Fr. Shenan J. Boquet: Creatively Healing the Demographic Winter

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By Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, Human Life International,

What do you think of when you think of Italy? For many people what comes to mind is the food (pasta, pizza), the architecture (St. Peter’s, the Leaning Tower of Pisa), the natural beauty and the beaches, or the pervasive presence of thousands of years of history.

But there’s something else that also comes to mind: the image of the large, riotous, happy Italian family, with aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews galore, tons of grandchildren running underfoot, and a Nonna (grandmother) happily feeding the whole crowd of them while looking on proudly.

Unfortunately, however, all the data suggests that the Italian family of this kind is quickly becoming as much a relic of the past as any of those moldering villas perched on the hillsides of abandoned medieval towns that one sees driving across central Italy. In recent decades, the birth rate in Italy has simply collapsed, to the point that Italy now has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, at just 1.27 children born per woman on average: far below the replacement level of 2.1. …

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