Pope Francis encouraged people to cherish the time they have with elderly family members during Monday’s Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square.
The pope told the crowd not to toss out older family members like “waste material.” Rather, he said to “make a gift of one’s life.”
“And this applies to everyone, to parents towards their children and children towards their elderly parents,” he said.
He said many elderly people are “abandoned by their families as if they were waste material.”
“This is a drama of our times: the solitude of the elderly,” he said, when “children and grandchildren do not make their lives a gift for the elderly.”
This isn't the first time the pope has pushed for better treatment of the elderly. He did so in a 2015 general audience address.
In that address, he called a society that doesn’t help and reach out to its elderly “perverse.”
“In a civilization in which there is no place for the elderly or they are discarded because they create problems,” Francis said, “this society carries the virus of death.”
He said young people should not be taught to ignore the old “as if it were a disease to be avoided.”
Francis also pointed to what scholars call “the century of aging,” where there are more elderly people than children.
“This imbalance challenges us,” he said, adding that the old are seen as a “burden, as dead weight.”
“We are used to discarding people,” Francis said. “We want to remove our growing fear of weakness and vulnerability; but in doing so we increase the elderly’s anguish over being barely tolerated and abandoned.”
He said this trend needs to be reversed during his Monday speech.
“God wants to help us grow in the gift; only in this way do we become great,” he said. “We grow if we give ourselves to others.”
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.