Church issues guidelines for pastoral ministry to prostitutes, street children, and homeless

.- The Church has issued a set of guidelines for those traveling on roadways and those working in pastoral ministries for the liberation of street women, the pastoral care of street children, and the pastoral care of the homeless.

Archbishop Marchetto, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, explained the ways the Church should respond to these pressing situations.

In order to respond effectively to the first of these, said the archbishop, "it is important to understand the factors that push ... women into prostitution, the strategies used by intermediaries and traffickers to make them submit to their will, the paths along which they move from their countries of origin to those of destination, and the institutional resources needed to face the problem.

Fortunately the international community and many non-governmental organizations are seeking ever more energetically to combat criminal activities and to protect the victims of human trafficking, developing a vast range of resources to prevent the phenomenon and to rehabilitate its victims back into social life.

"The Church," he added, "has the pastoral responsibility to defend and promote the human dignity of those exploited by prostitution, and to work towards their liberation, providing economic, educational and formative support to this end. She ... must also prophetically denounce the injustices and violence perpetrated against street women and invite people of good will to commit themselves to the defense of their human dignity, ... putting an end to sexual exploitation."

Archbishop Marchetto described the issue of street children, as "a phenomenon of unimaginable proportions, ... 150 million according to the International Labor Organization." He identified its causes in "the increasing disintegration of families, ... immigration which uproots people from their familiar environment and disorientates them, and conditions of extreme poverty."

"In order for children to have a future in life, it is of fundamental importance to infuse in them a feeling of self-confidence, self-respect and dignity, ... so that they develop a genuine desire to resume studying ... and to create dignified and gratifying life projects, through their own efforts and not dependent upon others." In this area, he continued, "it is necessary to seek out and meet the young people in the places they gather, on the streets, ... and in the 'hotspots' of our metropolises."

"They become a multitude without a name and without a voice, incapable of defending themselves or of finding the resources to improve their future." Fortunately, "there is no lack of pastoral responses, ... though insufficient, by parishes Catholic organizations ecclesial movements and new communities."

In closing, Archbishop Marchetto highlighted "the close link of the pastoral care of the road with its source, Christ the Lord in the mystery of His incarnation, and with the Church and her preferential option for the poor, who must be evangelized while respecting everyone's freedom of conscience and letting oneself, in turn, be evangelized by them."


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