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The Catholic Church and the Evangelisation of 'Nomads' in Italy

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It was only in the 1900s that the Catholic Church began to concern itself systematically with the evangelisation of 'Nomads'. The pastoral strategies did not develop as a monolithic set of actions within the Catholic Church; rather, they varied in relation to specific events and showed considerable diversification. The article discusses this complexity and the interplay between different imageries about the Roma and Sinti and different evangelisation modalities. Eventually, it identifies three active lines which operated within the Catholic Church: the Church of 'projects' for integration, the Church that evangelises, and the Church that 'smells of sheep'. Each line built on different categorisations of Roma and Sinti and proposed different pastoral strategies. The article sums up the history of each line, their evolution and their 'evangelisation imagery' by evoking the actions of three pioneer priests who, as of the 1950s, started pastoral action among Roma and Sinti in Italy.
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Keywords: Catholic Church; Evangelisation; Gypsies; Italy; Nomads; Roma and Sinti

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2018

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  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
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