Church Should Use Internet to Evangelize, Says Vatican Official

Archbishop Foley Sees "Areopagus of Our Time"

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ROME, JUNE 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).- If it is possible to find God on the Internet, then the Church has the obligation to proclaim him in that medium, says a Vatican official.



Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told a meeting today: "The Internet can be a new path to God, a call to the Church to question itself on the opportunities offered by the new media to inform, educate, pray and evangelize, to take the Word of God everywhere, to reach also those who live in solitude and who perhaps would never open the door to their home."

The archbishop expressed these thoughts when addressing a meeting in Rome on "Internet and the Catholic Church in Europe," organized by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences.

"The Church, as transmitter of the Revelation of God, has the task to communicate the Word and must encourage the use of Internet for the common good, the development of peace and justice, in respect of personal dignity and with a spirit of solidarity," he pointed out.

Internet is "the Areopagus of our time, the instrument to spread the Christian message," Archbishop Foley said. "But it is necessary to educate in its use, as with every reality that surrounds us, the positive element is opposed to the negative, creating confusion and false values.

"Yes, God can be found on the network. And among the millions of people who surf the Internet every day, many may find words of hope, come across other cultural and spiritual experiences, bringing down ideological barriers to discover new horizons."

If "God continues to dialogue with humanity through the Church," then "the Church must assume her own responsibility vis-à-vis the new means of communication," the Vatican official said.

To accomplish this, he continued, there must be "precise criteria of discernment and a pedagogical intention, so that both those who operate in the sector as well as those who use the network are able to choose with maturity in an ever broader context of information and disinformation."

Archbishop Foley added: "It is impossible to remain with one's arms crossed contemplating this world that changes so rapidly; it is necessary to remember that God's voice can be raised above many other voices, as he has always spoken to man and tries to reach him with all possible means, at times unimaginable."