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Office for evangelising cyberspace does not have internet access, says official

Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella (Photo: CNS)

The head of the new pontifical council charged with evangelising cyberspace has said that his new office does not have an internet connection.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelisation, made the startling admission at a press conference unveiling the new council.

A Motu Proprio issued on Tuesday established the responsibilities of the council, which include “studying modern means of communications”.

But Archbishop Fisichella said: “Right now, I’m just hoping to get a computer in my office so I can get on the internet myself.”

The new department was launched in an attempt to combat the decline of faith in the West. Its first confirmed project is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 2012.

The Motu Proprio decried the de-Christianisation of Europe, and called for the Church “to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit” and to “present herself to the modern world with a missionary vigour capable of promoting a new evangelisation”.

It said: “Although the phenomenon of secularisation continues its course, Christian practice still shows signs of possessing vitality and profound roots among entire peoples.”

The letter said that, despite Europe’s strong Christian foundation, some areas “appear almost completely de-Christianised, areas in which the light of faith is entrusted to the witness of small communities”.

“These lands, which need a renewed first announcement of the Gospel, seem particularly unreceptive to many aspects of the Christian message,” it said.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio lists five responsibilities for the new department, including “studying modern means of communications”.

At the press conference, Archbishop Fisichella said: “When a baby is born, the parents want to think right away about what it will do when it’s grown up. Right now, however, I’m satisfied to think about the things the baby needs.”