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Opinion: The Pandemic and the Contraceptive Mentality

Fear and the entitlement mentality have become the inseparable hallmarks of a consumer culture that coincided with the sexual revolution.

(Image: Jasmin Chew/Unsplash.com)

We take reasonable safety measures throughout our lives. We teach children to look both ways before crossing. Police and soldiers wear Kevlar body armor, surgeons and medical personnel don masks and gowns when necessary, and so on. But some precautions, such as contraception, are excessive, wrong, and betray irrational fears.

The widespread promotion of contraception is among the most destructive developments in our culture over the past half-century. The medical establishment introduced Dr. John Rock’s “pill” in the mid-Twentieth Century. The contraceptive pill uses chemistry to separate love-making from its natural purpose of conceiving babies. Its elder sibling, the condom, uses latex. The pill also fed the feminist liberation movement and accelerated the sexual revolution. The dissent that followed Pope Paul VI’s 1968 reaffirmation of the immorality of contraception shook the Church to its foundations. As a mere chemical concoction, the pill had a disproportionate effect on the culture and the world.

In the 1970s, country music star Loretta Lynn sang its praises in “The Pill”:

You wined me and dined me
When I was your girl.
Promised if I’d be your wife
You’d show me the world.

But all I’ve seen of this old world
Is a bed and a doctor bill
I’m tearin’ down your brooder house
‘Cause now I’ve got the pill.

In an interview years later, she said that many physicians told her that this song did more to promote the availability of birth control in rural areas than all the literature they’d distributed.

Few dare to acknowledge that the pill also released men from their sexual responsibilities, but nobody spoke of Men’s Liberation. The spike in unwed mothers, the recourse to abortion when contraception failed, the rampant sexually transmitted diseases, and collapsing demographics — all are the bitter fruits of the contraceptive mentality. Widespread acceptance of the pill elevated the old-fashioned condom to respectability. And the condom became the cultural symbol of “safe sex,” particularly during the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s.

The pro-contraception lobbies successfully demanded that widespread contraception prevents “unwanted pregnancies,” protects against disease, and saves lives. So promoting condoms in schools, our communities, and overseas became the conventional moral imperative. Indeed, advocates accused those who opposed condoms and other forms of contraception as socially irresponsible. Pro-life and anti-contraception Americans (alas, mostly Catholics) found themselves ostracized and isolated by the contraceptive culture.

Contraceptive technology promotes mutual masturbation as a human right, a sexual entitlement. But realities rooted in immutable rules of human nature are lurking beneath the surface of transitory pleasures and the superficial senses of security and liberation. The contraceptive mentality culturally institutionalized a deep fear of intimate human relations, the destruction of authentic marital love, and the dread of new life. A sexual entitlement mentality rooted in fear – not human freedom — is the underlying motive for contraception.

Fear and the entitlement mentality have become the inseparable hallmarks of a consumer culture that coincided with the sexual revolution. President Johnson’s “Great Society” presumed to solve most of the nation’s social problems by massive Federal spending. A good deal of the health care crisis is grounded in an insatiable appetite for ever-expanding free benefits. (The abuse of expensive emergency room treatment, for example, is well-documented in the insurance world.)

Today, fear and the demand that government (and others) allay those fears have become foundational to our culture. Politicians bribe their constituencies with ever-expanding entitlement programs regardless of available monetary reserves. We even think the earth’s climate depends upon government programs! The massive Federal debt that vastly exceeds the nation’s annual GDP provides statistical proof of the cost of our entitlement mentality. The fear of responsible budget cuts, for the moment, far exceeds the fear of economic collapse.

Within this cultural context, our response to the COVID pandemic was predictable. Cowering in fear, we demanded that the government protect us from every harmful possibility. Government authorities were only too happy to oblige with mandates that shut down the economy, ruined businesses, crippled lives, and promises to continue on and off for many years to come. The 2021 vaccine mandates are getting traction, despite their experimental status and dubious ethical methods in development. The mask mandates have returned to muzzle children who are hardly at risk.

So let’s connect some inconvenient and uncomfortable dots. The COVID protective face mask now has much in common with a condom. Like a condom, the face mask exaggerates the promise of freedom and safety. (Indeed, Dr. Fauci has a long history as a government health official. Before he mandated masks to protect against COVID, in the 1980s he promoted condoms to protect against AIDS.)

