World News

Pope creates Vatican office for "new evangelisation"

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Vespers mass to celebrate the feast of Saint Peters and Paul in the Saint Paul Outside the Walls basilica in Rome June 28, 2010. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Monday announced the creation of a new Vatican department dedicated to rekindling the Catholic faith in rich, developed countries that are threatened with “the eclipse of a sense of God.”

The pope said he made his decision, which had been rumoured for weeks, to try to stop the “eclipse of God” in countries where a once deep-rooted faith was weakened by secularisation.

“Secularisation has produced a grave crisis in the sense of the Christian faith and of belonging to the Church,” he said, adding that the purpose of the new council would be to “find the right means to re-propose the perennial truth of the Gospel.

The new department will concentrate on efforts to re-awaken the faith in countries in Europe and North America where the Church attendance and the number of vocations to the priesthood has dropped dramatically in the past 50 years.

The new department is expected to be called “The Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation” and is expected to be headed by Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella.