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Vatican official urges effort to reach lapsed Catholics

Archbishop John Foley has told the Church in the US that it's time to target "inactive" Catholics through "a special effort of evangelisation through media, including and perhaps especially through Internet".

Catholic News Service reports that he made his call during a visit to Washington. He said the timeliness of this moment is due to the end of two years of "virtual siege conditions" due to the clergy sex abuse scandal, and the "tremendous response" to Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ.

He told the US bishops' communications committee late last month that the film "has reawakened interest in our redemption through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ".

He suggested the US church should "reach out to inactive Catholics, especially those who might have used recent scandals as a type of justification for their own inactivity or alienation."

With about 20 million lapsed Catholics in the US, they are the nation's second largest "religious group" after the 65 million active Catholics, he said.

Vatican official calls for special effort to reach inactive Catholics (Catholic News Service 2/6/04)

Pontifical Council for Social Communications
US Conference of Catholic Bishops - Communications
Foley says 'bad examples' biggest hurdle for evangelisation (CathNews 7/2/03)
Vatican communications head says many learn morality from media, not Gospel (23/10/02)

4 Jun 2004