Decline in fundamental values Decay of traditional values Underprioritized human values Decline in status of societal values
In a society where a particular value is substantially realized, its status can be eroded; the value loses its attractiveness and comes to be downgraded by disenchantment and disillusionment.
Examples of value erosion in modern society are: efficiency in the era of automation, progress in an age of anxiety, economic security in a welfare state, and national independence for an emerging nation in socio-economic chaos.
Moreover, one cannot fail to be worried by the decline of many fundamental values, which constitute an unquestionable good not only for Christian morality but simply for human morality, for moral culture: these values include respect for human life from the moment of conception, respect for marriage in its indissoluble unity, and respect for the stability of the family. Moral permissiveness strikes especially at this most sensitive sphere of life and society. Hand in hand with this go the crisis of truth in human relationships, lack of responsibility for what one says, the purely utilitarian relationship between individual and individual, the loss of a sense of the authentic common good and the ease with which this good is alienated. Finally, there is the "desacralization" that often turns into "dehumanization": the individual and the society for whom nothing is "sacred" suffer moral decay, in spite of appearances. (Papal Encyclical, Dives et misericordia, 30 November 1980).
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