Go forth, and re-evangelize

Spreading the word: The Pope wants to tackle the ‘process of secularization’

Even as the Vatican deals with the fallout of the continuing sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he is setting up a team to “re-evangelize” the West to counter the rising secularization of once-Catholic countries, including Canada.

The new department, to be called the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization, is aimed at rich, developed countries whose practising Catholic population has declined. The Pope hopes the new body will tackle the “process of secularization” that “has produced a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the Church.” Monsignor Rino Fisichella, the recently retired president of the Pontifical Academy for Life (the Vatican’s top bioethics position), is the president of the council.

The announcement came at a vespers service in late June, during which the Pope also confirmed new appointments to senior positions. The bureaucratic shakeup included the assignment of Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet as head of the Congregation for Bishops, which vets bishop nominations worldwide.