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Old age is beautiful, Pope tells elderly

Catholic World News - November 12, 2012

“It is good to be elderly,” Pope Benedict XVI said during a visit to a rest home in Rome on November 12.

The Holy Father told residents at a facility run by the Sant Egidio Community that he was speaking “as Bishop of Rome, but also as an elderly person visiting his peers.” He said that he fully appreciates the difficulties of old age; the diminished strength and energy, the regret for lost youth. But he insisted: “We must not allow ourselves to be imprisoned by sadness.”

The Bible clearly speaks of longevity as a blessing, the Pope observed. Yet today, when many more people enjoy long lives than in the past, society has lost the ability to see old age as a gift. On the contrary, he said, a materialistic culture often looks upon the elderly as “unproductive and useless.”

The Pope went on to suggest that as they find they need more help from others, elderly people should learn to see this, too, as a blessing. “It is a grace to be supported and accompanied, to receive the affection of others,” he said.

“The quality of a society, of a civilization, may also be judged by how it treats its elderly and by the place reserved for them in communal life,” Pope Benedict said. “To give space to the elderly is to give space to life!"

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