The attention to the social and cultural aspects of contemporary society is not a concession but rather an essential element of the theological pastoral reflection. The ecclesial practice is not only characterized by procedures that can be attested in different ages and in different geographical areas – and does not bear any process of adjustment for this reason – but it immediately shows to be unsuitable and urging for renewal when cultural sceneries and standards are changing. In Italy, in particular, the passage from a geographical christianity to a situation where fewer and fewer believers let themselves be determined by the symbolic cultural system of the churches, begins in the nineteenth century. However, it will be only in the period after World War II – and in particular during the years of the economic boom – that the traditional ways in which faith was transmitted become less effective, finding it difficult to understand the quick changes of society (suffice it to think of the result of the referendum on divorce, of the fragmentation of a cultural system that was crystallized in the thomistic philosophical system or of the growing symbolic aphasia of the places of faith).
(author: Dario Edoardo Viganò)