On the one hand, there is today a more lively awareness of the person and the value of relationships, on the other hand there is a disturbing degredation of some fundamental human values. At the root of this is a false notion of freedom - not freedom for self-giving, but freedom for self-affirmation. We also have the hugely contrasting circumstances between rich and poor countries. The world today is an interplay of light and darkness, which shows itself not to be in a state of progress but rather in a state in which human freedom is in question. St Augustine described this as a conflict of loves: the love of God to the point of disregarding self, and the love of self to the point of disregarding God.
Our secular culture today is very good at obscuring fundamental human values and we have not been good at fostering in ourselves the necessary critical apparatus which we need in order to be active in building up a genuine culture.
In fact, divorce, the acceptance of purely civil marriage - which contradicts the vocation of baptised people and the rejection of moral norms have further prejudiced marriage and the family.
The whole Church now has the responsibility to evangelise secular culture - to make it more human, more open to God.
Science is essentially good, but is often used, as a consequence of political choice, against its original purpose - which is to promote the good of the human person.
Moral values are the first kind of values to direct the good of the human person. In order to see this one needs first to appreciate the ultimate meaning of human life. But once we know what the basic moral values regarding human life are, then we know how to go about advancing human life.
Since it is the good of the family which is at stake today - real wisdom is urgently needed. Wisdom will not be forthcoming from humanity unless our consciences are formed. Indeed, such is our need today, that we must come close to God - the source of life and wisdom.
The world gives us the structures that come from sin; we are called to conversion - conversion of mind and heart. This is the only route to renewal.
Indeed, we need an on-going conversion - only in this way can we build our lives and our culture upon God's gifts to us. It is a question of opening up our lives and our civilisation before God and being lead by Him towards embracing the full truth about human life.
The relationship between the Church and culture: humanity is the source of culture, the Church receives this and on the basis of culture which can support the Mystery of Christ, she expresses her Faith. So, human culture must be compatible with the Gospel and the Communion of the Church. In the context of marriage and the family, any culture which upholds these principles can be evangelised.
The evangelisation of culture leads to the restoration of the Covenant with God in Christ. The goal of our journey was pointed out by Christ himself, when he referred in the Gospel to the original plan of God for marriage and the family.