World & Nation

Benedict joins Pope Francis to honor grandparents

Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Pope Francis, right, hugs Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI before a meeting with elderly faithful in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
(Gregorio Borgia / Associated Press)

Pope Francis has hailed the value of the elderly, including his predecessor Benedict XVI, who joined him at a ceremony in St. Peter’s Square honoring the contribution of grandparents to society.

Tens of thousands of people, many of them elderly couples and their grandchildren, applauded Sunday when Francis told them that Benedict’s living in papal retirement at the Vatican is `'like having a wise grandparent at home.” Francis warmly embraced the frail, 87-year-old Benedict, who used a cane and wore a long white coat despite the warmth of a summerlike morning.

Francis, 77, decried homes for the elderly that are like “prisons,” saying the elderly are often “forgotten, hidden, neglected” in society, tantamount to a kind of euthanasia. He said elderly persons transmit “wisdom and faith, the most precious inheritance.”

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