2. The moral vacuum into which modern society has fallen through unbridled individualism carries the greatest danger since the only alternatives to shoring up moral values are authoritarianism or anarchy.
3. The shared confusion over values and standards, in the form of a self-serving insouciance, is a contemptible form of moral relativism. It extends from the corridors of power in the major countries to the meanest streets in their slum areas. It affects both the powerful and the ordinary. And through their common irresponsibility they infect one another. This contagion spreads most damagingly to the young.
4. It is true that history has known cases where crimes have been committed in the name of "truth". But equally grave crimes and radical denials of freedom have also been committed and are still being committed in the name of "ethical relativism". When a parliamentary or social majority decrees that it is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life, is it not really making a "tyrannical" decision with regard to the weakest and most defenceless of human beings? Everyone's conscience rightly rejects those crimes against humanity of which our century has had such sad experience. But would these crimes cease to be crimes if, instead of being committed by unscrupulous tyrants, they were legitimated by popular consensus? (Papal Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, 25 March 1995).
5. More and more of the world is being sucked into a desolate moral vacuum. This is a space devoid of the most basic human values; a space in which children are slaughtered, raped and maimed; a space in which children are exploted as soldiers; a space in which children are starved and exposed to extreme brutality. Such unregulated terror and violence speak of deliberate victimization. There are few further depths to which humanity can sink. (N/A/51/306, para. 3).
2. Fears that a moral revival, with a redefinition of values to repair the concept of community, would entail a resurgence of puritanism and oppressive curbs on intellectual freedom, are unfounded.