Archbishop Marchetto decries French crackdown on Gypsies

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto delivers his homily at St. Augustine Church in Rome
Archbishop Agostino Marchetto delivers his homily at St. Augustine Church in Rome


In reference to France's recent expulsion of immigrants living in the country, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto emphasized God's desire for “decent” lives and the “common good” of all peoples.

On Saturday, Archbishop Marchetto, the secretary for the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, observed his namesake's feast day at the Church of St. Augustine in Rome. The same day, the prelate also celebrated his own birthday.

The archbishop has been particularly vocal recently in criticizing the French government for its policies directed specifically at Gypsies and those of Roma ethnic origins.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's government has cracked down on their caravan camps, disbanding the encampments and offering a pay off to those willing to be sent home this month. According to French news reports, in September the policy will change to one of deportation without compensation.

Speaking with the French news outlet I.Media last week, Archbishop Marchetto said that deportations, such as these, hit "weak and poor people who have been persecuted, who were also themselves victims of a 'holocaust'.”

At St. Augustine parish in Rome, the secretary for migrants spoke of the "four great and important columns of the building of peace," which are: truth, love, justice and freedom.

Peace, he said, "is the great desire of every man. It is human, truly human, and as such, each of us in his small world contributes to this great desire which is the desire of God."

His desire, said the archbishop, is for "a world that is open to man, a decent life for all, a desire for the good - the common good - and also the national (good) ... in a universal context, because we live in a world that is becoming, in a certain sense, ever smaller and is certainly, in many aspects, globalized."

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