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Latin American Church needs new effort to stop attrition to Evangelicals, Pope says

Catholic World News - June 22, 2012

Many sincere people in Latin America are leaving the Catholic Church for Protestant groups, not because of doctrinal differences but because they do not find enough support for their spiritual lives, Pope Benedict XVI told a group of visiting bishops from Colombia on June 22.

The Holy Father told the Colombian prelates—who were making their ad limina visits—that “a renewed and fruitful movement of evangelization” is needed to bring new life to the Catholic Church in their country. He remarked that “Colombia is not immune to the consequences of neglecting God.”

In the context of a “crisis in spiritual and moral values which has had a negative effect on many of your fellow citizens,” the Pope called on the Colombian bishops to proclaim the Gospel and to provide help for those in spiritual or material need. He said that “often sincere people who leave our Church do not do so as a result of what non-Catholic groups believe, but fundamentally as a result of their own lived experience; for reasons not of doctrine but of life.”

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jun. 23, 2012 8:04 PM ET USA

    Too bad the Magisterium did not more forcefully acknowledge this problem in the 1970s and 1980s when Jesuits and Maryknollers were literally chasing Catholics out of the Church in Central and South America and in Mexico. I remember Pat Robertson reporting nightly on the millions of Catholics who converted to non-Catholic sects during these years. Remember the "comunidades de base" in Cuba and south of the U.S. border where Catholics were socialized into anti-Catholic communities?

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Jun. 23, 2012 4:57 AM ET USA

    Until we recognize we are on our second generation of Catholics with little grounding in their Catholic faith, it will be hard to combat this problem. Most don't have the basic knowledge to discern the difference between Catholicism and other Christian churches. Our priests and my family often explained why our Church was the 'one true church' founded by Jesus Himself (they were not embarrassed to say that out loud)and every week we learned something meaningful about the treasure of our Faith.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Jun. 22, 2012 6:46 PM ET USA

    Very true I suppose. Doctrines and dogmas have become quite irrelevant in both the Catholic Church and the various Protestant sects out for a long time at least in practice, catechesis, preaching etc. Most people just go where they feel welcome and accepted. The sad thing is the history of our faith is one of being willing to die for doctrinal orthodoxy. People might feel good in Evangelical sects but they don't save, they don't have any sacramental graces and no holy sacrafice of the Mass.

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