Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Vatican issues defence of gypsies

The Gypsies have faced persecution in many ways through the centuries. The Vatican has issued a statement for the pastoral care of Gypsies (link).

A quote:

Vatican officials stressed that although the document refers to Gypsies, it is equally valid for other nomads, who share similar lifestyles. Monsignor Agostino Marchetto said the problems facing gypsies required governments to draw up comprehensive and common policies to steer them out of poverty and rejection. "It is vitally important that international organisations take an interest in Gypsies."


The new document, issued by the Vatican department which deals with migrant-related issues, recalled the suffering of gypsy people especially in the 20th century, when many thousands were killed in Nazi death camps .

The report - Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Gypsies - said gypsies were a people "abandoned by men but not by God" and outlined the "special pastoral approach" that the Catholic Church intended to adopt to help them .

This was based on priests and lay Catholics living among gypsies for some time so as to understand their needs and culture better .

Key objectives were education and professional training for the population, as well as equal rights for men and women, it said .

I am filled with joy that Pope Benedict has picked up where John Paul II left off in the social justice issues that face the Church and the world. Here is a link to information about the Gypsy saint Ceferino Jimenez who is pictured above (link).

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