Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, at a round-table discussion Friday on "Family, Culture and Globalization," outlined three particular threats to family life.
The threats, he said, are the materialist culture, which values things above persons; the culture of violence, which considers the latter as the only way to attain a more just society; and the culture of permissiveness, which creates a crisis in sexual rules, interpersonal relations in the family, and relations of authority.
The round-table discussion came in the context of the 3rd World Congress of Families, which gathered some 3,500 participants of civil and social organizations and representatives of religions to explore ways to support families.
The family "is the first agent of socialization, the first and irreplaceable school to learn to love, to respect one's own life and that of others, to build fraternal and solidaristic relations," Cardinal Martino said.
The Vatican official contended, "Today it is impossible not to open our societies to globalization to share all that makes humanity progress."
"But there must be education in discernment to defend the wealth of each culture and to avoid what can endanger that wealth," he said. "A people that loses its cultural identity becomes privileged terrain for inhuman practices and endangers its own future."