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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.

amazingmumof6 Fri 18-Jan-13 23:08:55

first of all I'm a Christian, not a Catholic, and I believe that Jesus loves us and cares about us and He will not allow us to have any burdens that are bigger than what we can deal with!
why on Earth should you have another baby, and then be unable to bring him/her up, because you are too ill??
that is not a situation that someone who loves you would want for you!

no where in the Bible does it say that you can't use contraception - yes we should be fruitful and multiply, and husband and wife should give themselves to each other, but we also have free will!

the only reference to a deliberate act to avoid conception is found in the story of Onan, who was told (by God or angel of God, I can't remember) to make his dead brother's wife pregnant. he "let his seed fall to the ground" and as a result of his disobedience was struck down and died.

the Catholic church then ran away with this story as a deadly example to all people who stops themselves from getting pregnant.

to me that is wrong and greatly misunderstood, I believe that the importance/moral of the story is that disobedience is a sin and will be punished!

we are not all Onans and are not all told to make a dead brother's wife pregnant, just as we are not told to build and Ark like Noah, or conquer the Promised land like JOshua etc.

so I think you should take communion, because God cares about you and understands your problems and it is high time you had a reunion with Him (in the form of holy bread and wine) so your life can become more whole with Jesus!

If you have problems at your current place of Worship, find Him elsewhere, it won't be hard!

superfluouscurves Fri 18-Jan-13 23:15:32

If you are taking contraception as a treatment to prevent an illness, ie, PND then you aren't committing a sin imo.

I should clarify though that I'm a Catholic who doesn't strictly believe in the Church's teaching about contraception (and many other sexual issues eg homosexuality) and go by my own conscious about these things.

For what it's worth, I reconcile it by looking at the wider picture and focusing on the good that comes out of women being able to control their own fertility eg educational opportunities/economic independence/prosperity for children etc etc and ability to avoid violence, subjugation and poverty.

And, coming from a large RC family where I was the last child or "last straw" as far as my mother was concerned, I think we all have a duty to do what is best for our immediate families in terms of our physical and mental wellbeing and our overall ability to cope.

And finally, when you read the Gospels, you find that Jesus didn't have an awful lot to say about sexual morality and when he did, it was in the context of welcoming (and not excluding) those who had been judged to have sinned or acted in a way which was deemed immoral by the standards of the day.

And finally, finally smile because it's late and I've had a glass of wine: here's a favourite quote of mine from 'The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks' (Penguin 2003)

"A hermit said, "Do not judge an adulterer if you are chaste or you will break the law of God just as much as he does. For he who said "Do not commit adultery" also said "Do not judge".

I know, strictly speaking, we are not talking about adultery here, but same principle! Whoever said you would be "desecrating the Host" was oh so wrong.

Italiangreyhound Fri 18-Jan-13 23:28:05

mollysmum82 It's wonderful that you have found faith and are interested in God.

However, I am very sorry that you feel faced with this dilema about contraception.

I am not a Roman Catholic and I really hope a Roman Catholic will be along to guide you about this in a helpful way.

I have been a Christian for 30 years and for most of that time attended an Anglican (Church of England Church). For the last few years we have attended a small 'free' (non-denominational) church. At no time have I ever been told that contraception is wrong. I really believe God is a God of love and he does not want us to suffer in unnecessary ways so I feel sure he is very happy with contraception. I would agree with amazingmumof6 that if you find that the church you are part of is very much at odds with your safety then you should find Jesus in another church.

All best wishes.

LynetteScavo Fri 18-Jan-13 23:38:02

You are using contraception to prevent severe pnd, and yes a side effect of this is you are unlikely to get pg!

At the end of the day you have to think what God would want you to do, not someone on an internet forum.

Italiangreyhound Fri 18-Jan-13 23:38:08

Oh I crossed posted with superfluouscurves. What a lovely post from you superfluouscurves. It is very encouraging to read your comments and I agree with your affirmations about what Jesus talked about.

Also mollysmum82, if 'someone' is giving you advice about the medicines you put in your body or the methods you use for your own safety and it is not your doctor then I would keep the information private from 'someone'!

By that I mean if you chose to chat to this person and ask advice and now or later decide that you will make your own mind up about what is best to do, please do not feel you need to discuss it further with them.

