Pope Francis blesses a man in a wheelchair during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.  CNS file photo/Paul Haring
Pope Francis blesses a man in a wheelchair during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. CNS file photo/Paul Haring

Pope Francis has written and spoken extensively on the elderly during his papacy, particularly since the 2021 institution of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, drawing attention to their qualities of tenderness, wisdom, teaching and connection with the next generations. The messages excerpted here can be found in full at trentonmonitor.com/grandparents-elderly.

 

“The previous skills of active life lose their constraint and become resources to be given away: teaching, advising, building, caring, listening ... preferably in favor of the most disadvantaged who cannot afford any learning or who are abandoned in their loneliness. [Communities must understand] how to benefit from the talents and charisms of so many elderly people who are already retired, but who are a wealth to be treasured.”

“When we think of a legacy, at times we think of goods, and not of the goodness that is done in old age, and that has been sown, that goodness that is the best legacy we can leave.”

Weekly General Audience, May 11, 2022

 

“Elders rich in wisdom and humor do so much good to the young. They save them from the temptation of a grim worldly knowledge devoid of the wisdom of life. And also, these elders bring young people back to Jesus’ promise, ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.’”

Weekly General Audience, May 25, 2022

 

Relating to older relatives: “Do I remember them, do I go to visit them? Do I try to make sure they lack nothing? Do I respect them? [and talk with them to] obtain wisdom?”

“Remember that you, too, will become elderly. Old age comes for everyone. And treat the elderly today as you would wish to be treated in your old age.”

Weekly General Audience, June 1, 2022

 

“Wrinkles are a sign of experience, a sign of life, a sign of maturity, a sign of having made a journey. Do not touch them to become young, that your face might look young … What matters is the entire personality; it’s the heart that matters, and the heart remains with that youth of a good wine – the more it ages the better it is.”

“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.”

Weekly General Audience, June 8, 2022

 

“Elderly people have so much to give us because there is the wisdom of life. They have so much to teach us … Where there is no dialogue between young and old, there is something missing and a generation grows up without a past, that is, without its roots.”

“In the measure that we can help young people and old people connect, there will be more hope for the future of our society.”

Weekly General Audience, June 15, 2022

 

It is beautiful when an elderly person can say, ‘I have lived life, this is my family; I have lived life, I have been a sinner but also I have done good.’ And this peace that comes, this is the elderly person’s farewell.”

Weekly General Audience, June 22, 2022

 

“[Elderly men and women] are, or we can become, teachers of tenderness. And indeed, we can! … In this world accustomed to war, we need a true revolution of tenderness.”

Video message released by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, June 30, 2022