VATICAN. Older people are not a waste material, but a blessing to society. Pope Francis said this during the Wednesday general audience in the Paul VI Hall. Furthermore, “in the dramatic first phase of the pandemic – he added – they paid the highest price”.
In inaugurating a new cycle of catechesis on old age (“The grace of time and the covenant of the ages of life”), Francis emphasizes that the elderly “were already the weakest and most neglected part”, and “if we did not look at them too much alive », In the phase of the long maximum restrictions due to Covid« we have not even seen them die ».
«The important thing – says Francis – is not only that the elderly occupy the place of wisdom he has, of history lived in society, but also that there is an interview with young people. Young people must talk to the elderly and the elderly with the young, and this bridge will be the transmission of wisdom in humanity “. In the dialogue between young people and the elderly, says the Pope, “the elderly can give dreams and the young can receive them and carry them forward”. «Let’s not forget – he adds – that in both family and social culture, the elderly are like the root of a tree and the young are the flowers and fruits. If the juice does not come from the root, they will never be able to blossom ».
«The exaltation of youth as the only age worthy of embodying the human ideal, combined with the contempt for old age seen as frailty, degradation, disability, was the dominant icon of the totalitarianisms of the twentieth century – observes the Pontiff -. Have we already forgotten? The lengthening of life has a structural impact on the history of individuals, families and societies. But we must ask ourselves: are its spiritual quality and its sense of community the object of thought and love consistent with this fact? Perhaps the elders must apologize for their obstinacy to survive at the expense of others? Or can they be honored for the gifts that lead to the meaning of everyone’s life? ».
«For an age that is now a decisive part of the community space and extends to a third of one’s entire life, there are sometimes plans for assistance, but not plans for existence. You do not plan to make them live to the full – observes the Pope – And this is a void of thought, imagination, creativity ».
If the theme of old age is among the most urgent issues that the human family is called to face at this time, Pope Francis cites the other urgent issue of the time in which we live: migration.