GREECE/ Fr. Voutsinos (Catholic Caritas): People are desperate, but want to stay in Europe
Greece is in despair. It is a situation of economic and human collapse that has few precedents in post-war Europe, and there is no way out in sight. Actually, there is still the risk that Greece will leave the Eurozone, and, according to rumors, they have already begun to print the drachma, the old Hellenic money, to prepare for the end of the euro. In this context, there are some who attempt to do something, however small, or tiny, to help others in this dramatic situation.
IlSussidiario.net contacted Father Andrea Voutsinos, the Vice President of Caritas in Greece and the deputy director of Caritas in Athens, to tell us what is being done to help those who are in terrible conditions. One should keep in mind that Catholics are a tiny minority in Greece and there are also difficulties in relations with the Orthodox Church, to which the vast majority of the population, 11 million in total, belongs. Father Voutsinos explains what Caritas does and how difficult the current situation is in Greece.
Father Andrea, tell us about Caritas and its work in Athens.
In this moment of worsening crisis, in Caritas we operate a cafeteria in the center of Athens where we feed more than three hundred adults and eighty children under 8 years old, every day except Saturdays and Sundays because the company that hosts us is closed on the weekends. Also, each month we give a bag of food to Greek families and the families of refugees who are unable to pay for groceries. Our Caritas project was born as a way to help refugees and illegal immigrants who were in Greece waiting for visas to go to the West, but since the crisis erupted in Greece, Caritas has also begun to help Greek families.
The situation of refugees, especially illegal immigrants, is particularly dramatic because they have no job, no home, and they sleep with twenty people in one room. We try to help however we can, but the difficulty is that the Catholic Church in Greece is an absolute minority, so we are unable to help more. Muslims also come to us because Caritas does not make distinctions of religion or race. They are all sons of God, and so we try to help them all.
How big is the Greek Catholic Church?