Just as those who oppose condoms are deemed irresponsible, those who reject the indiscriminate use of face masks and obsessive “social distancing” are deemed reckless murderers. Face masking in every social situation has become just as axiomatic – and essential – as promoting condoms in schools. But imposing such irrational fears on our children – like teaching them to use condoms in so-called family life programs — is indeed a form of child abuse.

Expecting absolute immunity from the Virus and the obsessive use of face masks (even by military honor guards at Arlington National Cemetery!) betrays an underlying fear of healthy human relations. This expectation of perfect safety describes the contraception mentality – chemical and condom — in a nutshell. It is noteworthy that big families were among the least likely to panic during the pandemic and, today, are the most likely to oppose mask mandates.

Our response to the pandemic crisis reveals the triumph of the unholy and corrosive contraceptive mentality. The iron grip will only break when we reject irrational fears and return to old-fashioned common sense, self-reliance, generosity of spirit, openness to new life, and trustful surrender to God’s providence.

But it may take the bitter medicine of hard times to bring us to our senses. Don’t allow the mask to obscure your view of that massive Federal debt.


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About Father Jerry J. Pokorsky 15 Articles
Father Jerry J. Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington. He is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Great Falls, Virginia.. He holds a Master of Divinity degree as well as a master’s degree in moral theology.

17 Comments

  1. Thank you too Father , for taking on a topic that is no less difficult than at the time when The Spirit spoke through St.Paul V1 , in the blessing through the Humane Vitae encyclical , which was also an occasion of the sword of sorrow and the revealing of the thoughts of many hearts afflicted by the subtle spirit of despair that holiness was beyond the reach of the ordinary , as much as The Church has ever been in the mission to dispel that lie .

    Thank God that in our times there are likely more tools and measures available – spiritual tools , not of the other means ( alone ) such as in chartings and all such ( ? unappealing ) themes , instead more of the means to have enough spiritual strength in lives more immersed in praise and adoration , from hearts given the means to requite The Love at higher levels such that the dignity from same as the rivers of Love that flowed in the Holy Family in families would bring forth more of the sweetness of The Yoke , to not feel depraved in self pity when called to do so .
    Thus the miracle to trust that a ‘ little ‘ can be enough and more in the Heart of The Lord who is there ever to multiply the good , that men and women need not fall for the false measures of the world in deciding what is best in each holy relationship ..

    Likely that all the Holy Fathers of our recent times have known and invoked the graces in the Divine Will , with great ardor , in order to help undo the flood waters of the dragon – the witness of Luisa of the Divine Will , who lived on the Sacred Host for 60 years , who took after the name of Mary Magdalene all being also the glimpses of the help given for our times afflicted by the idolatry of all sorts and its devastating effects .

    https://luisapiccarreta.co/?p=6428

    And the good hearted efforts of the Spiritual Fathers , such as in the above sharing of the truth , to help undo the lingering effects of the cynicism and despair with its condoning of the rebellion of the self will that manifested on the occasion of the H.V . blessing .
    May these blessings too be multiplied such that the Crown of holiness and its Light and Love from The Mother are to transform the wounds of the afflictions from the virus too , to become that of gratitude and its joy –

    http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Pope-Francis-Pandemic-Prayer.pdf

    Thank you and God bless !

  2. Pregnancy, STDs, and sexual sin: 100% preventable. Don’t have sex outside of marriage. Don’t sin. (Rape excluded because that is not a choice).

    Covid: No guarantee. People of ALL ages are getting it, even kids who then spread it to vulnerable adults. You might just have cold symptoms, or you might die. Wearing a mask is not sinful and it will minimize spread. It’s not a 100% safe-sure, but it helps.

    Unless the point of this article was that we should all totally isolate in order to prevent getting Covid, it does not make sense to compare it to sex.

    Contraceptives are morally wrong.
    Masks are not morally wrong.

    You can’t equate the two.

    I will agree that we often live in fear. But if I truly lived in total fear, I would become a hermit on a mountain isolated from everyone. I have no expectations that a mask will 100% make me safe from Covid, but I wear it to minimize as much as possible the spread of Covid to others and to myself. Eventuality we are all going to catch it. This just slows the process so that we can take care of those who become very ill. And that is a corporal act of mercy.

    • “You can’t equate the two.”

      The author is not equating the two in terms of morality; rather, he is remarking on the mentality (contraceptive in nature and principle) that so many people have (and I’ve seen it again and again these past 18 months), which believes that we should have quick, tidy fixes to all of our problems, and that all such fixes should make our lives easier and free of suffering, pain, and difficulty. And, no, he is certainly not saying that “we should all totally isolate in order to prevent getting Covid”; on the contrary, he’s saying quite the opposite!

