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.

Tortington Mon 04-Feb-13 00:50:03

my priest once asked - whilst i was in confession, if i was using contraception. i had not long had a baby and i said "father, if i didn't take contraception, i would take my own life, as i can't have another baby"

he was old school priest - a canon actually, and he was fine with that.

MareeyaDolores Mon 04-Feb-13 00:43:00

posting too soon blush)

Btw, I am RC, and a fairly traditional one.

MareeyaDolores Mon 04-Feb-13 00:36:51

Online lists of 'the right' Catholic Answers lifted directly from the catechism are not a substitute for talking to your priest.

Dumping a conversion you are otherwise comfortable with on the basis of one rule you can't live up to at the moment, seems mistaken to me. Denying the Church's teachings altogether would be a reason not to convert, but not being unable to follow them... well, if we could all do that unaided then there's no need of any Church at all grin.

Talk to your priest, about your well-founded fear of severe PND recurrence, which is a major mitigating circumstance. And forbidding yourself from participating in the Eucharist because 'computer says no' definitely is a sin (pride, scrupulosity, giving scandal to non-Catholics,

I'm CofE but my opinion for what it's worth - God is a loving Father. As a loving Father He wants you to have a family with all the love and joy that brings. But as a loving Father He doesn't want you to be suicidally depressed - imagine His pain at seeing one of his children going through that kind of pain. God loves you, if you take care of yourself you are doing as God wants - He doesn't want you to suffer, He wants you to be able to enjoy this beautiful world He created for us, and to be happy in your marriage and in your life. He didn't put you here to suffer, He wants to see us all free and joyful, taking care of ourselves and each other - and anyone who thinks differently is praying to a different God than I am.

So to sum up - in my (not very expert, but heartfelt) opinion take communion, and save your repentance for actual sins.

Gingerdodger Thu 31-Jan-13 16:39:55

In my opinion it is a matter for you and your conscience. Like many Catholics I don't agree with the official line on some issues but I have always taken the view that as long as I can say the creed and believe in that the rest is for me and own conscience to work through. This includes the use of contraception and I know that many other Catholics take the same stance.

sieglinde Thu 31-Jan-13 13:40:32

Hi, yet another RC here to say that if you are taking the pill for an illness you are not committing any kind of sin.

The Holy Father confirmed this quite recently in terms of condoms and AIDS prevention. So it should be utterly uncontroversial.

ethelb Wed 30-Jan-13 19:16:27

I'm catholic. My family is catholic. We use contraception like there is no tomorrow and take communion.

Yes I may be a massive hypocrite but I am happy and comfortable with my choice.

sarahtigh Tue 29-Jan-13 20:40:45

I do not really have an issue with contraception from that point of view but some Christians would distinguish between methods those which stop sperm and egg meeting so there is no chance of an embryo forming ( barrier methods) and those which allow embryos to form but prevent implantation ( the coil , morning after pill etc) and those which rely on reasonable guesses as to when fertile or not but accepting it lowers risk of pregnancy not abolishes it.

Some Christians would not be happy about contraception which gets rids of embryo by preventing implantation as they see it as very very early abortion

just explaining the view points not saying personally I think one or other is right or wrong

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.

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.

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!

crescentmoon 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!)

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.

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.

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.

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

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)

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 23:26:08

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

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.

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

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.

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 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 23:07:55

good point ninah.

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