Are You Bad If You Don’t Have Kids?

No. If that were the case all of our priests and religious women would be “bad.”

I sense that what you may be asking might fall under a few different categories:

1) A single person who wishes not to marry.

or

2) A married person who simply doesn’t want to have children.

The first part enables me to talk about the vocation to the single life. Some people do not feel called to be married. They are typically fine with being single and live lives of holiness in doing so. If they never marry nor have children they are not doing anything sinful.

The second situation is more complex. One of the requirements to be married in the Church is to be “open to the procreation of children” meaning that we don’t use barrier methods to prohibit conception (with the exception of using contraception for another valid medical purpose and not to intend to cause a contraceptive effect). That said the Church also says that we have a responsibility to space the births of our children. In doing so we use natural family planning as opposed to contraception which uses the natural signs of ovulation and science to predict fertility. The Church asks that we abstain during the fertile cycles in order to space the births of our children.

A further complication…what if one cannot have biological children? The Church doesn’t prohibit these couples from marrying nor are they deemed “less than” because they do not have kids. They are called to unity and to remain together in marriage however despite the circumstance. For some adoption is possible, for others it is not. These couples are not “bad” but are called to live out their marriages in union with one another (and God) despite the fact that they can’t have children.

So, no…it is not “bad” to not have children. It is sinful to use birth control to avoid getting pregnant in the eyes of the Church or to not be open to the possibility that God is calling you to be a parent. But in general, it is not bad to not have children and there are plenty of people in the Church (myself included) who do not have children.

Mike Hayes

Mike Hayes

Mike co-founded BustedHalo.com in 2001. Currently, Mike is the director of campus ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. A frequent speaker on ministering to young adults, Mike is the author of "Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in Their 20s and 30s" and "Loving Work: A Spiritual Guide to Finding the Work We Love and Bringing Love to the Work We Do."