News/Italy: Penitential Act Proposed For Exploitation Of Prostitutes

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Subject: News/Italy: Penitential Act Proposed For Exploitation Of Prostitutes
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Mar 06 2000 - 11:31:43 EST


Penitential Act Proposed For Exploitation Of Prostitutes
Italian Episcopal Commission on Immigration Addresses "Clients"

ROME, FEB 28 (ZENIT) -- The Commission on Immigration (Cemi-Migrants) of
the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) launched an original initiative that
goes to the root of the "most ancient profession," which today in Italy
ends in the exploitation of women from other countries by Mafiosos
specialized in sexual trade.

The Episcopal Commission proposes that this Lent a penitential act be
undertaken that includes "fasting or Lenten processions, to protest and
repair for the scandal and irreparable damage inflicted by Italian
'clients' (who belong to our parishes) on women, often foreign minors,
subjected to the infamous trade for the purpose of prostitution."

The Commission directed a "proposal for the Jubilee" to the dioceses, which
is prophetically provoking. While the Biblical Jubilee appealed for the
liberation of slaves, the Holy Year 2000 calls for the drama of the new
enslavements to be addressed, such as the one of pavements where these
women feel obliged to sell themselves.

The document was approved by the congress that focused on "Local Churches
and Pastoral on Human Mobility," which was held in Rome last week, with the
participation of Bishops responsible for migrants, the CEI's Immigration
Commission, and the CEI Migrants Foundation.

The Jubilee must rouse Christian communities to a severe examination of
conscience on the issue of migrations. The Bishops' note refers to
"indifference toward the immigrants on the part of our Churches" and of
cold and suspicious welcome, "summary judgments and prejudice, placing
obstacles to the integration of immigrants, gypsies, and all those who are
obliged to move for reasons of survival."

The Committee wants to ask forgiveness for all of the above, not to mention
the "latent forms of racism, mistaken ideas of nationalism, denial of
respect for ethnic minorities. These are postures that it is salutary to be
aware of in light of the Gospel, for the purpose of committed determination
for conversion."

Bishop Alfredo Maria Garsia of Caltanissetta, president of
"Cemi-Migrantes," also denounced "the fact that even in the ecclesial
realm, among Catholics who frequent our parishes," often an attitude of
humor prevails toward immigrants and gypsies, or even of "rejection,
without realizing that it is in disharmony with their own Christian faith."

********

Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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sweatshop labor, domestic service and some coercive mail
order bride arrangements.
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