Amoris Laetitia 192: Bridging Gaps

amoris laetitia memeOne of Pope Francis’s predecessors addressed the plight of the elderly in a 1981 apostolic exhortation. He gets the first word in today’s section:

192. Saint John Paul II asked us to be attentive to the role of the elderly in our families, because there are cultures which, “especially in the wake of disordered industrial and urban development, have both in the past and in the present set the elderly aside in unacceptable ways”.(Familiaris Consortio, 27) The elderly help us to appreciate “the continuity of the generations”, by their “charism of bridging the gap”.(Id., Address to Participants in the “International Forum on Active Aging” (5 September 1980), 5)

The synod bishops, next:

Very often it is grandparents who ensure that the most important values are passed down to their grandchildren, and “many people can testify that they owe their initiation into the Christian life to their grandparents”.(Relatio Finalis 2015, 18)

As human longevity extends, grandparents can often have a significant impact for decades. I’ve found this to be especially true in American circles where cultural traditions reinforce the value of extended families in closer relationship, if not proximity.

Their words, their affection or simply their presence help children to realize that history did not begin with them, that they are now part of an age-old pilgrimage and that they need to respect all that came before them. Those who would break all ties with the past will surely find it difficult to build stable relationships and to realize that reality is bigger than they are. “Attention to the elderly makes the difference in a society. Does a society show concern for the elderly? Does it make room for the elderly? Such a society will move forward if it respects the wisdom of the elderly”.(Catechesis (4 March 2015))

Any comments? 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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