Dear Friends for Life: Recently, thousands of senior citizens came to Rome for a special get-together with Pope Francis. They listened as the Pope shared reflections on the importance, the struggles, and the beauty of old age. He said, “Old age, in particular, is a time of grace.”
Without doubt, the “Aging Population” is increasing in nearly every country in the world. People are living longer. Many will say, “Hey, that’s great! The longer, the better.” And many of us would agree. Then what’s the problem? The difficulty is not with Aging, but decline in fertility rates.
At precisely 16:30 today, the statistics presented by the National Institute on Aging showed:
Population Ages 0-4: 651,921,254
Population Ages 65+: 589,760,486
In 1950, there were 335 million children in the 0-4 age group and only 131 million people ages 65+. In 2010, there were 642 million persons ages 0-4 and 523 million ages 65+. The United Nations predicts that for the first time in history, the 0-4 age group will decline between 2015 and 2020, having peaked at around 650 million and the 65+ age group will exceed this number with “714 million” in 2020.
With this gradual increase in 65+ age group, new challenges face us. The most important is not to lose sight of and appreciation for the inestimable worth of those who are in the twilight of life. In many cases, the elderly do not have a family to take care of them; consequently, an increase in new retirement homes. The question is: will these institutions serve the interest of the elderly or just become money-orientated businesses?
Pope Francis cautions the world society: There must never be institutions where the elderly are forgotten, hidden or neglected. I feel close to the many elderly people who live in these institutions, and I think with gratitude of those who go to visit them and take care of them. Homes for the elderly should be the “lungs” of humanity in a country, in a neighborhood, in a parish; “sanctuaries” of humanity where those who are old and weak are cared for and taken care of like a brother or a sister. It’s good for you to go and visit senior citizens! Look at young people: sometimes seem miserable and sad: Go visit an elderly person and you will become joyful!
He continues: But there is also the reality of the abandonment of the elderly: how many times we discard older people with attitudes that are akin to a hidden form of euthanasia! The culture of discarding human beings hurts our world. We discard children, young people and older people under the pretense of maintaining a “balanced”, economic system the center of which is no longer the human person, but money. We are all called to counter this culture of poisonous waste!
We Christians, together with all people of good will, are called to patiently build a more diverse, more welcoming, more humane, more inclusive society, that does not need to discard the weak in body and mind. On the contrary we need a society which measures its success on how the weak are cared for.
Jerry Novotny, OMI
(The Difference is LIFE)
“A human is a human from the very beginning. Species cannot change. A human cannot become a horse, a dog cannot become a mouse ect… If the baby inside its mother is NOT a human, what is it? Science tells us life starts from the beginning. This is a human rights issue. Take politics and womens “rights” out of it. There is a 50% chance that the baby you’re carrying is a boy. The moment the sperm met the egg, it was decided that he was a boy. Women do not have penises, therefore the baby inside you is not YOUR BODY. It is someone elses body, who was made by you, with your eye color, hair color or whatever else he will inherit from you and the other human being who created him. ” – Miss k
Websites by Fr. Jerry
Fighting For the Culture Of Life
Japan-lifeissues.net Website (in Japanese)
Fr. Jerry’s Blog (in Japanese)