Vatican City: French President Nicholas Sarkozy has arrived for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI that is seen as a fence-mending visit following France's controversial expulsion of Gypsies.
Sarkozy's government has linked Gypsies, or Roma, to crime and dismantled hundreds of their shantytowns. It also expelled more than 1,000 Roma in recent months, sending them home to Romania and Bulgaria.
Benedict appeared to weigh in on the crackdown with a subtle message about tolerance. Speaking in French to pilgrims gathered at his summer residence Aug. 22, Benedict urged people to accept "legitimate human diversity" and asked parents to "educate your children about universal brotherhood."
The crackdown has been criticized by many Roman Catholics.
First Published: Friday, October 08, 2010, 15:34