Contraception: A Psychological Prostitution

Dominic Pedulla - Contraception 4


Editor\’s Note: The author\’s original title was \”The Self-Gift Implicit to the Conjugal Act: Is Not Contraception, at Least Partially, Mutual Reciprocal Repudiation?\”

(Fourth in a four-part series)

Here is my own speculative TOB-enabled scientific  interpretation: the gift of  bearing new life belongs uniquely to the woman. In God’s plan for the woman, in particular, to be truly happy in the conjugal relationship she must be able to be fully and unconditionally loved for who she is; that is, accepted fully for the unique person she is, without any compromises.

Because her identity is more mysterious on account of this hidden life-giving power (than, say, the man’s is), she of necessity and without being able to do anything about it must communicate her life-giving identity as part of her person when in the conjugal act she communicates her whole being. This existential nakedness (“apocalypsis”, “unveiling”), though only remotely hinted at by the more obvious, physical nakedness of the conjugal act (remember John Paul II said the body is the sacrament of the inner mystery of the person) is the place for the deep and intimate self-revelation the woman will express in this act.

This is dangerous territory! It is a dangerously intimate self-revelation but also self-exposure. In fact, affirming love and the need for authentic procreative self-actualization appear to be so important that they constitute the only reasons sufficient for nature to permit this intimate and dangerous core self-exposure.

The procreative dimension of woman is therefore a special dilemma in the unfolding of her feminine life, fraught with anxiety; this unique psychosexual integrative challenge presents the \”opportunity\” or susceptibility to exploitative manipulation because it is especially vulnerable to suggestions capable of exploiting fear.

Contraception introduces the diabolically clever arrangement whereby the woman – more so than the man aware of the anxiety-prone integrative challenge posed by her procreative dimension — is deceived into thinking this core challenge to self-integration need not be faced boldly, indeed can be eliminated altogether. But this is a betrayal by the man, a kind of psychological prostitution, where her deepest self is repudiated, her greatest dignity trampled.

Trust is violated when a person is not accepted in her most fundamental person-self, precisely where the intrinsic language of the act is one of assumed complete giving and complete acceptance, and precisely at the very moment of her most intimate self-unveiling. Is this not why we veil the most sacred things?

John Paul II said what the rest of us could not say – could not know even – and that is why we now can say the rest. His fundamental insights tell us why contraception is associated with adverse mental health outcomes and just plain unhappiness in women, as we have already seen. Please look once again at what I wrote Judie Brown about the reasons abortion is that special kind of demon we may only eradicate “with prayer and fasting”; i.e., with enormous difficulty.

In nature\’s plan, the woman is \”chosen\” from all others to receive love from a man, and then the child conceived is the living incarnation, symbol, and visible reminder (not unlike the living Eucharistic \”anamnesis\” of Luke 22:19) that she was a uniquely treasured and esteemed gift. Just as we can only love because Jesus has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn. 4:19), similarly the woman can only properly love the child conceived if that child is the living symbol of a genuine love she first received from the child\’s father.

Contraceptive \”love\” is a betrayal; a degradation, a form of sexual depersonallization of the woman, not consciously admitted however. The shame from this is so great that (quite literally according to the medical and psychological literature), she in many cases would take her own life rather than see that trauma exposed. Similarly, she will abort her child because, in the absence of any real path to repersonalization for herself, she will have recourse to the depersonalizing of her own child. That way, her own shame can be \”eradicated\”; i.e., in the unconscious mind of the abortion-inclined woman, the shame dies with the child.

This tells us not only why abortion occurs, but also how little this all has to do with the purely abstract question of a child\’s right to life, at least at the moment a woman discovers she has a pregnancy she does not want. Moreover, it tells us why some \”prolifers\” assiduously avoid tackling contraception. Perhaps they want to save babies, but perhaps many only want to do so until the moment of steep personal cost comes, until the moment they begin to look foolish. Unfortunately, that moment is also the moment of truth in the minds of women, the core issue that will eventually win back the minds and hearts of women to our side. Until that moment comes, the baby will always be the cancer they fear more than any other.

