The moral consensus that once existed, imperfect though it was, was grounded in an amalgam of Judeo-Christian morality and natural law. Its breakdown among elite groups began in the 19th century, continued to the middle years of the last century, and burst into the open and was popularized in the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.
The world view emerging from this process is now conventional wisdom for the culture-forming organs of American secular society-elite research universities and law schools, federal courts, foundations and think tanks, national media, and the big-money circles that fund the secular enterprise.
The values of this world view reflect moral libertarianism of an individualistic sort that exalts the virtually unbounded right of individuals to do as they please over the communal values of traditional morality according to which rights are defined and limited by objective moral truth. Where conflicts occur under the regime of the new morality, newly asserted rights are favored over old values.
Ideologies like gender theory lend a spurious intellectual sophistication this process. The results can be seen in such things as the weakening of marriage and family life (the U.S. marriage rate has fallen from a postwar high of 16.4 per 1,000 population to around 7 per 1,000 now), the legalization of abortion and same-sex marriage, and a flamboyantly aggressive new campaign, eagerly championed by leading secular media just as they have championed other such campaigns, on behalf of transgender rights.
To be sure, supporters of the old moral consensus can still be found, although they have difficulty getting a hearing in a cultural setting where access to the public forum is granted-and often enough withheld-by the secular elites.
In this setting, Pope Francis is one of the few religious voices heard regularly, but the attention paid to him by the media is highly selective. The media take note when he says something they can interpret as advocating changes in the Church which they support. But when he emphasizes traditional doctrines and values, they aren't listening.