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Anonymous Anna wrote:

Hi, guys —

Our father seems to be giving us the run around, especially on the fact that:

  • both of our guys are non-Catholic
  • we both don't want kids at this time, and
  • our weddings are not schedule for at least three years.

He told us that if we don't want kids at anytime that the Church (and|or) the Bishop, who says it is OK to proceed with the marriage, will not allow us to get married.

If this is so, well, it seems to me, it will make a lot of Catholics become non-Catholic; something
I don't think the Church wants to encourage. This would make me very upset because whether or not God decides that I should have kids is between God and me, and not the Church.

Yes, we are taught to be fruitful and multiply but it doesn't mean I should have kids just to be married in the Church. Ecclesiastes 3:1-10, I think, states, basically, that there is a time and place for everything and everything in it's place.

  • Is the Church, or our father, stating we cannot get married because we do not want kids at this time?

I just want to get married to the man I love and who loves me. He has no problems with us getting married in my Church.


  { Is the Church saying we cannot get married because we don't want kids? . . . shouldn't we decide? }

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Anna —

Marriage is more than a simple arrangement for exclusive sex. The purpose of marriage is twofold:

  1. the faithful and permanent union of the spouses, and
  2. the procreation and education of children.

That is the nature of marriage from the beginning and in Catholic teaching.

If one does not intend fidelity, permanence or children, one lacks the intention necessary to contract a valid, sacramental marriage, or even a valid, non-sacramental marriage.

For that reason, the Church cannot marry you, because she knows the marriage would not take place; it would not be a true marriage. Of course, you can always get married civilly.

Mary Ann

Anna replied:

Mary Ann,

Is this the part in the Canon Law whereby it says neither can it exclude the instructions on marriage if we do not want kids, meaning that the Church will not grant us a marriage ceremony in or outside (in front of a priest) the Catholic Church:

Canon 1125  § 3. Both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude.


Mary Ann replied:


Neither party may exclude one of the intrinsic purposes of marriage. This does not mean that the Church won't marry you if you won't do what she says. It means that the Church cannot marry you because the covenant bond would not occur.

It is like the case of someone contracting to buy a house, who leaves out of the contract the part about the price. It is not a contract. Or the case of a person who engages in bigamy . . . the person is not married, even if all proper forms are followed, because a person cannot, (not may not), be married to more than one person at a time.

Mary Ann

Eric replied:

Hi, Anna —

As Catholics, we believe that God teaches — following Scripture — that one (but not the only) of the chief purposes of conjugal love is the procreation of children. This frankly should be obvious from biology. Sex is fundamentally ordered to conceiving children, period. To oppose that is to oppose nature. Sex is not purely entertainment or recreation. Pleasure is a means, not an end. Conjugal love is holy, and it imitates the life-giving love of the Father. Following that, every act of sexual love must be open to life. Thus artificial contraception is forbidden by natural law.
This is God's law, not the Church's law, so if you have a problem with it, take it up with Him!

When you get married in the Catholic Church, you make an explicit and public promise to be open to children. If you refuse to promise, or intend to not have children at all, the priest can't marry you. If you definitely intend to ultimately have children, explain this to the priest and pledge that you won't use artificial contraception.

There is a time and a place for everything, but that doesn't justify the means. If I followed your argument, I could interpret a time to kill as a warrant for murder or euthanasia. You can use (NFP) Natural Family Planning to defer having children for a good reason. Artificial contraception is intrinsically immoral. You can never do something immoral to achieve a good end.

You said:

Whether or not God decides that I should have kids is between God and me.

If you truly believe this you need to be open to kids so God can act. If you use contraception,
you are shutting God off and not cooperating with Him. Trust in Him and let Him control your life.

For more details, I encourage you to read a new book:

Sex au Naturel: What It Is and Why It's Good for Your Marriage by Patrick Coffin.


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