Tacit Consent: The Church and Birth Control in Northern Italy
Article first published online: 22 JUN 2011
© 2011 The Population Council, Inc.
Population and Development Review
Volume 37, Issue 2, pages 361–374, June 2011
How to Cite
Dalla-Zuanna, G. (2011), Tacit Consent: The Church and Birth Control in Northern Italy. Population and Development Review, 37: 361–374. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2011.00414.x
- Issue published online: 22 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 22 JUN 2011
This article employs novel documentation to examine ways in which the Church's moral rules on contraception were (or were not) communicated to parishioners in a predominantly Catholic context in a period of rapid fertility decline: the diocese of Padua, in the northeastern Italian region of Veneto, during the first half of the twentieth century. The account is based on documents that have until now been overlooked: the moral cases discussed during the periodic meetings among Padua priests in the years 1916–58, and the written answers provided by priests in response to a question asked of them concerning their efforts to combat the limiting of births. This documentation reveals the limited effect on the reproductive behavior of the position of the Catholic Church against birth control.