Pope Benedict XVI has urged French bishops to do everything they can to counter religious ignorance.
The Pope was addressing bishops from the Episcopal Conference of France at the end of their visit to the Vatican last week.
He expressed concern over the lack of understanding in Europe about the nature of God and big questions like life, death, disease and suffering.
The bishops were reminded of the need to share about God the Creator and the love shown for humanity through Jesus, as the Pope warned that religious ignorance was the "one of the gravest problems of our time".
"One of the most formidable obstacles to our pastoral mission is ignorance of the content of faith," he said.
"Indeed, this is a dual form of ignorance: the ignorance of Jesus Christ as a person and ignorance of the sublime nature of His teachings, of their universal and permanent value in the search for the meaning of life and happiness.
"In the new generations this ignorance produces an inability to understand history or to recognise themselves as heirs to this tradition, which has shaped European life, society, art and culture."