On Thursday morning, Pope Francis welcomed the participants of the world gathering for pastoral care of Gypsies. They gathered in Rome for a two-day conference on the pastoral challenges facing them today.
"The people with less protection are, in fact, the ones that fall in the traps of exploitation, forced begging and other forms of abuse. Gypsies are among the most vulnerable, especially with lacking assistance for integration or the promotion of the person, in various dimensions of civil life.”
The Pope said the Gospel calls on Christians to look after the weakest and marginalized. He cited the discrimination Gypsies face, among them restricted access to education, health care, employment and housing. But he added that the Church cannot do it alone.
"We know that it is a complex reality, but certainly the gypsy population is also required to contribute to the common good, and this is possible with adequate itineraries of co-responsibility, the observance of duties and the promotion of the rights of every person.”
Pope Francis called for a new pastoral approach from the Church to help overcome the challenges Gypsies face. But, he also called on local, national and international groups to help identify projects to improve their quality of life.