      • It is simply a strange argument that does not help the conversation. Wearing a mask to protect an unvaccinated child or even your own health can be an act of charity and an expression of virtue. Wearing a condom is quite the opposite. Faith is not some fairy tale force that rejects reasonable use of resources. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It requires discernment and reasonable decisions to use what is available to help us and help our neighbors.
        Dan Hoffman

        • Dan,
          I don’t think the author was comparing the specific morality between masks and condoms. Rather, he was talking about the generic mindset of people in general.

          • Well, I am adamantly opposed to contraception and adamantly support masks and vaccines, so how does that equate to a contraceptive mentality, my friend? Our church culture is basically a bunch of cliques talking inside their own little boxes to affirm one another and chastise the “others”. There are “sinners” who are right on some matters and there are “saints” who are wrong on others.
            Reason and faith go together. Science is also not opposed to faith. Lastly, I would argue that fear can also be reflected in behaviors where people think God will protect them when in fact He did so through the means and resources he provides through our creativity and ingenuity.The good priest’s effort to tie contraceptives into the mask argument may apply in some cases but it does not apply from a reasoned approach to a public problem. Again, it does not advance the discussion.

            Thanks for your response,
            Dan Hoffman

          • Dan,
            Based on your comments, I think you might be bringing too much baggage to this conversation.

            The writer was not saying that people who wear masks are evil or that people who wear masks can’t be Catholic. I’m quite certain that he wasn’t talking about faithful Catholics who are against artificial contraception but who feel that wearing masks are appropriate.

            Rather, he was merely noticing certain parallels between a contraceptive mentality and a mask mentality. This is not to say that this mentality is operative in every person who wears a mask: it clearly is not.

            However, it does explain [at least in part] why liberals seem to like the mask whereas conservatives find it to be problematic [and sometimes counterproductive].

    • The way I read the article, or at least the bias I brought into it, is that we as a society are way, way to reliant on various drugs and medications and “artificial” this or that in order to live our lives and stay “healthy.”
      .
      Contraception/sterilization is simply not needed. Abstainance works. Artificial human milks to feed a baby aren’t really needed either, except that we as a society 1) don’t know how to breastfeed [it is learned behavior, not really instinctual] and 2) aren’t not set up to have women do that.
      .
      We “require” all sorts of medications to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, and even blood sugar because we have such a poor diet. Most Americans aren’t nearly as healthy as they think they are; obesity is rampant, even children are starting to get hypertension, cholesterol and obesity because they spend all day nearly every day playing video games. That’s also a recipe for low Vit D levels, espcially for those of us in the upper Mid-West.
      .
      SC2 attacks the aged, obese, diabetics. There is very little we can do about getting older. There is a lot people can do about obesity and controlling blood sugar.

    • The most wonderful thought in the world is realizing we are alive. Then live accordingly. That’s the way to heaven.

  3. This is a truly excellent article, but I get the sense that there’s something missing.

    I think the comments regarding entitlement are correct, but I suspect that the entitlement mentality came first and that artificial contraception flowed from this and subsequently reinforced it.

    But what initiated the entitlement mentality: comfort? fear? Marxism? Just some thoughts.

  4. You are a shepherd! Lead your flock! This discussion does not bring us closer to Christ…

    There are half truths here mixed with infallible teachings of the Church. For the record, we do not support mask mandates.

    It is profoundly offensive to equate masks with condoms. This is equally divisive language that labels those who freely choose to wear the mask, because they have seen the ugly suffering and contagious nature of this disease.

    • Mr. Wilkinson,
      If you’re saying that men are more intelligent, I have to kindly disagree. I suspect that men and women are equally intelligent or, at least, have an equal capacity for intelligence.

  5. I fear the good father is writing a load of tosh by linking the wrongs associated with so called sexual liberalisation (where he correctly identifies many issues) with the reasonable precautions and social limitations required by the very nasty and indiscriminate Covid virus that has already killed so many people ( all created in the image of God) around the world.

  6. The Reverend Father is far too lenient: where is the condemnation of those women who would avoid the Eve’s Curse with anesthesia in labor, men who avoid Adam’s by letting unnatural machines plough the earth, sow, and reap, instead of living by the sweat of their brows (modern combines are often air conditioned!), and reprobates of both sexes who refuse to live with the Divinely-ordained consequences of their Sin by taking antibiotics for diseases, venereal and otherwise!

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