John Paul II has shown us the key going forward. Abortion is about contraception – “fruits of the same tree” —  and contraception in turn is about women and their happiness in a unique way. When we begin to succeed in exorcizing contraception from the culture, and not a minute before, we will begin to build a true culture of life that can win on abortion.

Dominic M. Pedulla MD, FACC, CNFPMC, ABVM, ACPh

President, The Edith Stein Foundation

 © 2013. Rights Reserved.


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13 thoughts on “Contraception: A Psychological Prostitution”

  1. I question your sincerity on this topic, Dr. Pedulla. Why aren’t you combating the assaults against our youth who are being taught at a very tender age vices instead of virtue and obedience.

    As far back as 1973, Alan Guttmacher, who was head of PPFA (Planned Parenthood … at the time, said they would secure the right to abortion through sex education. …One of the philosophies of the Humanist Manifestos …

    “Growing In Love”, with imprimatur, is the popular sexualized catechetical series in the U S bishop’s schools. It’s a nightmare of explicitly detailed
    information given to youth that only parents should be discussing with their
    children at the appropriate age and in the appropriate manner. Not only has sex education been condemned by Pontiffs. Sex education is forbidden classroom material. However, now it is claimed a right to know that has been proven to destroy Catholic principles. Why is it mandated in parochial schools and CCD classes?

    Little girls beginning in kindergarten are being prepared for their later abortions. Only 10% of the teachers in parochial schools accept the teachings against birth controlling. 50% of teachers believe abortion is acceptable, and 60% believe
    remarriages are acceptable and still remain a Catholic. Who hires these
    people? Why don’t the pro-life groups defend our youth, or the Cardinal Newman Socieity or The Saint Joseph Foundation??
    Why are you financially supporting what is destroying Catholic principles?

    Why the silence, Dr. Pedulla? Is it approval?
    It was the Catholic vote that secured the current administration in Washington.
    For detailed information go to: or read the book, “Sex
    Education the Final Plague” by Randy Engel, or see ……..and much more.

  2. This is from Dr. Pedulla:

    Pretentious? Gibberish? Isn’t the whole point of this to expose those who pretend to love the owner while denigrating the uterus and pretending it’s OK? And did this insight not come from women themselves? Conditional love and respect is a pretense, a lie, a counterfeit. It isn’t surprising that those conditioned to accept themselves only after quarantining and hiding away precious aspects of themselves would react this way.

    But the point is not to accept it. We love all of you not just some; we love you unconditionally rather than only when you modify yourself to meet our standards; we love the fruit of womanhood rather than pretend to love you yet despise its full powers, for who can love the fruit yet despise the tree?

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  4. Only 10% of the teachers in the U S bishop’s schools accept the teachings of the Catholic Church in regards to birth controlling, abortion and remarriages. Who highers these destroyers of Catholic principles?

  5. Young adults are not in agreement: “… study shows most young adults who identify as Catholic say “the church’s teachings on sexuality and birth control are out of date” (60%)….”
    “….Interestingly, among those who attended a Catholic or faith-related school growing up, 65% said they have some misgivings about the church’s stance on sexuality and birth control, slightly above the average….”

  6. Amen to Brother Bannon, but I would add that delving into the very fertile waters of “mysterious” and “grave” may entail laying a foundation of what it means to be a properly ordered man or woman, the genius of authentic masculinity and femininity, and disorders that result from one of a number of deformations, both current and historical.

    Rome would need to summon a colossal amount of courage to address an issue, that would cut across so much of the Catholic landscape, and do so in a way that doesn’t leaves us fuzzy on the proper respect, administration, and application of one of the Seven Sacraments of Holy Mother Church. The tepid soup of our current understanding seems to sate whatever appetite there exists to do as much.

    To treat the matter properly is to trace back the errors of the past 50 odd years with regards to the assaults on the aforementioned and it would truly astound if any one at the Vatican could possibly conceive of such an idea..


