By Tim Harfmann
The Holy Father hit on several big themes during his three days in Romania. At the top of the list, unity among the country’s people and leaders.
“It is necessary to walk together,” said Francis.
The Pope also called for unity among Christians, pointing out that Romania’s Orthodox faithful and Catholics died together during the Soviet persecution.
“That which they suffered, to the point of sacrificing their lives, is too precious an inheritance to be disregarded or tarnished,” he said.
The Pope beatified seven Catholic bishops who died for the faith during Romania’s communist rule. Francis said the martyrs loved the Church.
“The new blesseds suffered and gave their lives to oppose an ideological system that oppressed the fundamental rights of the human person,” he said.
Another big theme from Francis was hope for Romania’s Catholics. They only account for about seven percent of the population.
Addressing Catholic families and young people in front of an image of Our Lady, Francis asked them to be sources of inspiration.
“Where there is noise, let us try to listen. Where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony. Where everything is uncertain and ambiguous, let us bring clarity. Where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity,” he said.
Francis echoed that message of solidarity while seeking forgiveness from the Roma community, the country’s most marginalized and discriminated people.
He listened to one Roma family and assured that there is room for them in the Church.
“If it were not like that, it would not be the Church of Christ,” he added.
The Holy Father also apologized to the Roma people for the persecution they have faced throughout history.
“I would like to ask your forgiveness for this. I ask forgiveness, in the name of the Church and of the Lord, and I ask forgiveness from you,” he said.