Vatican City, Jun 22, 2012 / 11:05 am
Pope Benedict believes that Catholics who convert to evangelical Christianity often do so because they experience a lack of fervor, joy and community within Catholic parishes – rather than for doctrinal reasons.
"Often sincere people who leave our Church do not do so as a result of what non-Catholic groups believe, but fundamentally as a result of their own lived experience; for reasons not of doctrine but of life; not for strictly dogmatic, but for pastoral reasons; not due to theological problems, but to methodological problems of our Church,"he told a delegation of Colombian bishops at the Vatican June 21.
The Pope's comments were specifically focused on Latin America, where"the increasingly active presence of Pentecostal and Evangelical communities … cannot be ignored or underestimated."
Despite statistics indicating that more than 90 percent of Colombians still identify themselves as Catholics, in recent decades the rate of conversions to evangelical Protestantism has increased across Latin America, particularly in poor urban neighborhoods.