Pope Sees Internet as New Forum for Evangelization

It Should Be an Instrument of Peace, John Paul II Proposes

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 22, 2002 (Zenit.org).- In his message for World Communications Day 2002, John Paul II urges the Church to use Internet with «realism and confidence, armed with the Gospel of Christ, the Prince of Peace.»

«The Internet causes billions of images to appear on millions of computer monitors around the planet,» the Pontiff notes in the document. «From this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard?»

«For it is only when his face is seen and his voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption," the Pope adds. «This is the purpose of evangelization. And this is what will make the Internet a genuinely human space, for if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man.»

The document was released today, in advance of World Communications Day 2002, which will be celebrated universally on May 12. It is the only commemorative day instituted by the Second Vatican Council. This year, John Paul II has chosen the motto «Internet: A New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel.»

On this World Communications Day, «I dare to summon the whole Church bravely to cross this new threshold, to put out into the deep of the Net, so that now as in the past the great engagement of the Gospel and culture may show to the world «the glory of God on the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6),» the Holy Father writes.

«In these troubled times,» he asks, «how can we ensure that this wondrous instrument first conceived in the context of military operations can now serve the cause of peace? Can it favor that culture of dialogue, participation, solidarity and reconciliation without which peace cannot flourish?»

«The Church believes it can; and to ensure that this is what will happen she is determined to enter this new forum, armed with the Gospel of Christ, the Prince of Peace,» the Holy Father responds.

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