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The recent trial that convicted two teenage boys of the murder of school girl Ana Kreigel in Dublin, has raised disturbing questions about the influence of internet pornography and violence on our culture.

To mark World Communications Day 2019, a seminar was held May 29th, 2019, in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, entitled: ‘Believers in the Digital World: Opportunities for Mission’. The key note speaker was Archbishop Eamon Martin. During that talk he outlined ten principles for believers travelling the digital highway so that respect prevails and human beings communicate in a humane way. Here are those ten principles that are followed by a prayer to protect us from the evils of the net and not to become ‘entangled’ in a virtual world in a harmful way.

  1. Be positive, communicating the ‘joy of the Gospel’.

  2. Strictly avoid aggression and ‘preachiness’ online; try not to be judgemental or polemical.

  3. Never bear false witness on the internet.

  4. Fill the internet with charity and love, continually seeking to include a sense of charity and solidarity with the suffering in the world.

  5. Have a “broad back” when criticisms and insults are made – when possible, gently correct.

  6. Pray in the digital world! Establish sacred spaces, opportunities for stillness, reflection and meditation online.

  7. Establish connections, relationships and build communion, including an ecumenical presence online.

  8. Educate young people to keep themselves safe and responsible online, particularly in light of cyberbullying and the prevalence and accessibility of pornography and online gambling.

  9. “Give a soul to the internet”, as Pope Benedict XVI once said – at all times witness to human dignity online.

  10. Be missionary, remembering that, with the help of the internet, a message has the potential to reach the ends of the earth in seconds!

Entangled in the Web

‘Lord creator of the real world, I bring before you all I find on the Internet: the many words both true and false, the many people near and far, the many details important and trivial, the many images of the best and the worst in man.

Free me where I've become entangled in the web. Heal me where its images have wounded my soul. Lead me back to the truth where I've been led astray.

Help me to distinguish the virtual from the real world, to choose wisely the things that really matter, to resist firmly all manipulation, to use with measure what is set before me and bravely live my daily life with you Amen’.

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