This article really struck a chord with me because members in of my family in South America, have left the Catholic Church to become evangelical Christians. One reason may be the financial assistance offered by the Protestant churches. It is tragic to learn that these once devout Catholic countries are becoming Protestants.
Latin America Needs Disciples, Pope Says
Continent Has "Urgent Need of a New Evangelization"
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The message of salvation needs to
permeate the roots of cultures, Benedict XVI says.
He explained this on Saturday to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
"It is necessary to proclaim the message of salvation in full, so that it permeates the roots of cultures and is incarnated in the present Latin American historical moment, to better respond to its needs and legitimate aspirations," the Holy Father said.
The Pope explained that the theme of the meeting -- "The Family and Christian Education in Latin America" -- was chosen thinking of the challenges posed by evangelization, and linked this to the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America, which he will open in Brazil in May.
That conference "is called to be a renewed impulse to evangelization in that vast, eminently Catholic region of the world," the Pontiff added.
The present challenges of Latin America "are enormous," Benedict XVI said, mentioning cultural change generated by the media, migratory currents and their familial and religious repercussions, questions on how nations should assume their history and future, secularization, globalization, poverty, violence and drug-trafficking.
"Above all is seen the urgent need of a new evangelization, which will stimulate us to reflect further on the values of our faith, so that they will be sap and configure the identity of these beloved peoples who one day received the light of the Gospel," the Holy Father added.
When "faith is not nourished by prayer and meditation on the divine word, when sacramental life languishes, then sects and new pseudo-religious groups prosper, causing many Catholics to be estranged from the Church," he said.
The Pope explained: "Just by living intensely their love of Jesus Christ and dedicating themselves generously to the service of charity, his disciples will be eloquent and credible witnesses of the immense love of God for every human being.
"For the future of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, it is important that Christians deepen and assume the style of life proper to disciples of Jesus Christ: simple and joyful, with a solid faith rooted in the depth of the heart and nourished by prayer and the sacraments."
It is "in the family, in the parish and diocesan community"
where the true disciple grows, matures and becomes a missionary and "proclaims the person of Christ and his Gospel in all environments," the Pontiff stated.
"The patrimony of the faith is guarded in the family," he said. "In it,
the children receive the gift of life, feel loved just as they are and learn the values that will help them to live as children of God.
"The family, receiving the gift of life, becomes the proper environment to respond to the gift of vocation, especially now in which the need is greatly felt that the Lord send workers into his vineyard."