BY Daniel Harkins | March 4 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Pope Francis prays at Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary in Madhu, Sri Lanka

Pope decries ‘mortal sin’ of discarding the elderly

During his weekly general audience, the Holy Father said that where the elderly are not honoured there is no future for the young

Pope Francis told pilgrims that it is a mortal sin to discard the elderly as he spoke to crowds in St Peter’s Square during his weekly general audience this morning.

Continuing his catechesis on the family, the Pope said that ‘where the elderly are not honoured, there is no future for the young.’

The Holy Father told pilgrims a story from his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Whilst visiting a home for the elderly, he said he stopped to chat to one of the residents and asked her how her children were doing.

“Well” answered the old woman.

“Do they come to visit you?” the Pope asked.

“Oh yes, always,” she replied.

“And when was the last time they came?’ he continued.

“At Christmas,” she said.

“It was August… eight months without a visit from her children,” the Pope told those gathered in Rome. “It’s is a mortal sin to discard our elderly. The elderly are not aliens, we are them, in a short or in a long while; we are inevitably them, even although we choose not to think about it.

“If we do not learn to look after and to respect our elderly, we will be treated in the same way. A society where the elderly are discarded carries within it the virus of death.

“The quality of a society can be judged by the way it includes its older members. This is a particular challenge for our Western societies, marked on the one hand by ageing populations and on the other by a cult of youth, efficiency and profit which tends to discard everything not considered productive or useful… In showing concern for our elderly, we strengthen the social fabric and ensure the future of our young.”


Pic: Pope Francis greets an elderly woman as he arrives to pray at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary in Madhu, Sri Lanka, on January 14.



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