Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday opened a meeting of Roman Catholic Church leaders from around the world to debate how to counter rising secularism on the 50th anniversary of the momentous Second Vatican Council.
The synod of 262 archbishops, bishops and other senior clerics heard a call from the pope for a "new evangelism" for the Catholic Church, which is fast losing followers in Europe and feels increasingly discriminated against in many parts of the world.
The three-week synod coincides with the announcement on October 11 of a "Year of Faith" to mark the anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which changed the face of Catholicism.
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