Home Discussion Forum Can we get a dispensation?

Can we get a dispensation?

by iamjoesmamma:

My husband and I are expecting our 4th child. We are catholic and have been using natural family planning. I have some health issues that make it difficult for me while being pregnant. I have Crohn’s disease, hypothyroidism, and am very prone to kidney stones and urinary tract infections. I also have asthma which has gotten worse over the years. My husband doesn’t have any health issues except mild asthma that is actually improving since he quit smoking. I feel that we are done having children, but the church frowns upon any acts that could stop us from procreating. I can’t have any surgeries until 6-12 months after having the baby because my body needs more time to heal on the inside. Have crohn’s can weaken my immune system and cause me to get an infection easily. My husband could get a vasectomy now before the baby is born. I want to have the time and energy to care for and spend time with my family and the children we have now, including the one on the way. If we have more children, that may be difficult. Plus, we barely have room for the 4th child in our home and can’t afford to make more room or get another house right now. Is it possible that we could get a dispensation for us to do something permanent to not have anymore children? I want to feel supported in our decision.
I should add that we are not trying to pick and choose which parts of our religion that we want to believe in. I don’t want to put my health or any future child’s in danger by getting pregnant again. I want to be able to take care of my children and family. We would be up for adoption or fostering children in the future if things change financially for us. I also run a day care so, having more children means, less children that I am allowed to care for other than my own. I also should add that I am 26 and my husband is 28.
I am again going to mention that we were using natural family planning, but my cycle is sometimes unpredictable because of my health issues.

Answer by SUSAN P
In my opinion (and you won’t like it) is that if you are going to believe in a religion, you have to accept the whole package. Perhaps the Catholic church is not the right one for you? You really can’t pick-and-choose which parts of a religion you want to follow and which parts you want to ignore without being hypocritical.
My whole point is, you have some beliefs that do not match those of your chosen religion, so I thought you might find a religion that is a more comfortable fit. I’m certainly not against what you want to do – I think it’s a wise decision on your part.


  1. are you wiling to die for your faith, and leave your kids without a mother?
    Pick your battles wisely

  2. Talk to your Priest about this explaining it well. Actually, the Church does not frown on any act that could stop procreation. Have your Priest also explain this to you.

  3. Dispensations are granted, usually, on a case-by-case basis. Knowing nothing of your location or denomination, I cannot answer your question. I suggest contact the office of your Bishop. I think you will find far fewer problems than you fear.

  4. Isn’t religion a beatch when it clashes with real life? This is just an extension of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who would let their child die because it needed a satanic blood transfusion. What is this really telling you? You don’t need a dispensation from the RC church, you need a dispensation from religion. Do you really need to die from your beliefs or live by your common sense?

  5. If I were liberal I would say: How selfish of you to have 4 of your own children!!! You should have adopted some starving Africans!!! Why do your genes deserve to be passed?

  6. I’m not terribly familiar with catholicism but I thought only a priest could grant a dispensation?
    Why don’t you just ask your priest?

  7. I sympathize with your health issues and your feeling that you need to avoid another pregnancy. I am in a similar situation, though not the same illnesses.
    You cannot get dispensation for a vasectomy. Those are a form of bodily mutilation. It’s just not going to happen.
    What you need to do is practice abstinence. Either periodic abstinence, using NFP to determine the non-fertile times of your cycle or total abstinence if you don’t trust NFP.
    There are several different forms of NFP out there. You don’t say if you’ve used it or not, but it sounds like you haven’t. Four kids in a short amount of time. Go learn a good system. I found the Creighton system to work best for me because I go on so little sleep with young children to parent during the night at times.
    This is all we have used since our youngest was born, and she’s 5.5 years old.

  8. I respect your for following your religion and I would never step on your rights.
    But seriously you should keep it out of your bedroom. The church is not paying for all those kids. If they are unwilling to support your choice, then they are not concerned for your health. Maybe it is time to rethink your faith.

  9. You have a heavy cross, to be sure. I am sorry to hear about your health problems. I can tell that the idea of another pregnancy is very scary and has real implications for you and your family. However, the Catholic church does not give dispensations for men to have vasectomies, even in the case of serious health or financial hardship. That is the bottom line.
    I know that this is not the answer you want to hear. I want you to get in touch with an NFP teacher and learn about how to use NFP in the most conservative way, probably only having sex after ovulation is confirmed each month and possibly using more conservative rules to confirm ovulation. I know it will not be easy, but God calls us to sacrifice and I guess this is your sacrifice. Talk to your priest or find a spiritual director who can help you so that through your suffering you can become closer to God and your husband.
    Good luck.


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