A bishop who is an active user of the Internet has said the world wide web will be an important means of evangelisation in the new millennium.
   Bishop David Konstant of Leeds in the UK told this week's Catholic Herald that the Church needs to seize the benefits of the new medium. "A good quality presence on the Internet will increase awareness of the Church and of the Gospel," he said in an email to the paper.
   While warning of the potential dangers of living in a "virtual reality," Bishop Konstant said these shouldn't deter Catholics from seeing what is "good and valuable in the use of this modern tool."
   "We have to learn to use it well," he said. "All of us, and the Church as a whole, have a responsibility to develop a sufficient understanding of the medium so as to be able to develop an appropriate teaching about it."
   He continued: "Some groups are very fundamentalist in their approach. An official Catholic site should be able to provide suitable balance. A poor use of the available technology -- and it is changing all the time -- will put people off. This implies also that we must be prepared to resource web sites adequately."
   Last year the US bishops became the first in the world to issue guidance on the Internet for Catholic families and Bishop Konstant said the Bishops of England & Wales might follow their example.
23 May 00


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