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Pope in Santa Marta: It's tragic when there are more retirees than workers


In his homily in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke about both the young and old. He said an abundance of elderly and children proves they are valued and there is a promise of the future. 

POPE FRANCIS
When a country grows old and there are no children, when you don't see children's strollers on the streets and you don't see pregnant women, 'A child? It's better without.' When you read in that country there are more retirees than workers, it's tragic!

Pope Francis regretted when traditions held by the elderly are lost when there is nobody to pass them down to. He said when both young and old live together, a culture of hope is fostered. 

EXTRACTS OF PAPAL HOMILY

When there is respect, care and love for life, the Pope explained, this is a sign of God’s presence in our communities.

The presence of the elderly, he continued, is a sign of maturity. This is beautiful: “Old men and old women, each with staff in hand because of old age, shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem.”

And so many children too, he continued, who bring with them a swarm of activity.

“The abundance of elderly people and children. This is the sign that when a people care for the old and for the young, and consider them a treasure, there is the presence of God, a promise of future. One day, the father came home to find his son building himself a little table because he assumed that sooner or later he too would be a victim of that same kind of isolation.”

When you neglect children and the elderly, he said, you end up being part of those modern societies who have given life to a demographic winter. When a country grows old and there are no children, when you don't see children's prams on the streets and you don't see pregnant women (…), when you read that in that country there are more pensioners than workers, it's tragic!” he said.

It’s tragic also to lose the traditions passed down by the elder generations, the Pope said, describing traditions “not as museums,” but as lessons for the future: “the lymph of the roots that make the tree grow and bear flowers and fruits”.

Melissa Butz