The California Catholic Daily picked up my MercatorNet article, with this new and I think, more appealing title.
My husband and I traveled to St. Joachim’s parish in Madera CA to participate in a marriage preparation/marriage enrichment weekend. This parish is manned by an order of priests, the Oblates of St. Joseph. They have been perfecting this particular retreat, “Life-giving Love” for quite a few years.
The title of my article comes from this anecdote that I recounted from the weekend:
Another couple shared that they had each been married before. One of their marriages had ended through death, the other through an annulment. Each of them had sterilized themselves during the course of their first marriages. The husband had made the decision to have a vasectomy. The wife decided to have her tubes tied. She decided this without consulting her then-husband. She had it done while she was in recovery from delivering her third child.
This couple was the most powerful couple of the whole weekend. They sat in front of us weeping openly about these decisions to sterilize themselves. They came to see that the reasons they gave themselves originally were not good enough. They spoke of their regrets. The most powerful regret was that they could not become parents together with their new sacramental spouse.
They spoke of their love for the church. “No one told me it was wrong.” The man said repeatedly, through his tears. “If only I had known. If only someone had told me.”
This is the down-side of the clergy not talking about the Church’s teaching on marriage. People have to figure it out for themselves by trial and error. And the “errors” can be really painful, and irrevocable.