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Pope Francis: the lives of the elderly and disabled are precious

Catholic World News - February 20, 2014

As the members of the Pontifical Academy of Life gathered for a workshop on aging and disability, Pope Francis lamented that the elderly and disabled can be victims of a “throw away culture.”

Quoting from his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the Pope sent a message to the academy in which he said that “we have created a ‘throw away’ culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it.”

Many elderly today, he said, are victims of “the tyrannical dominion of an economic logic that excludes and sometimes kills.” Health, the Pope emphasized, “does not determine the value of the human person,” for “the fullness toward which every human life tends not in contradiction to a condition of sickness and suffering.”

Pope Francis concluded his message with a call to solidarity with the elderly and disabled, particularly within their families. “A society is really welcoming towards life when it recognizes that it is precious even in old age, disability, serious illness,” he said. “This is the Gospel of life.”

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