With how the world is changing now, lustful acts are prevalent, becoming the new normal. Masturbation, pornography, and fornication to name a few are presented as natural part of daily lives. With an inclination toward these sexual acts, related products, and practices to avoid their consequences are patronized. One example is the usage of birth control. In this blog post, we will discuss one of the most frequently asked questions related to contraception and Faith, Is Pulling Out a Sin?
To start off, let’s talk about what the Catechism has to say regarding birth control.
2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).
Clearly, the Catechism states that contraception or birth control is immoral.
2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil.
On the other hand, it supports Natural Family Planning as it respects the intended design for marital love.
Now that we already know the teachings of the Catholic Church in accordance with the Catechism, moving forward, let’s proceed to the biblical reference.
“Then Judah said to Onan, “Have intercourse with your brother’s wife, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.
Onan, however, knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid giving offspring to his brother.
What he did greatly offended the Lord, and the Lord took his life too.”
Explicitly mentioned in the scriptures, this birth control known as the withdrawal method (pulling out) is against the natural law, which is a crime punishable by death.
Pulling Out a Sin
The above references highlighted the teaching of the Church regarding contraception specifically pulling out.
To answer the question, Is Pulling Out a Sin?
Yes, pulling out is a sin. It is a form of birth control that is against the natural law. It violates the procreative and unitive elements of a marital act. Deliberately blocking the natural openness to life, breaking God’s design for human sexuality.
Mortal or Venial Sin
Now that we know that it is a sin, is it mortal or venial?
To give you a quick recap of the definitions of the two.
The Catholic Church categorizes sin depending on its gravity.
It could be mortal or venial.
A sin is mortal if the following conditions are met.
- It must involve grave matter
- Committed with full knowledge that it is a grave sin
- Committed with deliberate consent
Let’s use pulling out as an example.
If a couple practiced pulling out, aware that it is a sin but still committed it, then there is a mortal sin.
First, pulling out as a form of birth control is a grave matter.
Another one is that people committed it with full knowledge. It means there was a consciousness that it is a sin.
Lastly, performed it with full consent. Knowing how sinful it was, it was still intentionally carried out.
Note that all conditions must be present. If it lacks even just one of these conditions, it will then fall as venial.
However, although venial sins need not be confessed, it is still advisable especially when the matter is grave like using birth control.
Pulling out or any other form of birth control or contraception has to be taken to a priest for absolution.
To confess, you just have to tell the priest that you had used or practiced birth control.
You can also tell him the frequency or how long have you been committing this sin.
The priest will then give you counsel, ask you for penance, and finally absolve you.
To know more about confessing lustful sins, here’s a guide.
If it is your first time in confession, you can check this Confession Guide.
For a list of other mortal sins, you can check this out.
With the rise of contraceptions like condoms and pills, it is not impossible that people would think it is okay. The fad becomes moral. As Catholics, we must consistently study our Faith and try to educate others. Birth control does not only affect the body but the soul as well.
May we always ask for the grace of chastity.
Loving Mother, pray for us.