For the first time in over two years, Pope Francis rode through the crowd in St. Peter's Square on the popemobile to begin his Wednesday audience.
The Pope continued his series of catechesis on the value of old age and the elderly, and explained how the fourth commandment, “honor your father and your mother” extends not only to family, but to all people from older generations.
He expressed his disappointment in today's youth culture which disregards the value of elderly people, and referred to an instance in Italy of kids who lit an elderly homeless man's blanket on fire.
These kids who burned the covers of a homeless person are the tip of the iceberg, of the contempt for one's life that is far from the ways of youth and seems like a waste of life, waste is the key word here. To disregard the elderly is to discard their lives, to put them apart, throw them down.
The Pope then urged parents to bring their children close to the elderly people in their lives to combat the culture of waste.
Please, bring your kids, young children, close to the elderly, always bring them close. And when the elderly person is ill, or can't think right, keep bringing them close, so that they may know that this is our flesh, this has made it possible for us to be here. Please do not keep the elderly far away.
Pope Francis then greeted various groups of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, and thanked those from Poland for welcoming Ukrainian refugees into their homes. He then delivered his blessing while surrounded by Easter flowers.