Jun 15, 2014 / 03:30 pm
In a visit to a community dedicated to serving the poor and needy, Pope Francis warned of the poverty of Europe which faces a declining birthrate, hidden forms of euthanasia, and high rates of unemployment.
“Today I speak of Europe. Europe is tired. We have to help rejuvenate it, to find its roots. It’s true: it has disowned its roots. It’s true. But we need to help it find them,” he said to the St. Egidio community in Rome’s Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica on June 15.
“The treatment of the elderly, as that of children, is an indicator showing the quality of a society. When the elderly are discarded, when the elderly are isolated and sometimes closed off without affection, it’s a bad sign!” he exclaimed.
The St. Egidio community provides various forms of social outreach to the impoverished, homeless, refugees and immigrants, elderly, disabled, and young people. Their service also consists of inviting people to participate in a deeper life of prayer.
Several members of the St. Egidio community shared their testimony with the Holy Father, explaining how they had been in a difficult situation due to poverty or immigration or disability, when the community reached out to them to offer help and spiritual support.
Pope Francis affirmed their work, noting “How good it is, rather, that alliance I see between young people and the elderly in which everyone receives and gives.”
“The elderly and their prayers are a richness for St. Egidio. A people that does not safeguard its elderly, that does not take care of its young people, is a people without a future, a people without hope. Because the youth – the children, the young people – and the elderly carry history forward.”
He noted that although young people provide “biological strength” for society, the elderly “give them their memory.”
“When a society loses memory, it’s over. It’s finished. It’s terrible to see a society, a people, a culture that has lost memory,” he lamented.
An economic world which holds “the idol of money” at its center rather than “man and woman,” risks becoming a “throw-away culture,” Pope Francis warned.
“Children are thrown away: no children. Just think of the growth rate of children in Europe: in Italy, Spain, France. The elderly are thrown away with these attitudes, behind which is a hidden euthanasia, a form of euthanasia: uselessness. That which isn’t useful is thrown away.” …
Go here for the rest of the story.