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".214 The elderly help us to appreciate "the continuity of the generations", by their "charism of bridging the gap".215 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".216 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".217
214 Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 27 (22 November 1981): AAS 74 (1982), 113.
215 ID., Address to Participants in the "International Forum on Active Aging" ( 5 September 1980), 5: Insegnamenti III/2 (1980), 539.
216 Relatio Finalis 2015, 18.
217 Catechesis (4 March 2015): L'Osservatore Romano, 5 March 2015, p.8.
© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.
Click here for full text