June 23, 2021

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Book Advice: Childlessness in the Middle Ages - Vatican News

Book Advice: Childlessness in the Middle Ages – Vatican News

In fact, a “family year” should have been held in the Middle Ages, as the Catholic Church celebrates today. In a recent book by Regina Toepfer, one learns about the issue of “childlessness” 700 years ago, and how church, society, and medicine have greatly shaped marriage and the associated understanding of marriage.

It’s really surprising that no one had any scientific knowledge of how to conceive children until shortly before WWII. In Regina Toepfer’s work “Childlessness. Medieval long-awaited parenting, rejection, and regret “is about reassessing the topic of pregnancy and childbirth in general. Toepfer argues that childlessness is not a biological fate, but rather a social and cultural form. Theology here plays a crucial role. In this way one also learns how. Dealing with the topic is complex and multi-layered within the Church.

Listen to book review by Mario Galgano

What defines Toepfer’s book is its connection to current discussions about sperm donation, adoption, child freedom, and motherhood in general. Apparently, fertility and sterility were discussed dynamically in the Middle Ages. There have been noticeable differences in theology, medicine and law, and also in narrative literature, says Toepfer. Childlessness was a big problem for some, and a perfect example for others, if you consider “tile culture”. The book also deals with the causes of these assessments, but also with historical changes. In this way, the different styles of narration become apparent during the author’s work. And she concluded that this shaped the way we deal with childlessness until the present time. Anyone reading Toepfer’s book actually comes to the conclusion that he could have been good in the Middle Ages, the pamphlet “Amoris Laetita” was actually published at that time.

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To take notes:

Regina Toepfer: Childlessness. He longed for parenthood and rejected it and repented in the Middle Ages. Posted by JB Metzler Verlag, Berlin 2020. Price: Approx 30 €.

Review of Mario Galgano.

(Vatican News)