Pope Francis begins new series of catechesis on the elderly's crucial role in society

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After concluding his catechesis on St. Joseph, Pope Francis began a new series of catechesis on the “meaning and value of old age.”

The Pope laments today's “throwaway society” that “dismisses the elderly as an unwanted burden.” He says that the world must rediscover the “covenant that unites the generations” and recognize the value and contributions that the elderly bring to society. 

Citing recent years marked by the pandemic, the Pope says that now, more than ever, young people are in need of guidance, and must look to the elderly to navigate their futures.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today begins a new series of weekly catecheses on the meaning and value of old age, viewed in the light of God’s word. Increased longevity has led to growing numbers of elderly persons in our midst, and thus a need to reflect anew on the relationship between the generations.

Our throwaway society often exalts youthfulness and even dismisses the elderly as an unwanted burden. It is important, then, to consider and value the spiritual fruitfulness that this time of life can bring to the elderly themselves, as well as the gifts that they can offer to the communities of which they are an integral part.

In this sense, we need to rediscover the “covenant” that unites the generations in looking to the future of our human family. The prophet Joel speaks of a time when “the elderly shall dream dreams and the young see visions” (cf. Joel 2:28).

In these days of pandemic, we have come to see once more how important it is to offer our young people wise guidance, hope and enthusiasm as they look to the future. As we begin these reflections, let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand and appreciate the great contribution that the elderly can make to a just and fraternal society.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Ireland and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I cordially invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!

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