    1. Only 10% of the teachers in U S bishop’s school follow the teachings of the Catholic Church in regards to birth controlling, abortion and remarriages. The youth in parochial schools are useful for destroying Catholic principles. The St. Joseph Foundation, Texas canonists say parents have no recourse to removing these collaborators who likewise are victims of teaching unholiness. So who hires and who financially supports these educators? Claimed pro-life groups will not come out of their comfort zones nor risk their careers in order to crusade against the ravaging of young minds in claimed Catholic schools. The “Desire to Destroy” is on track.

  7. Catholic authors always return to this topic which in some venues like National Catholic Register, receives literally hundreds of comments in the combox which an essay on the Beatitudes would never get…never. But outside the internet is a different Catholic reality where Popes (A) have not censured for fifty years major Euro theologians who dissented on birth control…e.g. Karl Rahner and Bernard Haring ( in fact, Archbishop Amato then ranked 2nd at the CDF praised Rahner as orthodox to John Allen at a post humous Rahner symposium in 2004 at the Lateran)…and (B) no Pope has expended the labor to raise this issue into clear infallibility by using ex cathedra which alone can solve a deep rupture in the diachronic consensus of major theologians on an issue as to its being possibly universal ordinary magisterium. Rahner for years edited the Enchiridion Symbolorum which keeps track of issues as to their degree of authority and he did not see the issue as solved in the universal ordinary magisterium perhaps because many early statements of saints like Clement of Alexandria mimic the Stoic position exactly ( now finally rejected by the Church) and Jerome tells you in “Against Jovinianus” that he gets much of his marriage ideas from “our Seneca”. “Our Seneca” is quite a phrase since Seneca also believed in infanticide as did many stoics. It would be like Pope John Paul II writing “our Sartre”. Unthinkable now…normal to Jerome somehow. In any event, some early saints opposed contraception but they also opposed sex without procreative intent. That was literally the Stoic position and half of it is rejected by the Church now that since the mid 19th century, she has allowed the use of the infertile times of the month deliberately. The internet Catholicism which is often convert is unaware that the explicit permission to use the natural methods is recent….the opposition to contraception is old…but early saints would have objected to NFP ( excepting Augustine from whom the modern papal position comes…Jerome tells you he opposes all sex that does not intend procreation…Augustine allowed as venial sin asking for the marriage debt without procreative intent and Aquinas followed him and the modern Popes accepted part of that and rejected their venial sin in the asking).
    So the anti contraception was always there but in its earliest form, it is unclear if it came from Christianity or from Stoicism for some theological authors who are trying to be truthful rather than a priori about its early history. The other problem theologians probably had was that only about perhaps 8 Popes out of 266 seemed to have written a thing about it. Anti contraception occurred in early saints, in early Councils and went from thence into the decretals or old Church law but so did a pro slavery idea that lasted til 1917 as did the anti contraception idea.
    So when major theologians like Rahner and Haring (not Curran and Kung) dissented from seeing this issue as universal ordinary magisterium, one can see their hesitancy. John Paul and Ratzinger did understand their hesitancy but never said it out loud. But they also never censured Rahner or Haring though Curran and Kung were censured by them for a wider matrix of dissent that went beyond
    Solution dogmatically? A Pope must solve this contraception issue ex cathedra and that is what ex cathedra is for: ending debate caused by the more nebulous area of the universal ordinary magisterium ( and whether it’s present). Prior to the IC encyclical, one could sincerely err with Aquinas and Augustine on the IC. After it was clearly defined in the ex cathedra form in the mid 19th century, one could not take their position. LG 25 says that one must obey the Pope in non infallible areas of great moment but outside LG 25 the Church approves moral theology tomes that make an exception of sincere, prayerful, post counsel dissent ( see Germain Grisez’s ” Christian Moral Principles” page 854 which is similar to Sect.8 of Ott’s Intro to the Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma though it drops his “expert” caveat).

    1. Lumen gentium para. 8 states the Church now merely, “subsists IN” and no longer IS will never be an interposing and formidable contradiction as the Catholic Church is meant to be in society. No ex cathedra statements will ever come from this church without boundaries that is a ‘countersyllabus’ to Supreme and Magisterial condemnations.

