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Pope Tells Latin American Church to answer sects by evangelisation

Pope John Paul II yesterday met with the members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, and told them that the region needs more effective evangelization to counteract "the insidious problem of sects."

Speaking first in Spanish and then in Portuguese to the group - which has been meeting in plenary session this week, with Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re presiding - the Holy Father called for "in-depth evangelisation, the continuous and active presence of pastors, bishops and priests among their parishioners, and a personal relationship of the faithful with Christ."

He added that the Church in Latin America must also preserve a "preferential option for the poor."

The rapid development of Protestant sects in the region - particularly in Brazil - has commanded Vatican attention. In January, a special conference on that problem was held in Rome, co-sponsors by the Latin American bishops with the Pontifical Councils for Christian Unity and for Inter-religious Dialogue.

The Vatican has decried efforts by sect leaders to promote religious conversions through social or economic pressure, or inaccurate promises. But the Pope reminded his audience that the most effective response to sects is an energetic preaching of the Gospel by committed Catholics.

Catholic World News

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