraception and don't see it as a sin. I don't.

Taking precautions is about looking after yourself and those you love. If we are told that are bodies are sacred and should be honoured then we should take steps to uphold that and if that means contraception then it means contraception.
God has bigger things to deal with than people taking contraception and if he cares that much he is pretty petty and needs to take a good hard look at himself.

bamboostalks Sun 20-Jan-13 22:37:02

I strongly believe that God has created us to use contraception as our monthly cycle dictates our fertile and non fertile periods. Otherwise we could be fertile all the time. So using artificial means is simply an advance on this like all the other advances we take advantage of.
Having said that, I wouldn't be comfortable with all methods of contraception, the coil is an abortifacient so I wouldn't use that.

ninah Sun 20-Jan-13 22:59:36

Do people think, though, that growing up as a Catholic means that you are able to decide about this matter as you get older, whereas if you convert as an adult you are obliged to do so in full knowledge and therefore acceptance of the Church's teaching on contraception and homosexuality? There's a great deal about RC that calls to me, but I can't get over some of these issues.

Tommy Sun 20-Jan-13 23:07:55

good point ninah.

ninah Sun 20-Jan-13 23:11:33

I've thought about it a lot. I would like to convert but these are massive stumbling blocks for me, personally.

Tommy Sun 20-Jan-13 23:12:55

and maybe not even deciding as you get older - it's just that Catholicism has been a part of your whole life that you sort of "know" what's important and what isn't.

if that makes sense?

ninah I was going to say the same. I have a couple of friends that have converted and they are more likely to adhere rigorously to teaching on contraception, for example, than I do as a Catholic from birth.

Mitchy1nge Sun 20-Jan-13 23:23:57

this is why we have to examine our own conscience isn't it, and follow that even if it conflicts with everything else

thewhistler Sun 20-Jan-13 23:25:45

Op, there is a very wise and funny and moving novel by David Lodge called How far can you go, on exactly this subject in the 60s. I recommend it.

But more seriously, most PPs and nuns that I know, and whatever the Catholic marriage advisory service is now called, who are great people, say is as follows,

That if it would cause your marriage to fail, or you to become seriously ill, and obviously the latter is the case, then contraception is ok. And of course go on having sex..

As the person above said, if God wants you to have another baby, s/he will over rule the contraceptives.

You might have to choose the PP though. If aged, alcoholic, from a tradition where mothers are kept in the kitchen or childbed, you might be advised to avoid and choose another.

HTH.

Tommy Sun 20-Jan-13 23:26:08

converts are usually more zealous though aren't they? Just look at St Paul grin

Zavi Sun 20-Jan-13 23:27:57

What about non-barrier methods of contraception such as the rhythm method (temp taking/safe period)? You might feel more comfortable with that?

Not ideal I know but at least your conscience would leave you alone.

At the end of the day you've got to be able to square whatever you do with your own conscience. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

It's what you think of what you do that counts.

Tommy Sun 20-Jan-13 23:29:40

agree that a lot of this depends on the priest. We have 2 priests in our parish. The older, very senior one would be very laid back about all this sort of thing but the young, just ordained one, is so right wing and trad it's unbelievable hmm (and he is the only priest I have ever heard preach on contraception hmm)

My contraceptive choices will not be discussed with my parish priest as he is somewhere to the right of Torquemada. grin

milkandribena Sun 20-Jan-13 23:48:19

I think you may be right ninah about if you are born into it you are maybe more likely to be willing not be so firm (if that is the right word)
I can't imagine there are a lot of gay people converting but there are a number of gay catholics who have been born RC (I know a number DBro included)

why would you talk about contraception with your priest? politics, northern ireland, the need for socialism, football yes but not sex.

ninah Mon 21-Jan-13 00:08:25

local priest scares the daylights out of me, even a football chat would be chancing it. The irony is that I have no personal dilemma. It's more on behalf of gay friends/women friends, and on principle, that I find the difficulty.

MurkyMinotaur Mon 21-Jan-13 00:51:30

I'm a Christian who attends an 'evangelical free church'. As others have said, the bible makes no rules against contraception.

The bible is clear that sex is for marriage and within marriage sex is celebrated in the bible! Check out Song of Songs (also called Song of Solomon) in the bible. It's one long poetic celebration of intimacy in marriage. Within marriage, sex is not a dirty pleasure - it is a God-given pleasure that unites a couple. Whilst there is nothing wrong with using natural methods of contraception, there is no reason for Christians to feel any guilt for using contraception.

Whether you take communion is between you and God. It's wise to consider other people's opinions, but you can decide whether you are approaching God with faith in Jesus, through God's grace.

There can be times when it's right for a church leader to have a word with a Christian who is acting contrary to clear biblical rules. Sometimes it's even right for a person to step back from responsibilities until they have got things back right. (e.g. You wouldn't want someone teaching, who wasn't following the teaching themselves). At those times, a church leader needs to be wise and avoid implying that any person needs to shape up in order to approach Jesus. The bible says (in summary) that Jesus is for sinners, like doctors are for sick people. So, whilst there are some legitimate biblical rules for churches to follow, be wary of anyone who implies you are less worthy of approaching Jesus because of your sin. No one is worthy. It's all about God's grace and that happened through Jesus.

crescentmoon England Mon 21-Jan-13 08:23:06

"even if you DO use contraception, if God wills you to have a baby, you will have one. Think we can all agree on that." grin

on the topic of another dc DH fervently says "Inshaallah" (God Willing!)
on the topic of another dc I fervently say "Aoothoobillah" (God protect me!)

mollysmum82 Mon 21-Jan-13 14:27:59

Oh my goodness I'm overwhelmed by your kind replies, thank you ever so much! What a lovely bunch of ladies, with a lot of common sense!

Housemum Sun 27-Jan-13 21:41:45

Some of those websites can be rather over-zealous - I read a link on another thread about people who are not in full communion with the Church not being allowed to receive a blessing, something which is actively encouraged in the church I go to. Personally I think that barrier methods are stopping conception so in my own mind I think it's OK, but I would not take the morning after pill as that could (with bionic fast sperm) cause a potential embryo to be aborted. I have a Mirena coil which has stopped my periods so I feel no guilt, whether I should or not. Just don't want another child in my mid forties. Roll on 5 years or so when I will be menopausal and guilt-free, but a seething mass of overheated hormones instead.

Abra1d Tue 29-Jan-13 15:01:09

Is CatholicAnswers a US Catholic forum? Because some US Catholics take things literally re. contraception than Western Europeans do.

I have never heard a homily from our PP about contraception. Ever. I have never discussed it in the confessional, either. It has never been suggested to me that I should not take communion because I use contraception.

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