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Good morning Father, 

I am happily married and the father of two children. In our relationships we use condoms as at the moment we do not have the economic possibility of being able to welcome another creature: among other things, the arrival of a third child would force my wife to resign and I do not have sufficient income to cope with this scenario. We are aware of the situation of serious irregularity and I have tried to propose to my wife to use natural methods but she doesn’t feel like using them, as not considering them safe (she has irregular cycles) would make her anxious in a situation in which we both have rhythms really heavy between work and childcare. Given my situation, in all conscience, I do not feel like receiving the Body of Christ with even the slightest danger of profaning it.

At the moment I say the Rosary daily to which I add two intentions:

1) to free ourselves from contraception: at the moment I don’t know how to do it, in the meantime I entrust this purpose with prayer;

2) for the success of an economic project I am working on, in order to have that security with which to welcome other creatures that God may wish to entrust to us (in short, “make me Providence” as I read in some of your answers).

Having made this long premise, I have a question to ask: Is it lawful in my condition to do the Eucharist despite always confessing this sin to the priest, since I keep repeating it?

During the confession I received different opinions. A priest, citing Amoris Laetitia to me, told me that responsible parenthood is my duty (and therefore implicitly there is no serious irregularity). Another told me that the serious irregularity exists but given my condition, before approaching the Eucharist I had to recite the Act of Contrition.

Given my situation, in all conscience, I do not feel like receiving the Body of Christ with even the slightest danger of profaning it. So I thought I would no longer approach the Eucharist until I am freed from this wound and in the meantime take Spiritual Communion every day (as I already do now).

Waiting for an answer from you, I wish you well and pray to God to fill with blessings your life and this work of help in discernment.



My Dear, 

1. In the various components of responsible parenthood there is also that of evaluating one’s own economic possibilities. This judgment, as the Second Vatican Council recalled, is the unquestionable responsibility of the spouses. It is they who are called to evaluate and decide coram Domino, that is, before the Lord

2. Among the various components there is also that of conforming to the objective moral order, that is, to the law of God which always indicates the right way to act in such a way as to preserve and increase the communion of grace and the sanctification of our life. The Second Vatican Council itself recalled this when it said that “Christian spouses are aware that they cannot proceed at their own will, but must always be governed by a conscience that is in conformity with divine law itself, docile to the Magisterium of the Church, which authentically interprets that law in the light of the Gospel”(Gaudium et spes 50). Amoris Laetitia did not say that responsible parenthood consists in deciding on one’s own talent. 

3. The Council affirmed in an even more precise and punctual way,  “When it comes to composing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral character of behavior does not depend only on the sincere intention and evaluation of motives, but must determined by objective criteria which have their basis in the dignity of the human person and his acts and are intended to maintain of mutual self-giving and human procreation, and all this will not be possible if the virtue of conjugal chastity is not cultivated with sincere spirit. The children of the Church, founded on these principles, will not be able to follow paths that are condemned by the Magisterium in the explanation of the divine law” (GS 51).

4. For this reason, Paul VI in Humanae Vitae teaches that “responsible parenthood still and above all entails a deeper relationship to the objective moral order, established by God, and of which the right conscience is a faithful interpreter. The responsible exercise of fatherhood therefore implies that the spouses fully recognize their duties towards God, towards themselves, towards the family and towards society, in a just hierarchy of values” (HV 10). And he adds, “In the task of transmitting life, the spouses are not free to proceed at their own will, as if they could independently determine the honest ways to follow, but, on the contrary, they must conform their actions to the creative intention of God, expressed in the very nature of marriage and its acts, and manifested by the constant teaching of the Church “(HV 10).

5. For reasons that I have repeated many times in conjugal intimacy, it is legitimate to resort to the rhythms of fertility and infertility because in this way one behaves as God’s ministers while in contraception one becomes the arbiter of one’s own body. His own thought is substituted for the holy and sanctifying plan of God. Likewise, I have had occasion to recall that there are methods that can also be applied by women who have irregular rhythms. Just as I recalled that contraceptives – if you look at safety – also have their own fallacy.

6. Having said that, the solutions that have been proposed to you by those who have the task of leading you to the holiness of life are not right. First, because responsible parenthood does not only mean making the necessary decisions, but also avoiding replacing the plan of God who wanted the unitive end and the procreative end to be indissolubly joined. Only in this way does the act of conjugal intimacy retain its meaning of integral and total self-giving. The Magisterium of the Church recalls that with contraception that act ceases to be an act of authentic love. Paul VI said it in Humanae Vitae, “Safeguarding both these essential aspects, unitive and procreative, the conjugal act fully preserves the sense of mutual and true love and its ordering to the highest vocation of man to fatherhood” (HV 12) But the Council had already said it with these words, “The Church recalls, however, that there can be no true contradiction between the divine laws, which govern the transmission of life, and those which favor authentic conjugal love” (GS 51 ).

7. Second, because as John Paul II taught in the encyclical Veritatis SplendorNegative moral precepts, that is, those that prohibit certain concrete acts or behaviours as intrinsically bad, do not admit any legitimate exception; they leave no morally acceptable space for the “creativity” of some contrary determination” (VS 67).

Therefore it cannot be said: finally conscience decides.

Conscience has the task of discovering the law of God and of conforming one’s behavior to it. Since some persist in saying that finally conscience decides what is good and what is evil (as if conscience were infallible and could replace God) it is worth recalling what John Paul II adds to the previous affirmation, “Once the species of an action prohibited by a universal rule has been concretely recognized, the only morally good act is to obey the moral law and refrain from the action it forbids” (VS 67).

9. I feel sorry for them for the responsibility they assume before God. One wonders if they are aware of what they say and write. John Paul II in a salient passage of his magisterium expressed himself this way, “The first, and in a certain sense the most serious difficulty (on our subject), is that even in the Christian community voices have been heard and are being heard that question the very truth of the teaching of the Church. This teaching was vigorously expressed by Vatican II, by the encyclical Humanae Vitae, by the apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio and by the recent instruction Donum Vitae.

In this regard, a grave responsibility emerges: those who place themselves in open contrast with the law of God, authentically taught by the Church’s magisterium, guide the spouses on the wrong path. What is taught by the Church on contraception does not belong to a freely disputable matter among theologians. Teaching the opposite is equivalent to misleading the moral conscience of the spouses” (5.5.1987). 

10. So your conclusion is commendable and it does you honor, “Given my situation, in all conscience, I do not feel like receiving the Body of Christ with even the slightest danger of profaning it; so I thought I would no longer approach the Eucharist until I am freed from this wound and in the meantime take Spiritual Communion every day (as I already do now)”. 

I add with Paul VI, “And if sin still has a hold on them, let them not be discouraged, but have recourse with humble perseverance to God’s mercy, which is bestowed in the sacrament of Penance” (HV 25).

Yes, it is better to go before God and tell him: I preferred to my thoughts the authentic teaching of your Church and the teaching of the Holy Pontiffs John Paul II and Paul VI who asked me with the authority received from you to obey you and to trust in the ways that lead to you more in you than in me.

Thanks for your testimony.

Thank you for the clarity of your conscience that knows how to recognize the voice of God.

To the prayer for the two causes you spoke of, I gladly add mine and bless you all. 

Father Angelo