Pope Announces New Pontifical Council to re-Evangelise Secularized Christian Nations


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(28 Jun 10 - RV) Pope Benedict announced the creation of a New Pontifical Council dedicated to the New Evangelization on Monday evening, during the Vespers service marking the vigil of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Pope Benedict chose the Church the first great Christian missionary - St. Paul - to announce a new Pontifical Council dedicated to the evangelization of secularized Christian nations.

The Pope was celebrating the Vespers of the Vigil of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul in the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. During his homily, he spoke of how his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had urgently proclaimed a new evangelization, aimed at countries which had long before received the Gospel.

Pope Benedict said he received this legacy upon his own election to the Chair of Peter, and noted the challenges of the present time are mostly spiritual.

He said he wanted to give the new Pontifical Council the task of promoting a renewed evangelization in countries with deep Christian roots which are now experiencing a sense of the "eclipse of God", and becoming increasingly secularized.

He said this situation presents a challenge in finding the appropriate means in which to revive the perennial truth of the Gospel of Christ.

The Pope then addressed the delegation sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.

Pope Benedict said the challenge of the new evangelization asks Christians to pursue with a sense of urgency the quest for full unity among Christians.

He said it was a sign of hope that the Churches of Rome and Constantinople now have the practice of reciprocal visits during the feast days of their respective patron saints.

On Tuesday morning, the Pope will be at St. Peter's Basilica, where during the Mass for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, he will bestow the Pallium on 38 metropolitan archbishops.