General Audience: Teach Youth to Honour the Elderly

The commandment to honour father and mother is a solemn commitment. The Pontiff recalled the episode of Noah in drunkenness.

Newsroom (21/04/2022 10:25 AM, Gaudium Press) Following the catechesis dedicated to the elderly, the Pope addressed the commandment, “You shall honour your father and mother.”

Old age is per se a state of frailty, which at times provokes in others a kind of vice and even discomfort. However, it is necessary to make a “restitution of love,” rendered in the form of honour to those who have preceded us in life, an honour “sealed by the commandment of God.”

“‘Honour thy father and mother’ is a solemn commitment, the first of the ‘second tablet’ of the Ten Commandments. It is not just about one’s own father and mother. It is about their generation and the generations before, whose leave-taking can also be slow and prolonged, creating a time and space of long-lasting coexistence with the other ages of life. In other words, it is about the old age of life,” the Pope stressed.

Take care of them with tenderness

The Pope recalled the duty to care for the sick elderly with delicacy, without harshness or prevarication. One cannot scold or punish the weakness of the elderly. An attitude of condescension towards the elderly should be encouraged in the young.

The Pope referenced a passage from the story of Noah: “The elderly Noah, the hero of the flood and still a hard worker, lies unconscious after having had a few too many drinks. He is already old, but he is had too much to drink. In order not to wake him up and embarrass him, his sons gently cover him, looking aside, with great respect. This text is very beautiful and says everything about the honour due to an old man. To cover the weakness of the elderly, so they do not feel ashamed.”

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The Pope advised parents to bring their children closer to the elderly: “let them know that this is our flesh, that this is what has made it possible for us to be here. Please do not push the elderly away. And if there is no other option than to send them to a nursing home, please visit them and bring the children to see them.”

With information from Vatican News.

Compiled by Gustavo Kralj

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