Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
People on the Move
N° 100 (Suppl.), April 2006
Presentation of the
Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Gypsies
by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, aired by Vatican Radio
Questions and answers
Q. Could you please speak to us briefly about the document?
A. The text opens with a Preface that explains the reason for its publication. It was born from a sincere concern of the Church for Gypsies, and as a response to the needs of a particular pastoral reality, in the context of the Church's missionary thrust and effort for human promotion.
The Guidelines are a fruit of extensive study, with the contribution of various pastoral agents, including Gypsies, and some experts. We also asked for the input of Church bodies that are not directly involved in this pastoral care so that it would be appropriately integrated into the broader framework of the universal mission of the Church.
Besides, considering that the Gypsy populations are marked by diversity, even in their cultural identity, it is up to the local Church to adapt the criteria, indications and suggestions contained in the document to the concrete circumstances of time and space.
Q. What is the content of these Guidelines?
A. The six chapters of the document can be subdivided into two big sections: one which presents the Church and the Gypsies from a comprehensive perspective and another which is more explicitly pastoral. The first part offers some general notions about Gypsies (chapter I), affirms the solicitude of the Church in their regard and presents the biblical vision of itinerancy, as well as the relationship between the catholicity of the Church and the pastoral care for Gypsies (chapter II). Chapters III and IV are dedicated to a study of the profound bond that unites evangelization, inculturation of faith and human promotion. While chapter III dwells on the attention towards the Gypsy culture in the process of evangelization, on its purification and elevation, and on its fulfilment in Christ, the following chapter deals with Gypsies' human and civil rights, of the conditions for their integral development and of the human perspective of promotion. The second section (chapters V and VI) forms the heart – so to say – of the document, because it deals with themes that are more explicitly pastoral in nature. Chapter V is entirely dedicated to specific aspects of the pastoral care for Gypsies, while chapter VI presents the structures and the people dedicated to this apostolate.