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Recognize wisdom of elderly, Vatican statement urges

CWN - October 01, 2013

The International Day of Older Persons, which is observed on October 1, is taking on greater significance because of the overall aging of the world’s population, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Workers has observed.

In a statement entitled “The value of the life of the elderly,” Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski pointed out that there are 600 million elderly people in the world today, but that figure is expected to reach 1 billion with the decade. As medical and scientific advances extend the lifespan of millions of people, it is essential that they be treated “in a respectful and appropriate manner,” the archbishop wrote.

Since “the Church is effectively the family of all generations, in which everyone must feel at home,” the Church must promote a “communion between generations,” Archbishop Zimowski said. Testifying to the dignity of old age, he wrote:

From a Christian perspective, indeed, old age is not the decline of life, but rather its fulfilment: the synthesis of what one has learnt and lived, the synthesis of how much one has suffered, rejoiced, and withstood.

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