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Internet and Digital Divide

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Two new Vatican documents on the Internet point out areas of ethical and social concern but take an overall positive approach, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

The Internet is a “providential” tool for communication that the Church must fearlessly enter, but the medium needs legislative curbs to protect children and must not create a “digital divide” between those with access to the Internet and those without, said Archbishop John P. Foley.

The two documents, “Ethics and the Internet” – a reflection on ethical issues, and “The Church and the Internet” – an assessment of online pastoral opportunities, were to be released on February 28 at a Vatican press conference.

The documents “point out how providential the emergence of these new tools have been for communication and communion”, the archbishop said.

He said Pope John Paul II had encouraged the Church to “enter without fear into the world of the Internet”, seeing it as a new area for evangelisation.

Archbishop Foley said the Church should draw on its experience using other media but would need to learn and be creative in its approach to the Internet.

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