Amoris Laetitia 48: Elderly Persons

amoris laetitia memeThe synod bishops also looked to those nearing the end of their natural lives:

48. “Most families have great respect for the elderly, surrounding them with affection and considering them a blessing. A special word of appreciation is due to those associations and family movements committed to serving the elderly, both spiritually and socially… In highly industrialized societies, where the number of elderly persons is growing even as the birth rate declines, they can be regarded as a burden. On the other hand, the care that they require often puts a strain on their loved ones”. (Relatio Finalis 2015, 17

The diagnosis is brief, but accurate enough. Many elements of western culture do honor the elderly. But the regard is eroding across the board. Some internet conservatives see the elderly as an ideological burden.

Even as we worship youth, age and death are seen as threats to our self-image as a society:

“Care and concern for the final stages of life is all the more necessary today, when contemporary society attempts to remove every trace of death and dying. The elderly who are vulnerable and dependent are at times unfairly exploited simply for economic advantage. Many families show us that it is possible to approach the last stages of life by emphasizing the importance of a person’s sense of fulfillment and participation in the Lord’s paschal mystery. A great number of elderly people are cared for in Church institutions, where, materially and spiritually, they can live in a peaceful, family atmosphere. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are serious threats to families worldwide; in many countries, they have been legalized. The Church, while firmly opposing these practices, feels the need to assist families who take care of their elderly and infirm members”. (Relatio Finalis 2015, 20)

For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Amoris Laetitia 48: Elderly Persons

  1. Liam says:

    Unfortunately, the utilitarianism of America’s civic religion rudders attitudes of dread about aging and the aged across the ideological spectrum. It merely manifests in different ways, but it’s the same cause.

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