VATICAN CITY (CNS): Advances in science and medicine have allowed people to live longer, but families and governments must help the elderly live those added years in a full and dignified manner, said Pope John Paul II.
The 84 year-old pontiff has dedicated his 2005 Lenten message to the gift of longevity.
The Pope told people to always “remain open and welcoming” toward older people, especially those who are weak, sick or suffering.
“The care of the elderly, above all when they pass through difficult moments, must be of great concern to all the faithful”, especially in Western countries where older people often struggle to find a place in society, the Pope said in his written message, which was released on January 27.
Archbishop Paul Cordes, who is president of the Pontifical Councl “Cor Unum”, the Vatican’s charity promotion and co-ordinating agency, said that the elderly today are under threat in a variety of ways.
Ensuring the safety and health of older people takes time, effort and money, which for those who must care for them can seem to be an insurmountable burden, the archbishop said as he released the Pope’s message at a press conference.