More Education Urged on Use of Internet

Archbishop John Foley Addresses Italian Catholic Journalists

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CAGLIARI, Sardinia, FEB. 5, 2002 ( Internet is not a threat but an opportunity, yet more education is needed on the use of the media, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

«Our educational systems have delayed for too long education in the media, they have postponed for too long the development of critical consumers of films, radio and television programs, publications,» said Archbishop John P. Foley. «Now these systems find themselves behind in the development of critical users capable of discernment in the use of Internet.»

He made his comments while addressing a Feb. 1 congress organized here by the Sardinian section of the Italian Catholic Press Union.

In his address entitled «Man on the Net,» Archbishop Foley pointed out that in this year´s message for World Communications Day, John Paul II focused on Internet, presenting it «as a new forum to proclaim the Gospel.»

Regard anti-Internet criticism, Archbishop Foley said: «There are too many voices that are opposed, too many people who condemn Internet, because some make an evil use of it. It would be like condemning the human race because we are all sinners and because many abuse their own freedom.»

He expressed the hope that, through a correct use of Internet, a «culture of dialogue, participation, solidarity and reconciliation» will spread. Moreover, the archbishop highlighted the extraordinary «opportunity to reach the world directly,» which the Church has today thanks to Internet.

«Missionaries can reach those who live in nations whose borders are closed to priests and religious,» the archbishop continued.

Speaking of the Holy See´s presence on Internet, Archbishop Foley emphasized the need for the Vatican to have its own site which would guarantee the authenticity of the information.

The confusion of identity is one of the problems to consider when it comes to discussing ethical values on Internet, he said. The archbishop pointed out specifically the importance of identifying data transmission in research and in detection of pederasts on Internet.

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