Source AP ©

Vatican urges society should outdo general mistrust toward Gypsies

People must put an end to mistrust regarding Gypsies and find the ways to make them part of it, the Vatican announced. 

The appeal was made in a document issued by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Immigrants and Travelers. It came out of a meeting held in September, but the results were released Monday, amid a raging debate in Italy about public safety after the killing of a woman by a Romanian immigrant who is a Gypsy.

"We recommend that ways be found to overcome the general mistrust regarding Gypsies, and urge an opening of society which offers them the possibility to be fully part of it, " the five-page document concluded.

On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI added his voice to the debate over the balance between citizen safety and treatment of foreigners, reminding authorities that immigrants have both obligations and rights.

The government has ordered fast-track expulsions of EU citizens deemed dangerous and has bulldozed shantytowns housing Gypsies and immigrants.

The document said the Roman Catholic Church should actively participate in the process of integration through pastoral workers dedicated exclusively to Gypsies in their country of origin, who "can act as mediators between the Church and the Gypsy people."

Over 40 Gypsies from nine countries participated in the September meeting, many of them priests and nuns.