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Understanding Humanae Vitae: A female perspective

aflc_bomattlogoA monthly column by the Billings Ovulation Method Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOMATT). This is part two of a three part series that examines Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on human life, Humanae Vitae, from a female perspective.

“…concerning the moral laws governing marriage, that human intelligence has both the right and responsibility to control those forces of irrational nature which come within its ambit and to direct them toward ends beneficial to man…If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which we have just explained.” (Humanae Vitae #16, Recourse to Infertile Periods)

To practice the virtues, the human intellect and will must guide our emotions and feelings, and hence direct our actions. The cardinal virtues – prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance – can only be lived out in this way.

The virtue that applies in this particular case is that of temperance, under which the virtues of chastity and modesty lie.

We cannot teach the virtue of chastity and encourage the contraceptive mentality – they negate each other, whereas recourse to infertile periods using the Billings Ovulation Method supports chastity. The younger generation realises this hypocrisy and challenges us at every turn.

In speaking with the representatives of the Ministry of Education regarding the Health and Family Life Education Curriculum in schools, it was absolutely necessary to put forward the concept that Abstinence is a way of living, and if that is what we are teaching, then we cannot teach about contraception. They could not counter this line of argument.

It is also noteworthy that those who experience same-sex attraction are encouraged to practise chastity and abstinence, whereas the same message is not delivered as strongly to heterosexuals in relationships and marriage. Many Catholics remain quiet when confronted by this issue – We need to practise what we preach!

A woman’s fertility should be regarded as a part of who she is and should be respected as such, rather than being considered a ‘problem’ that needs a ‘pill to fix it’. St John Paul II clearly explained the difference between anti-procreative, which can be used to describe all artificial contraceptives, and non-procreative, which refers to the period of infertility when married couples engage in sexual intercourse, taking advantage of the natural cycle which allows couples to practice the virtue of chastity throughout marriage and hence is not contra to the moral law.

This lack of self-respect from a female perspective is the beginning of a spiral of consequences that manifests itself in a myriad of ways. As feminine sexuality is basically oriented towards affectivity, we need to be encouraged to think through the emotion, rather than act on it.

The whole idea of allowing ourselves to be used for the other’s pleasure has been misrepresented by the Radical Feminist as being empowering, as ‘becoming like men’ and as something to strive towards.

Rather than demanding respect and setting the bar for relationships from early, we have become the aggressor and initiator, and at the same time the victim.

“Since the contraceptive revolution, there has been a significant increase in Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), abortions, children out of wedlock and infidelity,” (Goya Productions, Questions On Bioethics) and, as a result, a lot of broken women.

As the conjugal act has been taken out of marriage, women bear the greater part of the consequence, and the results are telling.

A local paediatrician has indicated for years now that doctors prefer to take blood from males instead of females in the age group 15–22 because of the proliferation of STIs in our young women.

Post-abortion stress and trauma manifests itself from five to ten years later with over 20 different symptoms (both physically and psychologically) – who speaks about this?

Contact BOMA-TT at 384-1659 and billingstt@gmail.com, or visit www.billingstt.webs.com

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