Ask a Priest

Really confused… need help figuring it out

Jul 28, 2015

We know the church’s stance on Contraception… but here’s my question.

I’m a faithful Catholic and I follow the traditional Catholic dogma. No sex before marriage, abortion is murder, marriage is between a man and a woman, contraception to avoid having children is against God’s commadment to us to go forth, be fruitful and multiply – and leads to promiscuity outside of marriage.

However, I’ve come to a, huh… moment.

I have been suffering all my life with unknown issues. After tests and tests and tests by specialists (all of which always came back normal), I went to a gynecologist, (which I should have been seeing every year since I was 18 but never did) and found that all my issues is from continously worsening Endometriosis, uterine polyps and Adenomyosis of the uterus. Plus my ovaries are twisted and stuck on Endometriosis tissue that’s inflammed.

It’s caused severe menstrual bleeding, loss of iron, exhaustion, daily pain in my stomach/side, nausea, loss of vitamin B, dizziness, chronic depression and mood swings… it’s been miserable and is getting worse each year.

I also have a history of cancer in my family, and the fact I have endometriosis, adenomyosis, a history of cancer in the family, and the fact I have never been sexually active nor have had children at my age (I’m in my 30s), I’m at a high risk of cancer.

So because of my cancer risk and all the years I’ve been suffering, my doctor recommended I get a hysterectomy. And until the hysterectomy, he wants me to get these Depo-Provera shots to stop my menstrual cycles to hopefully alliviate at least that aggrivation.

What would the church’s stance be on this morally? More than likely, I will never have kids even without the hysterectomy… I’m in my late 30s, unmarried, no prospects right now, and those with endometriosis often suffer infertility even at a younger age than me…

So would it be morally wrong to have a hysterectomy or use birth control to stop my periods even if it is unlikely that I will ever have children, and even if I still agree to live a celebate life until marriage?

Asked at 08:53 pm on July 28th 2015

Dear Dee, I was terribly sorry to hear how much you’ve had to suffer with endometriosis adenomyosis. In your case, there’s no moral problem at all either with the hysterectomy or with using birth control medication, since the primary aim isn’t sterilization but alleviating pain and/or avoiding serious future illness.

Just from a common sense perspective, given the seriousness of an intervention like hysterectomy, maybe it would be an idea to get a second opinion from another doctor.

The Depo-Provera treatment in your case isn’t contraceptive. St Thomas Aquinas developed our understanding of these situations with his theory of double effect – where the aim of an action is good, even if there’s an unintended but foreseen side-effect that’s not good.

Reading your story I couldn’t help thinking of recently beatified (2010) Chiara Luce Badano, who died at 19 in 1988 from osteosarcoma. In the two years she suffered from that illness she managed, like you, to keep her faith in God and God’s love.

Another woman I’m praying to for you is St Gianna Beretta Molla, who died in 1962 – she was diagnosed with a uterine tumour two months into her pregnancy but made it clear, despite the great risk to herself, that she wanted her child to live even at the cost of her own life.

Your situation of course is different, but I’m asking Blessed Chiara Luce and St Gianna Molla to help you with your immense burden of illness. I’ll keep you in my prayers especially that the operation you’re facing into works out well and that with the Depo Provera you can get back to health soon.

With very best wishes, Fr Brendan Purcell

Replied at 04:38 am on August 04th 2015

Dear Dee, endometriosis is something I know about. I think even St Mary McKillop went through something similar. One thing that can help reduce the severity of blood loss without pills is reducing sugar and carbohydrate intake. God can still work through all of those obstacles to grant children. My son is testament to that. Please get a second opinion. I assume from the diagnosis that you have already had laparoscopic investigations. At that time did the doctors clear some of the endometrial tissue away? Having that done may be a better first step than the big H. I am also going to assume that you have been in contact with Endometriosis Australia They put out very good newsletters and can direct you to doctors with greater knowledge and experience, as well as people who can share their own experiences with you about their surgery decisions and how Depo-Provera worked or didn’t work for them. Pray for God to light the path to the best solution for you that He desires for you. I will pray for you, too.

Replied at 12:39 pm on August 12th 2015

Dear Dee,

while reading your story suddenly it came to my mind to tell you : pray to St. Charbel he will heal you in the name of GOD.

st. Charbel is a maronite monk who is known all over the world for his extraordinary acts. he respond to all our requests… GOD Bless you

I will pray for you too



Replied at 10:16 am on August 19th 2015

Awaiting the Good News from your end .. THANK YOU Saint Charbel Makhlouf our Lebanese Hero

Replied at 10:09 am on August 19th 2015

Hi Dee,
I found the comments on the below article interesting … Maybe they might give you some idea of alternatives out there.

Thinking of you x

Replied at 02:42 am on September 01st 2015