Post # 1
My Fiance and I have already discussed and agreed that we don’t plan to have kids. I recently went through RCIA and monsignor where I did this has agreed to marry us (FI is protestant). I recall during RCIA monsignor saying he questions any couple that comes to him saying they don’t want to have kids as that should be part of the reason for getting married. I am really worried about what will happen when we meet with him? I am not sure what to say. Has anyone been through this? I am worried that he may refuse to marry us. And I have to say we’ve had to defend our position on no kids too so many already.
Any perspectives would be much appreciated!
Post # 3
First of all, I’m Catholic and completely understand that not all couples want children. I’m sorry others have been pressuring you.
I am NOT an expert on Church Tradition, but I’ll relate to you some of the things I understand about the Church’s view on marriage and children. God created marriage so that two might become one and produce new life. The Church teaches that a couple must be “open” to children. Traditionally, this has meant procreating.
Your priest’s viewpoint seems to coincide with what I’ve heard from all other priests. I would be honest with him in your reasons for desiring to remain childless. Also, and I don’t know if this is the case with you, but I would disclose any medical issues when speaking with him as well.
Also, in this “openness” to having children, he may ask what would happen if you accidentally became pregnant. If the reasons for desiring to remain childless are personal preference, financial, etc., I would also bring up the idea that you wish to interact with youth in other ways, and by such, helping the “next generation.” I’m keeping my wording vague, as I don’t know your particular situation, but I think being honest with the priest and saying what you would do, in your lives as Catholics and vocation of marriage, you would do to enrich the lives of others and do good.
I hope this helps!
Post # 4
Not really sure (just coming into this/doing RCIA) but our priest had a whole bunch of questions he asked us in our interviews and “are we open to children” was one of them, as well as “how do you plan to guide your children in faith”… also “why do you want to get married” is where having kids comes into the conversation.
I guess you could always go with the hypothetical situation as far as child rearing, but I think you do have to answer if you’re planning to have kids and then it will depend on the views of the priest. Maybe you could say “not right now”? or bring up your reasons for not having children if there is a medical/fnancial stability way to frame it? not sure but good luck.
Post # 5
I know that a lot of catholic priests will refuse to marry couples who say that they are not open to having children. I hate to say it, but I think your options are probably lying in marriage prep or coming up with an alternative officiant. I know you are in a tough position, and I wish you the best of luck with sorting this out.
Post # 6
My Future Mother-In-Law is a devout Catholic, and she told me that she doesn’t like children, and didn’t want any. But, she said she was raised that it was her holy duty to have children as part of the marriage sacrament. So she had my SO and my Future Sister-In-Law.
I’m not Catholic, so I’m not sure how all that works, but she loves SO and Future Sister-In-Law dearly, and hates all other children. It’s kind of funny.
Sorry I can’t be more help. 🙁
Post # 7
I’m not advocating lying, but if it gets brought up could you say that you can’t have/are choosing not to have children because of medical issues? You could just leave it at that.
Post # 8
@mulcapa: Could you just focus on the near future rather than making an all-encompassing statement? (Even if you know the all-encompassing “don’t want kids at all” is true, you could be a little vague and say something like, “Well, we know we’re not ready to have kids right away, but our parents have told us we’ll know when the time is right.” You don’t have to add “even though we think the time will be NEVER.”)
I don’t know a lot about Catholicism so maybe there’s some reason this approach won’t work…
Post # 9
I think you’ll probably need to lie, or else tell the truth and risk them not marrying you.
Personally I would go with the latter, as I could not be married by an institution that didn’t suport my right not to have children.
Post # 10
Our priest told us that, when he was newly ordained, his sister wanted him to officiate their wedding but told him that she and her fiance were not planning to have children. He said that he told her he wouldn’t marry them if they weren’t open to having children. Eventually, she changed her mind, he married them – and now apparently they have five kids. (Yikes!) But yeah, if he wouldn’t agree to let his own sister get married without being open to children, I think that says a lot about how strict the church is on this issue.
