Pope Francis: Abandoning the Elderly is a Form of Euthanasia

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2014   |   10:40AM   |   The Vatican

Over the weekend, Pope Francis restated the importance of taking care of the growing number of elderly people across the globe. He said the lack of care and concern for the elderly is equivalent to euthanasia — because elderly person often die physically from neglect and face spiritual and emotional depression because their family may abandon them.

Meeting with thousands of elderly people in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said old age “is a time of grace.” Francis timed his meeting with the elderly to coincide with national Grandparents’ Day, celebrated in Italy on October 2

popefrancis27He said grandparents are entrusted with handing down their wisdom and their faith, conveying their life experience and the story of their family, community and nation. Blessed, he said, are those families who have grandparents nearby. In a way, he added, a grandfather is “twice a father” and the grandmother “twice a mother.”

How many times we “discard” older people, Francis said, comparing this to “a hidden form of euthanasia.” A society that doesn’t care for grandparents “has no future,” he added.

“The culture of discarding human beings hurts our world,” he said. “We discard children, young people and older people under the pretense of maintaining a ‘balanced’ economic system.”

Pope Francis compared having former Pope Benedict living close by in the Vatican to “having a wise grandparent at home.”

A report has more on how the day went:

In his address, Pope Francis explained that elderly people can transmit their history and life experiences. He also denounced the neglect and violence against them.

“Violence against the elderly is inhuman. Just like it is against children. God does not abandon you, He is with you!”

Pope Francis asked Christians to work towards a more inclusive society, that does not throw away the weak. He also reminded them of the good the elderly do in society.

“A people that does not care for its grandparents, that does not treat them well, are  people that have no future! Why do they not have a future? Because they lose their memory and tear from their roots.”

For the Pope, to be with an elderly person does much good to society and brings joy. They also bring one of the most beautiful things to life.

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“One of he most beautiful things in the life of a family, of our lives, is to caress a child and to let them be caressed by a grandfather or grandmother.”

Lastly, the Pope reminded them that there are elderly people who have no family and live in retirement homes. He asked that these institutions be true homes and not “prisons”.