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The elderly show us the tenderness of God, Pope says at general audience

June 09, 2022

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CWN Editor's Note: During his June 8 general audience—the 13th in a series devoted to old age—Pope Francis reflected on Nicodemus’ question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4)

“Being old is not only not an obstacle to the being born from above that Jesus speaks of, but it becomes the opportune time to illuminate it, disassociating it from being equated with lost hope,” the Pope said. “Our epoch and our culture, which demonstrates a worrisome tendency to consider the birth of a child as the simple matter of the production and biological reproduction of the human being, cultivate the myth of eternal youth as the desperate obsession with an incorruptible body.”

“May the Spirit grant us the re-opening of this spiritual – and cultural – mission of old age that reconciles us with the birth from above,” the Pope concluded. “When we think of old age like this, we can say – why has this throw-away culture decided to throw out the elderly, considering them useless? The elderly are the messengers of the future, the elderly are the messengers of tenderness, the elderly are the messengers of the wisdom of lived experience.”

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