Dr Marius Turda (Oxford Brookes University): Catholicism, reproduction, and eugenics in interwar Hungary

Catholicism, reproduction, and eugenics in interwar Hungary

This paper looks at how eugenics shaped Catholic discussions on sexuality, reproduction and the protection of the family in Hungary during the interwar period. The main issue at the time was how to harmonise the interests of the state and the nation with the interests of individuals and families. The eugenic focus on reproduction intersected long-seated religious and cultural patterns of family life, which Hungarian Catholics considered unalterable. However, eugenics was not completely rejected by the Catholic Church. Whilst negative eugenic practices such as sterilisation and euthanasia were rejected, positive eugenics was considered an important medium through which the Catholic Church could voice its views on sexual morality, population policies and the protection of Hungarian racial qualities.