Britain's Archbishop says society 'can't wait' for elderly to die


NASHVILLE — Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury warned his country that society is devaluing the elderly and can't wait for them to die.

In his last speech to the House of Lords before he resigns from his position, Rowan Williams said elderly people are being merely tolerated rather than valued, according to the Telegraph, a British newspaper.

"We tolerate a very eccentric view of the good life or the ideal life as one that can be lived only for a few years between, say, 18 and 40," the Telegraph reported the archbishop as saying.

Williams lamented the tendency to view older people as "dependents" or "problems," also warning that society has become "frenetically oriented towards youth."

"Its effect can be both to ignore the present reality of responsible, active people in older life, who are still participants in society, not passengers — and to encourage younger people to forget that they are ageing themselves, and that they will be in need of positive and hopeful models for their own later years," he said, according to the Telegraph.

Williams cited studies showing that more than half of people over age 60 do some form of volunteer work to "support the fabric of society." He added that that if the culture wants its older citizens to support society, it should put to rest the stereotype of the passive elderly.

"And that means in turn that we may stop seeing the older population as primarily 'dependents' on the goodwill of family or neighbourhood or state," the Telegraph reported the archbishop as saying.

— BP