The historic Charles University of Prague hosted, on March 8th and 9th, a conference entitled "The Family in the Secular World, with Particular Attention to the Problem of the Elderly," organized by various scientific institutions in Eastern Europe, under the direction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. The meeting was in fact opened by the Czech Foreign Minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, who recalled that "solitude is the great enemy, the daily drama of the elderly," and that "today the nuclear family needs the elderly just as it does the younger generation."
The main speakers at the meeting were the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Msgr. Simon Vazquez; the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Msgr. Renzo Pegoraro; and Professor Jaroslaw Merecki of the John Paul II Institute in Rome. Msgr. Simon began his lecture by insisting on the centrality of the family context for the life of the elderly, where they can receive care and contribute to the education of young generations. The entire society—the Undersecretary then continued—must care for people in the third or fourth stage of life, and therefore abandon a purely utilitarian understanding of the human person. For this purpose, said Msgr. Pegoraro, it is important to create a network between family, church and society that can meet the needs of the elderly today. This matter is not only economic, but more profoundly cultural, as Professor Adámková, moderator of the Congress, emphasized in the interview available below.