The crisis in the family first appears in statistics. In Europe, we marry less and less, the rate of divorce is soaring, the birth rate is sharply declining. This is only the quantitative and statistical aspect, however. In other periods of European history, family values had also eroded.
The current crisis is more qualitative. The crisis in the family reveals a deeper crisis in our humanism, our perception of the human nature.
The very definition of marriage and the family is challenged, our views on sexuality become blurred. Given the confusion on the role of the family, international organizations refrain from defining the family; therefore, despite affirmations that the family is a key unit of society, it is hardly taken seriously as a unit of social maintenance and social reform. UN Sustainable Development Goals for instance, ignore the role of families in development.
The generations to come will be affected by this serious crisis. If we cannot overcome it, the human ecology will be at stake. Some countries run the risk of a sharp demographic decline. In his encyclical of 1995, Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II had warned against many elements of nihilism and relativism have turned our culture into a culture of death.
Text: Laurent Ladouce