NOTE: The following are excerpts from a secular Portuguese publication ("Correio da Manhá " - April 27, 1995) highlighting the positive steps taken by the Portuguese Episcopal Conference for the restoration of the Catholic Church in Portugal.
Six recommendations to the parishes
In a document titled "Episcopal Pastoral Instruction on Sects-A Challenge to the Pastoral Activities of the Church", the Portuguese Episcopal Conference recommends the strengthening of the community dimension of the parish, a more careful instruction of the faithful, the renewal of the expressions of popular devotions, a greater responsible involvement of the faithful, the renewal of the Priest's image and more joy infused in the prayers and liturgy.
These proposals for pastoral renewal are more directed to the internal life of the Church than to a direct action toward (against) the Sects, which, in Portugal, are almost 300.
For the same reason it is necessary to renew the image of the Priest so that he "is always seen in good spirits, available, totally devoted to his mission by promoting unity, communion, sanctity and the apostolic dynamism of the parish community".
The document is not lacking of criticism to the Church itself which, to a certain extent, considers itself responsible for propelling the Portuguese faithful to embrace these Sects which are considered a "real danger" to the Christian Faith.
"...brings to mind certain deficiencies in the pastoral action of the Church."
The Conference stresses that Portugal was born Christian and continues to be so but admits that two and a half centuries of rationalism and laicism have harmed the Church and the Faith of the people.
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