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Pope issues challenge to counter evangelising efforts of Protestant sects
    Pope John Paul II has expressed concern over the growth of fundamentalist sects in Latin America, calling them a "serious obstacle" for evangelising the "continent of hope".
    When he met last week with consultants and members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the Holy Father noted that those lands "now include close to half of the Catholic world." But he warned of the impact of sects there.
    "It is necessary to pay special attention to the problem of sects, which are a serious obstacle to the evangelising effort," the Bishop of Rome confirmed.
    "Resolute pastoral action is needed," he said, "to address this grave question, reviewing pastoral methods used, strengthening the structures of communion and mission, and taking advantage of the possibilities for evangelization offered by a purified popular religiosity."
    Meanwhile, on Sunday Pope John Paul took his battle cry to a parish on the outskirts of Rome, where at least one evangelical group has a base.
    "In your neighbourhood, in fact, the challenge of sects isn't absent," the pope told the parishioners.
    He urged them to show "more faithfulness and courage in carrying out the great undertaking of the `new evangelisation'".
    "It's an urgent task," he said.