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Cardinal says older persons are "guardians of the collective memory"

Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Ministry of Health, has told the United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid that older persons are the "guardians of the collective memory".

"They have the perspective of both the past and the future," he said. "Their life must converge in intergenerational relationships, transmitting to all people the treasury of their time, their capacity and experiences."

Barragan noted that in the present culture of global productivity, there is "an increasing number of abandoned older persons" who "face the danger of considering themselves as not being useful".

Though it has insufficient resources and lacks personnel, said the archbishop, the Catholic Church "now, as before, tries to help (the elderly) even in their economic aspects. He observed that "Catholic agencies and institutions have ... 13,238 hospices for older persons in the whole world."

Archbishop Lozano said that an inclusive society based on intergenerational equality must be created, and he suggested 14 actions that would help achieve this, including involving older persons in decisionmaking at family and social levels and offering special care to older persons who suffer from mental diseases such as Alzheimer's.

United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing


11 Apr 2002