December 12, 2011

Pope Benedict said Asia offers "vast scenarios of evangelization" for the Church, but currently faces difficulties and "true persecution" in some places.

The pope made the comments Nov. 25 to members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who were meeting at the Vatican.

"The vast Asian continent is home to diverse populations, cultures and religions of ancient origin, but until now the Christian announcement has reached only a small minority," the pope said.

"Not rarely, they live the faith in a difficult context, and sometimes under true persecution."

His remarks appeared aimed at China, which has sharply limited Church freedoms.