Episode 130

For Nolan | ACW130


June 28th, 2021

43 mins 39 secs

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About this Episode

Are wet dreams sinful? Are there any exceptions in which getting a vasectomy would be permitted?

Ask Christopher West is a weekly podcast in which Theology of the Body Institute President Christopher West and his beloved wife Wendy share their humor and wisdom, answering questions about marriage, relationships, life, and the Catholic faith, all in light of John Paul II’s beautiful teachings on the Theology of the Body.

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Patron Question:
I submitted a question to you a few weeks ago but I HAD to thank you for recommending John Paul IIs "Jewelers Shop." It has changed me, maybe forever. Utterly. Also, your beautiful words regarding Elisabeth Leseur: I was aware of her but it was wonderful to hear. She is one of my “special saints.” Finally, I'm doing a doctorate on spirituality, embodiment, and dementia. I see so much in Theology of the Body that relates. Maybe I can someday work with you on issues related to aging. It’s a challenging field, dementia and TOB. God bless! I Adore you both!

Question 2:
Christopher, how would you approach the topic of wet dreams? To me they seem involuntary or uncontrolled, and the sometimes very lustful content of them shocks me. Since I don't masturbate or watch porn anymore, and desire to live chastely. I have them about once a week, and when I wake up, I'm usually a little bit confused about my body and my mind.

Qestion 3:
I just listened to Matt Fradd's latest interview with you and found it beautiful. I'm a father of four who's just coming up on forty this year and was really struck by your reflections on parenting, growing older, and God's Grace throughout it all. My wife and I both really enjoyed it.

Speaking of my wife, we have been married for almost twelve years and have four beautiful children. We met in church and were, right out of the gate, practitioners of and advocates for the Theology of the Body and Natural Family Planning. Yet now, I find myself waiting for a urologist consultation to get a vasectomy.

I'm in a position where it is unsafe for my wife to become pregnant. In fact, my doctor said he normally dissuades young men from getting them but is making an exception because of my wife's situation.

Being married for over a decade and being around other long-lasting marriages has revealed a lot of otherwise conservative Catholic couples with lots of kids who use contraception. I cannot see any demonstrable reason why it's bad, in an otherwise healthy marriage, unlike abuses like porn or alcohol addiction.

So, between our medical situation and my lived experience, I'm struggling. I understand there's Natural Family Planning, but we’ve experienced two surprise pregnancies and we honestly view it now with suspicion.

That's where I'm at. I've talked to priests about this and other strong Catholics. Their advice always is, "The Church's teaching is clear but you are right to protect your wife." Again, it was a wonderful talk with Matt Fradd and I'm sure God led us to it for multiple reasons. I hope you can give me some clarity to square my conscience with Church teaching.

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Christopher and Wendy hope their advice is helpful to you, but they are not licensed counseling professionals. If you are dealing with serious issues, please consult our list of trusted professionals.

Featuring music by Mike Mangione.