Several factors working simultaneously have eroded our family models.
- Sociologically speaking, we don’t live in rural societies anymore. Many traditional values seem obsolete in the era of mass production, urbanization, industrialization, universal education.
- Women in Europe have access to universal education, many are working and can control their fertility. They have gained a social independence which they never had throughout history. Most women refuse to identify with a purely biological and private role and want to have their share of the public life.
- Europe seems to repudiate religious values, and embrace a secular view of life. Moreover, our modern worldviews are threatened by ideologies which portray marriage and family life as old fashioned, and reactionary.
- Many people still seek a sincere commitment to love and would like to practice it. Yet, the cultural environment is hedonistic, recreational, fun-oriented. Eroticism and pornography have deeply penetrated the society, showing a distorted view of sexuality, which is seen in purely physical terms. Any effort to delay instant gratification has to be negotiated, new addictions appear every day. Too many scandals are affecting and discrediting the religious and conscientious people. It’s hard to see models of successful couples and families, because the media rarely show them.
Last but not least, authority is challenged everywhere. It is actually more complex than simply the end of the patriarchate. All vertical and hierarchical models of social order are eroded, for good and for worse.
Text: Laurent Ladouce