Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Pope Speaks Up for the Roma

A fire roared through a Roma shack in an illegal camp outside Rome two weeks ago, killing four children. The tragedy received but 4 column inches of coverage in the Los Angeles Times, but that's a a paragraph more than in most newspapers.

The current apartheid by France and Italy against Roma in recent years has gone relatively unreported in the American media.

Pope Benedict XVI in his appearance on Sunday, February 13 in St. Peters Square used the Sermon on the Mount as the opportunity for speaking in support of the Roma:
“Thus each precept becomes true as a requirement of law, and they all come
together in one single commandment: love God with all your heart and love
your neighbor as yourself. ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law, St. Paul writes.”

His Excellence then powerfully stated: “Faced with this requirement, the pitiful case of the four Roma children, who died last week on the outskirts of this city when their shack burned down, forces us to face the question whether a more united and fraternal society, more coherent in charity, in other words, more Christian, would not have been able to avoid this tragic event. And this holds true for many other painful episodes, more or less well-known, which happen every day in our cities and countries.”

The Pope had previously criticized France on its deportations of the Roma.

The record of Pope Pius XII in the Holocaust is highly controversial. The basic question is did He do all he could to save, much less even speak out for, the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, not to mention the Catholics and Roma similarly persecuted by the Nazis.

Pope Benedict XVI is not similarly reticent with the apartheid and genocide unfolding against the Roma in two European countries today.

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