05/09/2019, 14.33
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Pope to Roma and Sinti: those who discard others are real second-class citizens

The real problem, before being political and social, is linked to a distance: "This is the problem of today: if you tell me that it is a political problem, a social problem, a cultural problem, a language problem: they are secondary things. The problem is a problem of distance between the mind and the heart. This: it is a problem of distance ”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "There are second-class citizens", "but the real second-class citizens are those who discard other people: these are second, because they do not know how to embrace".

Thus Pope Francis addressed a group of 500 Roma and Sinti received at the Vatican for a meeting promoted by the Migrantes Foundation, a pastoral body of the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI).

The meeting opened with some testimonies, including that of Don Cristian Di Silvio, an ethnic Rom who became a priest and a memory of the CEI president Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti. The Cardinal spoke of how thirty years ago a Roma friend of his had said: "You see father the real distances are not the measurable ones, because today it is easy to reach all the countries of the earth; but the real distances today are those between the head and the heart ”.


"Of the things I have heard - said Francis - many have touched my heart, but let's take one to start, then the others will come. This mother who spoke, touched my heart when she said that she "read", "saw" hope in the eyes of her children. She has four, she told me, and that's okay, these are two. Hope can disappoint if it is not true hope, but when hope is concrete, as in this case, in the eyes of the children, it never disappoints, never disappoints! When hope is concrete, in the true God, it never disappoints. Mothers who read hope in their children's eyes struggle every day for concreteness, not for abstract things, no: raising a child, feeding him, educating him, inserting him into society ... They are concrete things. And even mothers - I dare say - are hope. A woman who gives birth to a child is hope, sows hope, is able to lead the way, to create horizons, to give hope ".


"In both testimonies there was always the bitter pain of separation: something that is felt on the skin, not with the ears. They put you aside, they say to you: "Yes, yes, pass, but stay there, don't touch me".


"One thing that makes me angry is that we are used to talking about people with adjectives. We do not say: "This is a person, this is a mother, this is a young priest," but: "He is like this, like that ...". We use an adjective. And this destroys, because it does not let the person emerge. This is one person, this is another person, this is another person. Children are people. All. We cannot say: they are like that, they are ugly, they are good, they are bad. The adjective is one of the things that creates distances between the mind and the heart, as Cardinal [Bassetti] said. This is the problem of today. If you tell me it is a political problem, a social problem, a cultural problem, a language problem: these are secondary things. The problem is a problem of distance between the mind and the heart. This: it is a problem of distance. "Yes, yes, you are a person, but far from me, far from my heart." Social rights, health services: "Yes, yes, but queue ... No, first this, then this." True, there are second-class citizens, it's true. But the real second-class citizens are those who discard other people: these are second-class, because they don't know how to embrace. Always with the adjective they throw out, discard, and live discarding, they live with the broom in hand sweeping others aside, or with gossip or with other things. Instead the true path is that of  fraternity: "Come on, then let's talk, but come, the door is open." And we all have to work together ".

"You may be in danger of one thing ... – as we all always are - a weakness, let's say, weakness, perhaps to let rancor grow. Of course, it's human. But I ask you, please, enlarge your heart: no resentment. And go ahead with dignity: the dignity of the family, the dignity of work, the dignity of earning one's daily bread - this is what keeps you going - and the dignity of prayer. Always looking ahead. And when the grudge comes, forget it, then history will do us justice. Because resentment riddles everything: it sickens the heart, the head, everything. It sickens family, and it's not good, because resentment leads you to revenge: "You did this ...". But revenge I believe that you did not invent it. In Italy there are organizations that are masters of revenge. You understand me well, don't you? A group of people who are capable of creating revenge, of living in silence: this is a group of delinquent people; not the people who want to work ".

"Forge ahead with dignity, with work ... And when you see the difficulties, look up and you will find that they are watching us there. Watching you. There is One who looks at you first, who loves you, One who had to live on the margins, as a child, to save his life, hidden, a refugee: One who suffered for you, who gave his life on the cross. It is One, as we heard in the Reading that you did, that you are looking for yourself to console yourself and encourage you to move forward. This is why I tell you: no distance; to you and to everyone: the mind with the heart. No adjectives, no: all people, everyone will deserve their adjective, but not generalistic adjectives. We heard a nice name, which indicates mothers; this is a beautiful name: "mammy". It's a beautiful word".

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