It is private to you even if you chose to talk to them before. Just my opinion.

It may well be that they meant to be well-meaning and helpful and of course you can always take anyone's advice if you choose but if you have chosen not to follow a 'rule' they mention then do not feel you have to talk to them further. I know what it can be like, I/we/you/one/anyone ask advice etc and then feel the need to 'report back' to the person etc! You don't need to talk to them further about it if you are finding out answers for yourself. They may not know the whole facts about your health and well-being.

superfluouscurves Fri 18-Jan-13 23:59:27

Thanks ItalianGreyhound but I'm chuckling to myself because I realise I just made a rather large judgement in that last paragraph myself, when you correctly say that the person concerned could have been well-meaning and well-intentioned (albeit misguided!).

Italiangreyhound Sat 19-Jan-13 00:03:18

I guess what I meant was they may well really believe that! But it still does not make it true, to me, and I am not Roman Catholic superfluouscurves but I think you nailed it when you said £At the end of the day you have to think what God would want you to do," - and also "...when you read the Gospels, you find that Jesus didn't have an awful lot to say about sexual morality and when he did, it was in the context of welcoming (and not excluding)."

Startail Sat 19-Jan-13 00:13:30

I think there are an awful lot of Catholics who most certainly do use birth control

eg. the Italian birth rate is very low
207/221 countries listed
UK are no. 161

WaynettaSlobsLover Sat 19-Jan-13 00:19:53

Pregnancies, childbirth and the physical stresses of bringing up children/breast feeding is why lots of us with faith follow the teachings that contraception is allowed. I'm Muslim by the way but many of our scholars (mostly men strangely enough hmm take the view that a woman should bear children constantly. It's utter madness. You know what, 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. Remember in the Buble where it says the body is a temple, and the Quran says do not bring yourselves into destruction at your own doing, I think this applies to looking after our bodies especially as women and having the time and energy to have kids. It's exhausting the whole thing and men will never be able to dictate to a woman of faith what to do because they will never walk in our shoes. Anyway God bless/Allah Hafiz xxx

LynetteScavo Sat 19-Jan-13 00:25:45

You know what, 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.

Absolutely! grin

Italiangreyhound Sat 19-Jan-13 00:28:58

WaynettaSlobsLover lovely post, I really agree.

I really want to read that Buble wink.

Startail I do wonder if all the millions of Roman Catholics there are were all not using contraception then I think there would be masses of children more. IFSWIM!

mollysmum82 I hope this is helping you.

Tommy Sat 19-Jan-13 00:29:08

I am a practising and v committed Catholic - as are many of my friends - and I can honestly say that neither I nor any of them follow the Church's teaching on artificial contraception.
I have also only once heard it preached from the pulpit in all my 45 years of going to mass (the exception being a few months ago from a very young and inexperienced priest who seems to think that's what we should be receiving in place of a homily hmm)
Please - continue with your RCIA and try not to worry about the contraception thing..... Whereabouts in the country are you? /that may well determine what response you get

sashh Sat 19-Jan-13 07:50:34

Don't go to RC sites for this kind of thing. According to SPUC I'm a murderer for taking the pill.

I'm atheist but with RC parents and went to RC schools.

I agree with the others about it being treatment with contraception as a side effect.

My parents were the first generation to face this as they were married about the time the pill came out.

My mother went to confession, the priest asked her if her husband was in agreement with her choice, he was.

The priest then gave her absolution and told her to say a couple of Hail Marys and that she never needed to confess again.

If it still bothers you, pick your priest carefully and confess, explain about the PND and your reasons, explain that it is best for your family and marriage and ask to be forgiven.

Only the hardest hearted pedant would not forgive you.

BanghamTheDirtyScone Sat 19-Jan-13 07:56:06

Well according to my Catholic mother, if you don't want any children, or any more children, then it's a sin to have sex at all.

She told me this yesterday. She also believes that masturbation is wrong, that any sex aside from that used to conceive children is wrong, that homosexuals should not have sex, and that homosexuals should not have children.

