Pope: converts to evangelical churches find Catholic parishes lacking

Pope Benedict has given his opinion that Catholics who become converts to evangelical churches often do so because they experience a lack of fervour, joy and community within Catholic parishes — not because of doctrinal reasons.

“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; not for strictly dogmatic, but for pastoral reasons; not due to theological problems, but to methodological problems of our Church,” he told a delegation of Colombian bishops on June 21.

“What is important, then, is to become better believers, more pious, affable and welcoming in our parishes and communities, so that no-one feels distant or excluded,” he said.

The Pope was referring particularly to Latin America, where the “increasingly active presence” of Pentecostal and Evangelical communities “cannot be ignored or underestimated”.

Offering some practical advice, the Pope called for better catechesis — particularly to the young — as well as carefully prepared homilies at Mass and the promotion of Catholic doctrine in schools and universities.

Following this path, he said, would help awaken in Catholics “the aspiration to share with others the joy of following Christ and become members of his mystical body”.

He said bishops should also try to facilitate “serene and open” dialogue with other Christian communities — “without losing one’s own identity” — so as to improve relations and “overcome distrust and unnecessary confrontations”.


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News category: World.

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