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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis's praise for wrinkles

Pope Francis criticized society's obsession with staying young. The Pontiff defended the beauty of old age during Wednesday's General Audience from St. Peter's Square. 

After greeting the faithful, the Bishop of Rome reached the alter with the help of a cane, continuing his catechesis on old age. The Pope spoke of his confusion at the increasingly frequent attempts to erase the mark of the years. 

Feeding the myth of eternal youth,... so much is always done to get this youth back. So many tricks, so many surgeries, to look young. I am reminded of the words of a wise Italian actress, Magnani. When they told her they had to remove her wrinkles. She said 'No!, don't touch them!, so many years I've had to have them, don't touch them.' Touch them to become young? But only young in face. What matters is the whole personality. What matters is the heart. The heart is maintained with the youthfulness of good wine, the more it ages, the better it is.

The Holy Father said that the elderly have a beauty that must be appreciated. To achieve this, he recommended observing their tenderness.

I would like to emphasize this word: the tenderness of old people. Observe a grandfather or grandmother how they look at their grandchildren, how they caress their grandchildren: that tenderness, free from all human trials, which has overcome human trials and is capable of freely giving love, the loving closeness of one another. This tenderness opens the door to understanding God's tenderness.

The Pope lamented that nowadays old age is despised. He said that old age is not the end but quite the opposite.

When we think of old age like this, we say, how come this throwaway culture decides to discard the old, considering them not useful? The old are the messengers of the future, the old are the messengers of tenderness, the old are the messengers of the wisdom of a life lived. Let's go ahead and look at the old.