Pope Francis asked the Roma to forgive the Roman Catholic Church for discrimination.
The pontiff visited Romania where he canonized seven bishops who suffered during the communist regime
On Sunday, Pope Francis apologized to the Roma (Roma) for the discrimination to which the Roman Catholic Church subjected them. The statement of the pontiff was made at the end of his visit to Romania.
Gypsies make up about 10 percent of Romania’s 20 million people. Many of them live in poverty and for centuries suffered from discrimination and insults.
“I ask for forgiveness, in the name of the Church and the Lord. For all those times in history when we discriminated, mistreated or looked at you sideways, ”said the Pope, addressing the Gypsy community in the city of Blazh.
“My heart is heavy. Heavy from the numerous cases of discrimination, segregation and ill-treatment to which your communities were subjected. History tells us that Christians, including Catholics, committed such atrocities, ”he said.
“Indifference breeds prejudice, feeds anger and resentment. How often we make hasty judgments, in words that sting, in relationships that sow hatred and splits! ”Francis continued.
Earlier, the pontiff numbered seven bishops of the Greek Catholic Church, who were imprisoned and tortured in the communist era.
“The new blessed ones suffered and sacrificed their lives, speaking out against the system of totalitarian and compulsory ideology,” he said, referring to about 60 thousand believers who attended the Mass at Freedom Field in Blaje.
“These pastors, the martyrs of the faith, gathered and left the Romanian people a precious heritage that can be expressed in two words: freedom and mercy,” added Francis, who praised the “diversity of religious manifestations” in predominantly Orthodox Romania.
On October 28, 1948, the authorities arrested the bishops, who were canonized by the pope, accusing them of “treason” after they refused to accept Orthodoxy.
The Greek Catholic Church was outlawed under the communist regime that existed in Romania from 1948 to 1989.