Question 14


Dear Fr. Matthew,

I am a practicing Catholic who is married to a former Mormon. We have two children. I am afraid of having more children due to a childhood of terrible upbringing (partially caused by hereditary mental illness / instability) and the difficulties after the birth of our second child. My husband does not want to have any more children and wants to have a vasectomy. I want to do the right thing according to the Church teaching, but I don’t know what they are. I am very confused as to what this means for me morally. Would I be morally responsible if he gets this procedure? Part of me wants him to have it so that I don’t run the risk of becoming a harmful parent to my children (the more kids my parents had, the worse things became and the sicker they became), but I want to do the moral and proper thing. 
Please help, 
Sincerely, L.

Dear L,

What the Church teaches about vasectomy and sterilization is that it is seriously wrong. Humanae Vitae #14 teaches: “Especially to be rejected is direct abortion – even if done for reasons of health. Furthermore, as the Magisterium of the Church has taught repeatedly, direct sterilization of the male or female, whether permanent or temporary, is equally to be condemned.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reaffirms this in sections 2297 and 2388-9.

Natural Family Planning is a very effective, and morally good, method of practicing responsible parenthood, when there are urgent reasons. I encourage you and your husband to learn the method. Go to the Billings Method (, or Couple to Couple League (, or the Creighton Model (

Children are a gift from God, not a curse, or something to be afraid of. Could it be that the child that will bring the greatest happiness to the two of you is yet to be born? God know how many children He wishes to give you. We want to do His will in these matters.

I recommend that you listen to the CD “Testimony of Healing: Sterilization Reversal – an Act of Love” by David and Nina Morton, available from One More Soul (1 800 307 7685).

Cordially yours,

Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB