Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday condemned "indifferent" and "hostile" attitudes to religion in Europe and the Middle East at a major Vatican conference on
evangelization attended by 8,000 delegates.
The Catholic Church should seek to spread its message "particularly in countries with ancient Christian traditions that appear to have become indifferent or even hostile to the
Word of God”, Benedict told the meeting.
"Today`s world needs people who announce and testify that Christ can teach us how to live, can show us the path to true happiness," he said.
He added: "Modern man is often confused and cannot find an answer to the many questions that occupy his mind about the meaning of life."
Catholic ranks are dwindling in some Western countries and have come under pressure from evangelical Christians in the developing world.
The pope has made the new evangelization of Europe a defining feature of his pontificate. He set up the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization -- a type of ministry at the Vatican -- last year.
He was speaking to representatives of bishops` conferences as well as clerical and lay religious movements from around the world.
Among the items on the agenda are non-traditional ways of spreading the Catholic message, including on the streets and through the Internet.