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  #11  
Old 7th July 2011, 05:49 PM
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Sacredcello Sacredcello is offline
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If someone has committed the sin of direct sterilization, repented and confessed the sin, then he or she does not have to practice NFP, nor refrain from marital relations. Whether or not he or she should have an operation to reverse the sterilization, if that is possible, depends on the three fonts of morality; it is a separate act, and so it needs to be evaluated separately. In some circumstances, the operation would not be morally required (e.g. the danger of the operation, its limited likelihood of success, cost, age of the individual, etc., if such is the case).

Thank you, Ron. My husband and I are NFP instructors and I have wondered about this often. The high c-section rate in our country has made it so that many couples are faced with the very tough moral choice of following very strict NFP rules or abstaining altogether, or the immoral choice of sterilization. This scenario is not uncommon at all. The problem I am having with my friend (though I don't think she is conscious of it) is that she is trying to get me to agree with her that she did the right thing and is implying that she would do it again if she had it to do over. It doesn't sound like repentance, but I know that we are not to judge others hearts. Only God can do that. I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Nevertheless, I am aware that some couples repent about becoming sterilized and choose to practice NFP in order to do what they would have had to do had they NOT had the surgery. It sounds like that is not required, but is an individual choice.
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  #12  
Old 7th July 2011, 06:03 PM
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Nevertheless, I am aware that some couples repent about becoming sterilized and choose to practice NFP in order to do what they would have had to do had they NOT had the surgery. It sounds like that is not required, but is an individual choice.

That sounds to me like a devout practice that expresses repentance from the past sin of sterilization.
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  #13  
Old 8th July 2011, 01:24 AM
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So the question arises as to whether this knowledge and this free choice are found within the three fonts, or apart from them. My answer is that they are within the fonts.

1. intention -- it cannot be said that a person has no knowledge of his own intention, since no one can intend an end without knowing what he is intending. Nor can it be said that a person does not freely choose his own intention. The very meaning of the word intention includes a knowing choice. There may be some reduction in knowledge or freedom of choice, but if either one is lacking, it is not an intention.

2. moral object -- an evil moral object makes an act intrinsically evil; but it is always the case, when an act is intrinsically evil, that the act is knowingly chosen.


It seems a very fine line between what constitutes an actual sin or not by the second font.

Example: A man is raised by practicing Catholic parents, but his parents were not faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium, so he follows in their footsteps with the idea that he can be a good Catholic (first font - intention to be a good Catholic), even though he knows that his sins involve grave matter (second font - knowledge of sin, but inner rejection of this knowledge). He's been exposed to some of the theological reasons for Church teaching, but he thinks that his situation is different and special and he should be exempted (first font - he thinks he can still intend to be a good Catholic while rejecting knowledge of grave matter).

There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people exactly like this. How does God decide if something is actual sin? If a person dies without confession, it seems logical that some of these will go to Hell and others to Purgatory. It is mind-boggling to me that one's eternal salvation hangs on such a fine distinction having to do with the moral object of one's combined actions. But, it also makes sense that this would be so. I just wouldn't want to be anywhere near that line myself.
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Old 8th July 2011, 02:10 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Well, the human mind and heart is a murky mysterious place. Many people mix grace and sin in their lives in unexpected ways. They have some acts that are very good and others that are very bad. And they might not have complete invincible ignorace, but only a degree of reduced culpability.

I think many people today are in a state of actual mortal sin, but have convinced themselves that they are good. They might pray and go to Mass and consider themselves to be good Catholics. But they are essentially lying to themselves.
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Old 8th July 2011, 02:58 PM
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Do we ever have the right to tell others what they are doing wrong? I mean in a firm but Christian manner. Is it ever correct to mention, for instance, that if you are living in sin you should not be an EM, etc.?
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Old 8th July 2011, 03:40 PM
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Do we ever have the right to tell others what they are doing wrong? I mean in a firm but Christian manner. Is it ever correct to mention, for instance, that if you are living in sin you should not be an EM, etc.?

Yes, why not? We are called to help one another reach salvation. This implies that we must sometimes correct others, esp. when they have strayed into some type of grave error or sin.
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