ROMANIA- Pope Francis on Sunday asked forgiveness in the name of the Catholic Church for the mistreatment of the Roma people, a move likely to increase tensions with Italy’s anti-immigrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
Pope Francis made the comment during a meeting with Roma people at the last event of his three day trip to Romania, saying his heart was made “heavy” by the meeting.
“It is weighed down by the many experiences of discrimination, segregation and mistreatment experienced by your communities. History tells us that Christians too, including Catholics, are not strangers to such evil,” he said.
With an estimated population of 10-12 million, approximately six million of whom live in the European Union, Roma people are the biggest ethnic minority in Europe and rights groups say they are often the victims of prejudice and social exclusion.