24 July 2020
Elderly

In defense of the elderly affected by the pandemic

Messages from the Episcopal Conferences of Spain, Portugal, and Canada

The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting the elderly particularly hard. In fact, the vast majority of recorded deaths have been among people over seventy years of age, and in particular among those who, living in residential institutions, are forgotten and lonely.

“For this reason,” said Gabriella Gambino, Undersecretary of the Dicastery, “we are pleased that some Episcopal Conferences have decided to publish messages clearly reiterating the necessity, even in this time marked by the pandemic, of defending the life of the elderly in every situation.”

The Undersecretary continues, “The fact that the bishops refer to the reflection started during the international conference ‘The richness of many years of life’ makes us even more aware of the responsibility we have towards the elderly, a responsibility which calls us to work decisively for a more functional pastoral ministry to the elderly.

The Canadian bishops, after denouncing the fact that all too often the elderly are the first victims of a “throw-away culture,” call to mind that: “The Church, as the Body of Christ, has a decisive and crucial mission, and an undeniable witness to give, in caring for the elderly and the sick, and in advocating on their behalf for their dignity as human persons in our society.”

The Spanish Episcopal Conference emphasizes the need to preserve the relationship between generations and writes that: “Where there is no respect, recognition, or honor for the elderly, there can be no future for young people; therefore we must avoid creating a generational rupture.”

Conversely, the Portuguese bishops highlight the upcoming feast of Saints Ann and Joachim: “Grandparents’ Day is an occasion to give thanks, to embrace, and to celebrate the presence of grandparents in our past and in our present, to go to their roots and discover in our grandparents the tenderness and love of God.”