November 13, 2009

Catholic Church Should Be More Involved On The Internet

Roman Catholic leaders stated on Thursday that the Church needs to have a greater presence in the ever expanding world of the Internet, which could make way for more "research, encounters, dialogue and prayer," reported AFP.

"The Internet is increasingly an integral part of everyday life," Monsignor Jean-Michel Di Falco said at the beginning of a four-day Vatican meeting of European Catholic bishops about the media.

"By not being present (on the Web), you cut yourself off from a large part of people's lives," added the bishop of Gap, in southeastern France.

He listed three recent events involving the Church that have "shaken Planet Internet."

First of all, there was the lifting of the ex-communication of a Holocaust-denying bishop. Then, a doctor who performed an abortion on a nine-year-old rape victim was excommunicated. And then Pope Benedict XVI spoke publicly about condom use and AIDS in Africa.

During the scandal with British Bishop Richard Williamson, the pope even said that one would only have to check the Internet to read about the bishop's views on the Holocaust.

At this year's meeting of the Swiss-based Vatican agency European Episcopal Commission for Media, representatives from social networking site Facebook, search engine giant Google, popular video sharing site YouTube, and even online encyclopedia Wikipedia are expected to make an appearance.

The Internet "shuffles the deck, makes us step down from our pedestal, from our magisterial chair and makes us come out of our ghettos," said Di Falco.

"Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, lay people, with the Internet we enter a marketplace, a free and spontaneous space where everything is said about everything, where everyone can debate everything," he added.

"We should promote a Christian presence on the Web made up of operators including priests who of course master communication techniques but also provide spaces for research, encounters, dialogue and prayer," Di Falco said.

Those taking part in the meeting will also learn methods to fight cyber-crime, with sessions led by a young Swiss hacker and an Interpol expert.


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