Fratelli Tutti 19: Concerns For The Elderly

19. A decline in the birthrate, which leads to the aging of the population, together with the relegation of the elderly to a sad and lonely existence, is a subtle way of stating that it is all about us, that our individual concerns are the only thing that matters.

The condemnation of consigning older people to ghettoes as western so-called civilization has done for people of color is stark. But it’s not completely inaccurate. On one hand, there is an objective good in allowing elderly persons to receive diligent attention to their special needs. The reality is that most of their waking time is spent alone, apart from loved ones. I’m not sure a higher birthrate would help; our corporate masters would find some way to employ or enslave/imprison a massive younger generation. And the challenge for the elderly would remain.

Picking up on the theme of disposability from paragraph 18:

In this way, “what is thrown away are not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves”.[Address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See(13 January 2014): AAS 106 (2014), 83-84] We have seen what happened with the elderly in certain places in our world as a result of the coronavirus. They did not have to die that way.

True. But this is less a commentary on a public policy on the virus than a criticism of the way the elderly are treated because of existing systems of law, medicine, housing, etc.. Old people can be annoying, and let’s face it: it’s easier to be out of sight so they can be out of mind.

Yet something similar had long been occurring during heat waves and in other situations: older people found themselves cruelly abandoned. We fail to realize that, by isolating the elderly and leaving them in the care of others without the closeness and concern of family members, we disfigure and impoverish the family itself. We also end up depriving young people of a necessary connection to their roots and a wisdom that the young cannot achieve on their own.

That image of disfiguring the family: devastating. And all too accurate in many situations.

Always keep in mind that if you want to go directly to Fratelli Tutti, click here. All citations  are © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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