I think you’re in a tough spot here, and the ultimate choice might come down to either lying about your position or not getting married in the Catholic church. Or, I guess, reconsidering your position on being open to having children. I mean, it’s kind of splitting hairs, but if you don’t want to flat out lie and you think there may be a possibility in the future that you’d want to have children, you could talk about how you are studying the church’s teachings on that point and are actively praying for guidance or something. I feel like sometimes priests can take “I’m struggling with the church’s teaching on this issue but am praying for God to guide my conscience” better than “I disgree with this teaching, I’m not planning on following it and I’m done thinking about it.”
Post # 11
I am Catholic, but what I would say is that you are “open” to the idea of having children sometime in the future, but don’t even mention how that may not be ever. Being open to it doesn’t mean you will. Just means you will entertain the idea. If you suddenly “close” yourself to the idea after marriage…you can’t say you weren’t open to it at some time!
Maybe it’s just technicalities. If you have to answer the other questions about child rearing, think of it hypothetically or what you would do if you DID plan on having kids, or accidently became pregnant.
I don’t think you have to go into details with him about it. Just try to be “open” while talking, even if you know you are fairly “closed” to the idea.
Post # 12
Thank you all for the info! These are definitely helpful.
We were thinking that maybe we’d say we are not sure if we’re going to have children. Certainly if I got pregnant, we would absolutely have the child. I have 7 nieces and nephews already so I have plenty of interaction with kids. For me, it’s not that I’m adamantly opposed to having them it’s more that I have no burning desire to have one. The same is true for Fiance. With all those nieces and newphews I just don’t really have an urge. I did when I was in my early 30s but I feel that part of that was more societal expectations than my reallly wanting to have a child. I’ll be 38 when I get married and Fiance will be 33 so I think it’s reasonable that age is a consideration as well. I’d be an older mother which I don’t always think is best for children. I really do not want to lie though. You never know maybe we could end up changing our minds. So we present it as we’re not sure yet, but we do not present as being opposed to having a child?
Pearberry – thank you for your consideration. It really has been hard discussing with my sisters.
Post # 13
The predominant way the Catholic Church gets new members is by people having kids and raising them Catholic. So, of course, it makes sense for such an institution to hold your entire belief system over your head by making it unacceptable to not be open to/not want to have children. No children = fewer members. And to the members, not wanting children = not getting married in the church which means no sacrament which means you’re not a full member which could untimately mean no “heaven”. Pretty handy tool for member retention, isn’t it?
Post # 14
@crayfish: sorry but to be honest this is pretty ignorant and bigoted. ALL parishes are different. For instance in my parish, it’s mostly widows/widowers, homeless people, or young single people (it’s a downtown parish). We get new members through people choosing to go through the RCIA process.
Plus, the Catholic Church does NOT require anyone to have kids. Why do you think they allow elderly people to get married?? Are they expecting God to do a magic trick? And I’m not sure you fully understand what a sacramental marriage is and what it implies. My parents’ marriage was not a sacrament – but that does NOT mean it was not approved by the Church. Please don’t make comments about a faith tradition that’s different from your own, if you don’t actually know that much about it 🙂 This is the Catholic board and all.
The key is to be “open to kids” – and OP, it sounds like you are. It’s OK to not have a burning desire to have children. You don’t have to even “try” to have them. It’s important to welcome them as a gift if they come. The priest will ask you this, and in the marriage ceremony, it’s asked again – “will you welcome children and raise them in the Church?” if you would honestly welcome any child God sent you,and raise them as Catholics, you can say Yes. No need to lie at all.
Post # 15
So after reading all the comments here, Fiance and I have been talking. It’s causing me a lot of anxiety, which is understandably concerning to him. I am definitely open to children and I hope that will be enough. I’m going to meet with the priest separately (already have to talk to him about something else anways) and we’ll see how it goes. I plan to be honest and hope that he’ll still be ok with marrying us. If he isn’t, I can’t deny that it will be incredibly upsetting. But we have our backup plan for a ceremony at the reception venue.
Thank you all for the honest and insightful feedback!