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Modern society losing sense of family life, Cardinal Scola warns

March 28, 2012

Modern European society is “facing the crucial challenge of whether or not to recognize the family as a social entity,” wrote Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan in an op-ed essay for the Italian publication Il Sole 24 Ore.

European surveys show that 84% of all respondents consider family life very important, and in Italy the figure is 91%, the Catholic noted. Yet the same society has trouble defining the family.

Quoting anthropolist Claude Lévi-Strauss, who saw the family as a “universal phenomenon that exists in all societies,” Cardinal Scola said that family life is “a common, not a private, good,” of value to all of society rather than only the family members. The family is also the “primary society,” in which the most fundamental human relationships are developed. The cardinal wrote:

For each human being, family is the place to understand and develop personal identity. Since family is a relationship among a man, a woman and future generations, it implies a pact between a man and a woman, a pact that is socially and publicly accepted. This pact, which is marriage, links different generations and allows younger people to be connected to their ancestors.


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