I could probably dedicate this entire blog to chronicling the non-Catholic advice given at the Catholic Answers Forum (I’m not linking to it because I don’t want to help Catholics honestly searching for help with their faith to find the place), but I won’t. It would be too depressing. I did want to respond to this one posted in a comment at Dalrock’s blog, though, since it gets into Catholic apologetics more than is on-topic there. I won’t quote the whole thing, but the context is that a Catholic wife went to her priest for advice because her husband doesn’t want to have procreative sex, so he’s basically blackmailing her: have sex with a condom or get me off some other way, or I’m going to turn to porn. And the priest told her to go along with it for the sake of keeping the marriage together. Now, we only have her side of the story, but I’m going to take it as given for the sake of discussion, because this kind of thing does happen.
The problem here is that a Catholic wife with a Catholic husband went to her Catholic priest and got non-Catholic advice. Whether non-Catholics at Dalrock’s disagree with Church teachings is irrelevant to two people who took vows in a Church where openness to procreation is one of the absolute prerequisites for marriage.
Note that the priest doesn’t tell her to obey her husband out of obedience to God — that would be too traditional. No, he tells her to go along with his sinful desires (grudgingly and tearfully, from the sounds of it) in hopes that the marriage will magically get better (or that the kids will get old enough that she can blow up the marriage without hurting them, probably). So he’s still coming from the female imperative, encouraging her to choose to participate in sin rather than saying, “Lord, I’m putting my faith in You and following Your Word by submitting joyfully; please use me to bring my husband closer to You.” See how this priest’s advice actually lets her husband partly off the hook, whereas actual wifely submission would put all the responsibility on him? See how it results in her thinking that she — as the more spiritual, moral partner, being female — has to “help” him do the right thing?
Also, as far as we know, the priest hasn’t visited with the husband to find out what the heck is going on and correct this member of his flock if necessary, which should have been his next stop after talking to her. But that would probably be too confrontational; and besides, we all know that women are the spiritual ones in the family and men are pretty much hopeless brutes, so why bother.
Also, many priests of a certain generation are just as dismissive of Church teachings on sex as anyone else. It’s not unusual for them to shrug this kind of thing off with, “Oh, it’s not that big a deal; no one’s perfect.” I’ve even heard of priests telling people to stop bringing it to Confession. I know people with several children whose priests have offered to give them a dispensation for using birth control — even though they have no such authority and no such thing exists. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some of that coming into play here, with the priest wishing she’d just get with the program like the other 90% of Catholics who ignore the teachings on procreation and stop bugging him.
These “micro-managed rules” (which they aren’t: “no contraceptive sex ever” isn’t micro-managing; it’s actually one very simple rule) make sense and work just fine, in the context of an overall Catholic life. Not so much when the spouses are immersed in the female imperative; have been taught since Vatican II that you can pick and choose from these “old-fashioned” rules; and have a cowardly, modernist priest who only makes things worse. It’s not surprising that non-Catholics think it’s a lot of arbitrary nonsense with this kind of guidance happening.