The Billings Ovulation Method Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOMA-TT) is a Non-Profit Company which works under the umbrella of the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission. In this new monthly column, BOMA-TT will share theology, philosophy and scientific evidence concerning human sexuality, which can enhance family life and promote the virtue of chastity.
Recently, the Billings Ovulation Method Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOMA-TT) was asked to speak about the Natural Law and the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM). The Magisterium of the Catholic Church teaches that Natural Family Planning (NFP) respects God’s order. Practising NFP means that the couple recognise that their fertility is a gift from God, (not a disease or a problem to be cured with pills), and they learn to cooperate with the natural rhythms that are built into their bodies, particularly the woman’s body, since the man is always fertile. The husband who truly loves his wife will not ask her to treat her fertility as a disease or a problem by expecting her to take the pill or use IUDs or other artificial and harmful drugs to stop her fertility. He will instead learn to cooperate with nature, learning to appreciate her natural cycle, when she is fertile, when she is not, and thus plan with her whether this month is a good time to try to achieve a pregnancy or whether they should plan to postpone a pregnancy – in which case a time of abstinence is necessary. This time of abstinence can be agreed upon by both spouses, making the decision about family planning truly a couple one.
Billings is in accord with the natural law and is used:
1. To help couples identify their naturally occurring periods of fertility and infertility so they can plan their families in achieving or postponing pregnancy.
2. To monitor reproductive health and all females have the right to know what her body is telling her throughout her cycle. By learning this method women can detect any abnormalities in their reproductive system early.
#1956 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states: The natural law, present in the heart of each man and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties.
In other words we have all received our lives as a gift from a loving Creator and we can easily figure out what is natural simply by examining how we have been created. For example, eyes are for seeing, not to be used as marbles; ears are for hearing, not for storing beans! Hands are for caressing and caring, though some use them to kill – such a contradiction and a clear breach of the natural law.
A country’s laws until recently have been based on natural laws, so it is a serious offence to kill or to steal, etc. Our bodies too are governed by natural law since we have been made male and female and we can easily figure out that the female body makes no sense without the male body, and vice versa. St John Paul II has said that the body has a nuptial meaning, in that it is clear that men and women have been created to make a gift of self to each other in sexual intercourse, and it is why homosexual acts are not natural – they go against nature. When we recognise and act according to what nature has given, our lives are ordered to the good. God has given us free choice and we are capable and often make very bad choices or decisions which hurt us and others, e.g. abortion, adultery, divorce, incest, theft, murder, etc. So it makes very good sense to cooperate with nature because that is what causes our lives to flourish and causes us to grow in holiness.
St John Paul II stated that the natural law is itself God’s eternal law and leads us to the ultimate “good”. He also wrote on the dignity of the human person and stated that a person is made to be loved and is not an object to be used!