Vatican Seeks to Win Back the West
New council to 're-evangelize' wealthy countries
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2010 3:14 AM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful as he arrives at Avenida dos Aliados to celebrate a mass in Porto, Portugal,last month.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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(Newser) – Never had a Catholic missionary knocking on your door? That could soon change. Pope Benedict XVI, lamenting "the eclipse of a sense of God" in Europe and North America, has launched plans to "re-evangelize" the West, the Telegraph reports. The newly created Pontifical Council for New Evangelization will aim to reinvigorate Catholicism in wealthy countries, the pontiff says.

The new body will be active in countries suffering from "a progressive secularization of society," Benedict said. Vatican-watchers expect an Italian archbishop to be named as head of the council. Catholic congregations in the West have plummeted in recent years as followers revolted by the steady stream of abuse scandals have turned turn away from the church.