Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Italian love for children — up to a point
We all know how extravagantly Italians love their children. You need only go into a restaurant to see the kids passed around, cuddled, indulged, adored. You'd think they would want lots of them, then. But any priest will tell you how hard it is to persuade young Italian adults to consider having more than one child. I was once passionately told that it would be cruel to have more than one child, because the parents (in this case about to wed—any children were still in the future) would have to divide their love, and any child would only get a portion instead of it all. It was vain for me to assure the couple that in fact single children usually get a pretty rough deal (that's something I know rather a lot about), and that whatever the childhood battles, children with siblings usually (I know, not always) grow up into happier, better-adjusted adults than their 'only' cousins.
And there is a darker side, too. The willingness, even eagerness, that some Italian parents show for the abortionist's knife. Here are three horror stories; one where parents decided to abort a twin with Downs Syndrome, the abortionists got the wrong one, for which they are now being investigated by the police, so the parents had another go and killed the other twin. The second story tells of a child wrongly diagnosed with a faulty oesophagus. The diagnosis was corrected (=perfectly healthy baby) as the poor child gasped for life on the abortionist's table, and finally expired. In the third story, a 13 year old girl was ordered to the abortionist by a judge and her parents, while she wept and begged for the life of her child.
Consolatrix afflictorum, ora pro nobis.