My mother drives me insane...I was brought up Catholic but I'm not one any more.
Best of luck x

WaynettaSlobsLover Sat 19-Jan-13 09:32:09

Whoops the Buble wink !! I'm pg with my third and an exhausted by it. I know people with 8 kids who have depression, are haggard looking, kids don't exactly have great behaviour etc. not for me. I know there are amazing people of faith who can have a ton of kids and do it well but I can't and I don't want to. Both our religions state the importance of being a good and decent wife and having time with our are we supposed to feel like sex and cuddles with kids attached to us like limpets?! The real educated scholars in my opinion are the ones who take everything into account in the religion and have empathy and understanding with a woman, not the ones who interpret texts completely literally and have these hardline views. God is loving and wishes for us ease, not hardship.

HappyHippyChick Sat 19-Jan-13 09:37:07

I went to mass in the summer in a monastry (sp?) where the priest preached a real fire and brimstone sermon about contraception and how there were many priests in hell now because they didn't preach against contraception hmm. Most of the (v small) congregation walked out!

I agree with the many eloquent and well thought out comments here (especially superfluouscurves and wanettaslobslover) and continue to take both communion and contraceptives!

amazingmumof6 Sat 19-Jan-13 10:16:26

Waynetta I agree with what you said about looking after your body/sanity and having energy to enjoy life/sex and not get so exhausted raising our kids that we end up having mental or physical illness!

it's all very well to have one more child, then one more, but besides the free will given by God to choose that (or not) we have an obligation/duty to look after our existing children (and husbands, parents,siblings, friends, community, do our work, housework, studies etc....) cheerfully and to the best of our abilities, but how can we do that if we are run down, ill, depressed, exhausted?

just another example - a friend of mine was severely ill during her 3rd pregnancy, she was half-paralyzed and ended up in a wheel-chair for last trimester.
the scariest part was that although this illness was a result of nerves being trapped due to pregnancy, there were no guarantees that she'll return to normal after the baby's born!
thankfully the problem went away, but no matter how much she'd like another one, there's no way she'll risk getting pregnant again, so she's on the pill.
she's a Christian and so is her family, very good friends and no one thinks she is committing a sin!
we prayed so hard for her to be well again, we are just so happy that she's well and able!
life is precious and I can not see how Jesus would want another baby to be born at the cost of damaging his/her mother's life!

WaynettaSlobsLover Sat 19-Jan-13 10:26:24

Wow that's yet again another eye opener about the potential physical effects of pregnancy, I'm glad your friend is well again alhamdulilah (thank God). I feel like sometimes suffering is seen as way to be pure, which it is of course, but not to the extent where it severely harms, and we as women shouldn't be obliged to risk our health time and time again for the sake of an interpretation of the Bible or any other holy texts. God loves us and wants the best for us and in my case, because I really don't want any more babies after this, I'm going to use contraception and pray sincerely for that to be the end of my childbearing days. To those of our sisters in faith who have a load of kids, we salute your patience and may you be rewarded! grin

KayHarker Sat 19-Jan-13 10:28:38

I'm not RC, but was nearly crippled by the teaching on no contraception, which is popular in some non RC circles too. I had progressively worse SPD with each pregnancy and my mental health suffered too. Eventually Dh and I took a long, hard look at what we were believing and took steps to deal with it. I'm now on medication which couple cause birth defects and Dh has had a vasectomy. There is nothing sinful about contraception and I have very little time for those who say there is.

sashh Sat 19-Jan-13 14:41:12

Wow that's yet again another eye opener about the potential physical effects of pregnancy

1 in 1000 pregnancies end with the mother having a cardiomyopathy.

You are very lucky if your pregnancy only gives you a few stretch marks and piles (and a baby or two obviously) it can cause major damage to your body and mental health. Even in the UK it can still kill.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 19-Jan-13 14:47:17

The vast majority of Catholics I know use contraception. We did for years. And now DH has had a vasectomy.

I have read a lot about it, and I simply don't get how the rhythm method can be OK and condoms sinful.

BanghamTheDirtyScone Sat 19-Jan-13 17:02:31

I don't understand how sterilisation can fit into it either...or does it? I don't know, again just going by my own DM.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 19-Jan-13 20:58:40

Well, no, sterilization is as bad as condoms. I know a fair few sterilized Catholics though.

Annunziata Sat 19-Jan-13 21:15:20

That forum scares me, I don't like looking at it.

You are doing the best for yourself and your family, that is definitely not a sin.

Plus, God wouldn't have allowed contraception to be invented if he didn't want us to use it.

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