From a reader…
With contraception back in the news, a hypothetical question came to my mind. If a couple that has sterilized themselves converts to the faith, what would the church require of them? Contraceptive marital acts are immoral, so would the church require them to abstain from marital acts? To get the sterilization reversed (which can be cost prohibitive)? Or would the church see it more as a medical condition (albeit one that the couple brought upon themselves)?
Having repented of their sinful actions and having confessed their sins and having received absolution, they may receive Holy Communion and continue in their vocations to help each other get to heaven.
Now that the sterilization is a fact, they are not obliged to seek a reversal of the procedure. It is praiseworthy that they do and they may, but they are not strictly obliged. It is now and existing condition and they are not strictly obliged to reverse it.
They may engage in marital relations.
It seems to me that it would be good for that couple to live a continent life and pay close attention to penances and mortifications in an ongoing way.
At this point it is necessary to remind people that God cannot be fooled. Someone who would go in for a sterilization thinking “I’ll just confess it later and I am off the hook for good!” would be committing a truly appalling sin. Such an attitude would be perilous indeed and I would tremble for such a person’s fate. It shows a callousness about God’s mercy that might verge on being unforgivable without a sincere and deep conversion.
There is nothing that we poor little mortals can do that is so bad that God will not forgive it and remove the stain of the sin from our souls in confession provided that we are truly sorry and that we intend to amend our lives.