The catechesis today and next Wednesday are dedicated to the elderly, who, within the family, are grandparents, aunts and uncles. Today we reflect on the problematic current condition of the elderly, and next time, that is next Wednesday, more positively, on the vocation contained in this age of life.
Thanks to advances in medicine, life has been lengthened: but society has not "enlarged" to life! The number of old people has multiplied, but our societies have not organised enough to make room for them, with proper respect and concrete consideration for their fragility and their dignity. As long as we are young, we are led to ignore old age, as if it were a disease to be kept away; then, when we become old people, especially if we are poor, if we are sick living alone, we experience the shortcomings of a society planned on efficiency, which consequently ignores the elderly; and the elderly are a richness, they can not be ignored.
Benedict XVI, visiting a home for the elderly, used clear and prophetic words, he said: "The quality of a society, I would say of a civilisation, is judged also on how the elderly are treated and on the place reserved for them in common life" (12 november 2012).
General audience 4 March 2015 (read the whole text)