ROME, January 21, 2004 ( – In the opening lecture of a series at the basilica of St. John Lateran, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone analyzed the “discouraging and troubling” transformation of family life in a society marked by “very rapid evolution.” 

Cardinal Bertone, the Archbishop of Genoa, remarked that the contemporary society is guided by the “principle of autonomy,” which is wrongly applied even to family life. The family, he said, has traditionally been “the locus for the transmission of life, values, love, and education in the faith.” But today it is marked by “the negation of life, improper education (in disobedience, immorality, and infidelity), violence, indifference, active hostility to the faith.” In too many households today, he remarked, the traditional role of the father in forming family life is now being played by television, the computer, and the internet. 

After sketching an extremely negative picture of contemporary family life in Europe, the cardinal said that Christians must show their “solidarity with the family.” The first response to “an individualistic society,” he said, is to “put man back in the center of society.” Next he urged the “rediscovery of intimacy and love” within families, and a political drive to support healthy familiy life.


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