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Neglecting your elderly relatives is a mortal sin, says Pope Francis


CINDY WOODEN

Source:
Catholic Herald UK
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
3/5/2015

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ABSTRACTCatholicHerald.co.uk » Neglecting your elderly relatives is a mortal sin, says Pope Francis Menu Home Latest News Comment Magazine Archive Subscriptions Web Resources Jobs Advertising Subscribe Home Latest News Comment Magazine Archive Subscriptions Web Resources Jobs Advertising Subscribe Latest News Neglecting your elderly relatives is a mortal sin, says Pope Francis by Cindy Wooden posted Thursday, 5 Mar 2015 Pope Francis during an encounter with the elderly in September (CNS) Francis says it is 'easy to put our consciences to sleep' and not visit parents for months at a time Seeing the elderly only as a burden “is ugly” and “a sin”, Pope Francis has said. Speaking at his weekly general audience, the 78-year-old Pope said: “We must reawaken our collective sense of gratitude, appreciation and hospitality, helping the elderly know they are a living part of their communities” and sources of wisdom for the younger generations. Continuing a series of audience talks about the family, Pope Francis said he would dedicate two talks to the elderly, looking at how they are treated in modern societies and at their vocation within the family. “An elderly person is not an alien,” he said. “The elderly person is us. Soon, or many years from now – inevitably anyway – we will be old, even if we don’t think about it.” “If we do not learn to treat the elderly well,” the Pope added, “we won’t be treated well either” when the time comes. In a talk punctuated with references to his own family life, his grandmother and his experience visiting homes for the elderly in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis said even Christians are being influenced by cultures so focused on production and profit, that the biblical exhortations to respect the aged and draw upon their wisdom are being ignored. “We elderly are all a bit fragile,” the Pope said, changing his prepared text to include himself among the aged. The elderly he visited in Buenos Aires, he said, would often tell him that they had many children and that their children visited them. “And when was the last time they came?” the Pope said he asked one woman. “She said, ‘Well, at Christmas’. It was August. Eight months without a visit from her children. Eight months of being abandoned. This is called a mortal sin. Understand?” “It is so easy to put our consciences to sleep when there is no love,” he said. “While we are young we are tempted to ignore old age as if it were an illness to hold at bay,” he said. “But when we become old, especially if we are poor, sick and alone, we experience the failures of a society programmed for efficiency, which consequently ignores the elderly.” “We want to remove our growing fear of weakness and vulnerability, but doing so we inc.......