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Pope says church is not a social agency

John Paul II has warned Uruguayan bishops visiting the Vatcan not "to reduce Christian communities to social agencies".

"It is not enough to promote the so-called values of the Kingdom, such as peace, justice, liberty, fraternity; instead, Christ must be proclaimed as the only mediator between God and men," the Holy Father explained.

According to the Holy See's Statistical Yearbook, 76.5% of Uruguay's 3.3 million inhabitants are Catholics. Yet, the country has the lowest degree of practice of the faith in Latin America.

John Paul II emphasised that evangelisation is "the first service that the Church can render every man and the whole of humanity in today's world, which enjoys great progress, but seems to have lost the sense of ultimate realities."

The Pope highlighted four decisive areas in the task of evangelisation: the university, the media, the family, and the preferential option for the poor.