Thank you for allowing us to access your website and for lending yourself to our consultations. Is it morally licit for a married woman with three children to have a tubal ligation? She does not want to have more children because their financial situation is very difficult, and since she has to work, this means leaving the children in the care of others. Would it be preferred that she use contraceptives? Thank you for your assistance. A.
Neither one nor the other. A good end cannot be sought or attained by evil means.
In this regard, Paul VI’s Encyclical Humanae vitae states, “Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means” (n. 14). The former refers to sterilization; the latter to methods of contraception.
What they can do, instead, is to space births by taking into account the woman’s infertile periods (natural methods). As it says in the same Encyclical, “If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained” (n. 16).
Fr. Miguel A. Fuentes, IVE
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