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  9. Pingback: Contraception: A Psychological Prostitution - CATHOLIC FEAST - Sync your Soul

  10. Firstly, I found the cultish eye graphic, in the “About The Author” bio, a bit disconcerting. Some of us who like to trace the Serpent’s ascent into the Garden find similar symbolism along the way. Also, including the libertine-exhibitionist, “Madonna”- (the living, breathing actively-pagan blasphemy of The Mother of God) embracing Paglia, among your favorite authors, seems a bit odd for a seeming Catholic-savant, but it does play nicely into my point.

    I agree with your main thesis. Contraception, and it’s accompanying mentality, is the genesis of every social ill in society.

    It seems to me, since The Fall, the basic fault of every man and woman can be clearly seen.

    The basic fault of Eve is she wants to be a “God”. The corresponding fault of Adam is his abandonment of God for Eve’s newly-learned debauchery.

    Original Sin, and the ability to destroy an entire order (man) in Creation, and the efforts that were required by The Most Holy Trinity to save him, cannot have been merely a dietary whim or some casual disobedience. Scripture is full of endless examples of Israel’s harlotry. Spiritual gluttony? Not so much..

    Everyone of us, no matter the culture or education, know women who use their sexuality to acquire their heart’s desires. Every time and every soul knows of men who abandon God (The Faith, Family, Country..)to satisfy carnal appetites.

    Women and men share equal responsibility in the sad state of contemporary man. Women are not angels and men are not devils. This truth is hard for any stripe of feminism to accept. A man of the world, flesh, or the devil usually cowers before such wisdom, fearing the woman’s ultimate reprisal, but men from St. Augustine’s good city will spurn the rancid apple, even if it means denying themselves access to the satisfaction of the sweetest of sensual desires.

    Contraception and abortion are not forced on any women, excepting the poor souls in China, who are degraded slaves of International conglomerates, and public-enemy #1 for child-hating Beijing. Pray for these poor martyrs of authentic femininity much.

    As many other celebrated authors have noted, feminism is the idea, contraception it’s putrid incense, abortion it’s dark sacrament, and lesbianism it’s twisted practice.

    For the last 20 years, America has elected pro-abort, pro-death, and anti-family politicians based solely on the strength of women. There was no majority of men who voted for Clinton or Obama. Women were responsible. Today, sodomy and abortion find it’s statistical support among women, not men.

    Even the allegedly right-leaning FOX-news was all in a tizzy, in the devastating aftermath of November’s election, imagining they would have to abandon even the lip service they give to “Life-issues” to attract women to vote for Karl Rove’s love interests, otherwise known as Establishment Republicans. Allowing some argument against the filthy temple practices that sodomites employ or confronting the homophiles, that are their co-conspirators? No. Tell me the horrors of a San Francisco bath-house, the past five decades, (with many more times the STD-deaths then babies killed in late-term infanticide) would not even rival Gosnell’s House of Horrors! FOX at least is not hypocritical. The network is awash with same.

    The problems even in Holy Mother Church seem to owe to men refusing to be masculine, fatherly, shaking with fear at some dread feminist brow-beating which reduces them to a fawning, pathetic effeminate state.

    I’m Italian. At a wedding once, a cousin, who is a bit friendly with the boys, shall we say, was the butt of several jokes at a reception. Someone’s unrelated date, a nice young man, after a couple drinks, decided to join in assailing our cousin’s poor sense of modesty. We had to hold people back. He wondered why everyone turned on him. We had to remind him that we can say things about our cousin because we’re her family.

    Only Catholics can speak to other members in the Catholic family about struggles in Catholicism. The same for any other ethnicity or race. Men must speak to men and women to women, with one proviso..

    We must be honest. Charitably admonishing the sinner is no..walk in The Garden.


  11. Very deep and interesting insights, especially the suggestion that the life of the child is considered only after the woman tries to “repair” the unrealized de-personalization of herself. I think many women accept contraception as a matter of course, as a sort of societal expectation: that after earning a college degree she should work at least a few years to realize a payback for her efforts before starting a family, or to work and save money for the down payment on the American dream of home ownership. Or maybe she accepts contraception to keep peace with her spouse. There may be many factors involved. But, with the help of Divine inspiration, along with some self confidence derived through maturity, she can step away from the path of others’ expectations and find her own way.

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