Austen asked Pope Francis what he had to say to the elderly, to young people and to those facing poverty as a result of our crisis:
“The elderly continue to be our roots. The tension between young and old must always be resolved in the encounter with each other. Because the young person is bud and foliage, but without roots they cannot bear fruit. The elderly are the roots. ‘I would say to them: I know you feel death is near and you are afraid, but look elsewhere, remember your children and do not stop dreaming’. To the young people: ‘Have the courage to look ahead and to be prophetic. May the dreams of the old correspond to your prophecies’. (cfr Joel 3,1)
“Those who have been impoverished by the crisis are today’s deprived. They have lost everything or are going to lose everything . Deprivation means to enter the world of the deprived, to realise that he who had no longer has. What I ask of people is that they take the elderly and the young under their wing, that they take history under their wing, take the deprived under their wing.
(He quotes Vergil: Aenaeus, defeated in Troy has lost everything. “I gave way to Fate, and bearing my father on my shoulders, made for the mountain”.)
“Two paths lie before him: to remain there to weep and end his life, or to follow what was in his heart, to go up to the mountain and leave (the war) behind.
That is what we all have to do today: to take with us the roots of our traditions and make for the mountain.”