Internet Needs Ethics, John Paul II Says

Encourages Social Communications Document

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VATICAN CITY, MAR. 16, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II expressed his support today for the project of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications to write a document on "Ethics in Internet."



The first proposals for the writing of this text were among the key issues discussed at the council´s plenary assembly, held this past week, and presided over by U.S. Archbishop John P. Foley.

This document, which follows "Ethics in Social Communications" (2000) and "Ethics in Advertising (1997), "would indeed by very timely, given the rapid spread of cyber-communications and the many moral questions involved," the Pope said.

"The Church cannot be a mere spectator of the social results of technological advances, which have such decisive effects on people´s lives," the Holy Father added. "Your reflection on ´Ethics in Internet,´ therefore, can be of great help to the Church´s pastors and faithful in facing the many challenges of the emerging media culture."

He continued: "The problems and opportunities created by new technology, by the process of globalization, by deregulation and privatization of the media present new ethical and indeed spiritual challenges to those who work in social communications. These challenges will be met effectively by those who accept that serving the human person, building up a community grounded in solidarity, justice and love, and speaking the truth about human life and its final fulfillment in God were, are, and will remain at the heart of ethics in the media."

During his meeting with some 70 members and consultors of the pontifical council, John Paul II addressed another topic that the participants studied: the importance of the media in transmitting the message of the Jubilee Year.

This council assisted the television channels that transmitted the principal events of the Holy Year, and offered pastoral consultation to the thousands of journalists and photographers who covered the event. This council also was responsible for organizing the Jubilee celebrations for journalists in June and for entertainers in December.

"Your commitment is undoubtedly sustained by the desire to make the Jubilee Year a genuine response to the Gospel injunction to bring ´good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and new sight to the blind,´" the Pope added.

He expressed his gratitude to the Knights of Columbus, whose donations make possible the television transmission by satellite of events in the Pope´s life, used by hundreds of television channels worldwide.