APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS FRANCIS
(MAY 31 - JUNE 2, 2019)
MEETING WITH THE ROM COMMUNITY
GREETING OF THE HOLY FATHER
Lautaro district, Blaj
Sunday, 2 June 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good afternoon!
I am happy to meet you and thank you for your welcome. You, Don Ioan, are not wrong in affirming that certainty that is as safe as it is sometimes forgotten: in the Church of Christ there is room for everyone. If it were not so it would not be the Church of Christ. The Church is a meeting place, and we need to remember it not as a beautiful slogan but as part of the identity card of our being Christians. You have reminded us of this by taking as an example the martyr Bishop Ioan Suciu, who knew how to shape with a concrete gesture the desire of God the Father to meet with every person in friendship and sharing. The Gospel of joy is transmitted in the joy of meeting and knowing that we have a Father who loves us. Beware of Him, we understand how to look at each other. With this spirit, I wanted to clasp your hands, put my eyes in yours, let you enter into the heart, into prayer, with the confidence of entering into your prayer and into your heart.
But in my heart I carry a weight. It is the burden of discrimination, segregation and abuse suffered by your communities. History tells us that even Christians, even Catholics, are no strangers to so much evil. I would like to ask forgiveness for this. I ask forgiveness - in the name of the Church from the Lord and from you - when, throughout history, we have discriminated against you, mistreated you or looked at you wrongly, with the eyes of Cain instead of Abel, and we have not been able to recognize you , appreciate and defend yourself in your peculiarity. Cain doesn't care about his brother. It is in indifference that prejudices are nurtured and resentment is fomented. How many times we judge rashly, with words that hurt, with attitudes that sow hatred and create distances! When someone is left behind, the human family does not walk. We are not Christian, or even human, if we do not know how to see the person before his actions, before our judgments and prejudices.
Always, in the history of humanity, there are Abel and Cain. There is the outstretched hand and the hand that strikes. There is the opening of the meeting and the closing of the battle. There is welcome and there is the gap. There are those who see in each other a brother and who are an obstacle in their path. There is the civilization of love and there is that of hatred. Every day there is a choice between Abel and Cain. As in front of a crossroads, a decisive choice is often made before us: to follow the path of reconciliation or that of revenge. We choose the way of Jesus. It is a path that costs effort, but it is the way that leads to peace. And it goes through forgiveness. Let us not be carried away by the hatred that hatch inside us: no rancor. Because no evil is hurting another evil, no revenge satisfies injustice, no resentment is good for the heart, no closure approaching.
Dear brothers and sisters, you as a people have a leading role to play and you must not be afraid to share and offer those specific characteristics that constitute you and mark your path, and which we need so much: the value of life and extended family (cousins, uncles, ...); solidarity, hospitality, help, support and defense of the weakest within their community; enhancing and respecting the elderly - this is a great value that you have -; the religious sense of life, spontaneity and the joy of living. Do not deprive the societies in which you find yourselves of these gifts and also arrange to receive all the good things that others can offer you and make. Therefore I wish to invite you to walk together, where you are, in building a more human world, going beyond fears and suspicions, dropping the barriers that separate us from others, nurturing mutual trust in the patient and never in vain search for fraternity. Commit ourselves to walk together, with dignity: the dignity of the family, the dignity of earning ourselves the bread of every day - this is, yes, which keeps you going - and the dignity of prayer. Always looking forward (see Prayer Meeting with the Roma and Sinti people, 9 May 2019).
Full Text + Image Source: Shared from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation