Priest Calls for Action Against Child Pornography

Meter Association Founder Urges Cultural Revolution

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 20, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The founder of a protection agency actively battling pedophilia and child pornography is calling for better ways of policing Internet sites, especially in certain countries, that proliferate these crimes.

Father Fortunato di Noto, head of the Italy-based Meter Association, made this appeal on Wednesday when he held a press conference at the headquarters of Vatican Radio to release a 2010 report on pedophilia and child pornography.

The report noted that 57% of Internet servers discovered by the association that manage the traffic of child pornography are found in European countries, with 38% in the Americas, 4% in Asia, 0.40% in Africa, and 0.27% in Oceania.

In Africa, 100% of these sites are located on servers in Libya. In the Americas, 94% of the sites are in the United States, 2% in the Dominican Republic, 2% in Ecuador, and 2% in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

"In regard to Europe," Father Di Noto reported, "Russia has 99% of the domains, and the remaining 1% is divided between Italy, Liechtenstein, Ukraine, Rumania, Slovakia, Germany, Holland, Greece and Belgium."

He continued: "In Asia, Hong Kong dominates (50.1%), whereas the rest is divided between India, China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam.

"Nor are child pornography domains lacking at the other end of the world. They are in the Cocos Islands (an Australian territory with less than 600 inhabitants in the Indian Ocean), and Tonga and Tuvalu, an archipelago of atolls midway between Hawaii and Australia."

The priest observed that this shows that wherever there is no appropriate legislation to fight against the circulation of material of this type, the only instrument that can be relied on is to ask the server providers to darken the criminal images.

He explained that this job that is even more complicated because of the fact that some countries such as Russia and the United States offer platforms of anonymous service, where thousands of sites come together and are thus able to evade the controls.

Fighting crime

Nonetheless, Meter has been working on several initiatives to fight these crimes and raise awareness among Internet users.

From April 25 to May 1, the association will sponsor a week for Children Victims of Violence, Abuse and Indifference.

It also runs a national hotline for aiding victims and giving telephone consultations. The association provides a forum for Internet users to report suspicious activity, and partners with the Italian authorities in charge of policing the Internet to bring criminals to justice.

The association is actively involved in prevention, education and information, carried out through the organization of 68 congresses and meetings centered primarily on the topics of the Internet and the new media.

Father Di Noto affirmed that "Meter is at the service of the Church, of the Pope, of the bishops and of the dioceses in what concerns the ministry for pre-adolescents, adolescents, young people in the educational realm and support in new forms of exploitation and abuse, in addition to itineraries of faith in the light of the hope that is revived."

The association, which collaborates with groups in France, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil and Paraguay, has been called on several times in the last eight years to speak in various Italian dioceses and other groups.

Episcopal vicar

Father Di Noto emphasizes the need to establish an "episcopal vicar for children" in all dioceses.

This proposal, he said, does not seek the creation of more figures or offices, will give "a clear and evident sign of how the Church loves children."

The priest stated: "I often wonder why in parish pastoral councils or in the dioceses there is a youth ministry but not one for children. Therefore, we should reinvent our way of carrying out pastoral work."

Father Di Noto asserted that the real challenge is to enable "the victims who have lost hope to come out of the tunnel of silence and find their dignity again, a dignity that has been darkened precisely by those that more than anyone should protect and love them: fathers and teachers."

"Because," he added, "I can guarantee to you that when God hears the cry of children, there will be no Church that can resist, no society that can resist, because it will be God who will cry out for them; and there won't be a conscience that can be placated, because God will get furious in his mercy."

"No one should remain silent here," Father Di Noto said. "All should go out to make a cultural revolution."

[With the contribution of Mirko Testa]

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