Vatican City, 23 February, 2022 / 4:20 pm (ACI Africa).
Pope Francis decried the excessive “exaltation of youth” on Wednesday as he began a new general audience series on old age.
Speaking at his live-streamed general audience on Feb. 23, the pope noted that as the average age of populations continued to rise, the “elderly are often seen as a burden.”
“The dominant culture has as its sole model the young adult, i.e. a self-made individual who always remains young. But is it true that youth contains the full meaning of life, while old age simply represents its emptying and loss?” Pope Francis asked as he spoke in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.
“The exaltation of youth as the only age worthy of embodying the human ideal, coupled with contempt for old age as frailty, decay, disability, has been the dominant image of 20th-century totalitarianism. Have we forgotten this?” he added.
Pope Francis said that youth was beautiful, but cautioned that “eternal youth is a very dangerous illusion.”