St. Paisios the Athonite (+ 1994) was asked:
Elder, were people better in the olden days?
It's not that they were better, it's only that the people of the olden days had simplicity and good thoughts. Today people see everything with cunning, because they measure everything only with the mind. The European spirit has done us much wrong. This is what has crippled people.
Today people would be in a very good spiritual state, because most of them are more or less educated, and you can communicate with them. But they were taught atheism, all these satanic things, and it's made them useless and unable to communicate with. In the olden days, you couldn't communicate with someone if they didn't have piety, for if they lacked piety they lacked also an education.
I recall how a monk once, when he heard during the Presanctified the commemoration of "Gregory, Pope of Rome," he thought they were commemorating the Pope of Rome and was scandalized. He said, "I did not expect this. You have become Papists!" and he got up and left the church! So, you see what ignorance does. Ignorance is terrible.
The greatest evil is done by those who have piety and also harm. Without examining, they create problems.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.