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Internet and Catholic Bishops & Cardinals

Mar 27, 1998 07:08 AM
by M K Ramadoss

Here is an interesting report.

Catholics to Promote Cyber Morality

                  By Sandy Shore
                  AP Business Writer
                  Thursday, March 26, 1998; 9:17 p.m. EST

DENVER (AP) -- The head of the nation's largest cable television
company introduced Catholic bishops and cardinals to virtual voyeurism
Thursday as he asked them to help instill morality into cyberspace.

As the clergy listened attentively, Leo Hindery described an Internet site
that allows computer users to watch Jenni, a 21-year-old woman, as she
dresses, sleeps or has sex. He said 500,000 visitors look at the site daily.

``It may sound pathetic, but people actually relate to Jenni; they feel they
 know her personally, so much so that men worldwide regard Jenni as their
 virtual girlfriend,'' said Hindery, president of Tele-Communications Inc.

Although the Internet is a useful tool, Hindery said, it probably presents
``one of the greatest threats to morality and decency that we face today.''

He asked the Catholic leaders to use the Internet as an ``electronic pew''
to teach morality and family values.

Hindery addressed about 200 people attending a Catholic conference on
new technologies in the Denver Public Library.

The session, which concludes Sunday, has drawn seven cardinals and
about 50 bishops from 15 nations who are discussing the opportunities
and ethical implications of the information age.

One seminar is devoted to teaching the clergy an electronic vocabulary,
while others address computers, software and the Internet.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said Hindery's points emphasized
the need for Catholics to become familiar with high-tech tools.

``In some ways, that's the reason for this conference so we might discover
the new ways of speaking to the people who know computers and things,
who live in a new world,'' he said.

The Jenni site ``represents the worst of who we are. I have a great
sadness not only for her, but for those who go to the site because it shows
there is something missing from their lives,'' he said.

Raised by Jesuits, Hindery told the Catholics he is troubled by changes in
the world that have given rise to youth violence and caused a deterioration
in family values.

``Just as I question the news judgment that prevails in this country today, I
confess to serious personal misgivings about some of the stuff being put on
television and out on the Internet,'' he said.

Hindery cited fantasy games and chat rooms that cater to lonely people as
Internet sites that demonstrate a need for the clergy to reinforce a
relationship with parishioners.

Hindery recommended the Catholics become familiar with the Internet and
use e-mail, Web sites and other methods to reach a ``virtual

``The Internet can be stunningly, stunningly immoral,'' he said. ``It has the
power to corrupt absolutely, and your congregation needs your guidance
on how to address the `real world' risks associated with it.''

 AP News.

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