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Catholics have filled the internet with venom and vitriol, says Vatican media advisor

Fr Thomas Rosica (AP)

Many Catholics on the internet are uncharitable and disturbed individuals, the Vatican’s English-language media advisor has said.

Speaking to the DeSales Media Group of Brooklyn diocese, Fr Thomas Rosica said: “Many of my non-Christian and non-believing friends have remarked to me that we ‘Catholics’ have turned the internet into a cesspool of hatred, venom and vitriol, all in the name of defending the faith!

“The character assassination on the internet by those claiming to be Catholic and Christian has turned it into a graveyard of corpses strewn all around.”

Fr Rosica described internet bloggers and commentators as “obsessed, scrupulous, self-appointed, nostalgia-hankering virtual guardians of faith or of liturgical practices”.

He urged Catholics to pray for such people, “who never found a platform or pulpit in real life and so resort to the Internet and become trolling pontiffs and holy executioners.”

Fr Rosica was appointed by Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in 2009. He has since worked with Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, in relating to English-speaking media, and is closely involved with the media group Salt + Light TV. Fr Rosica was speaking after the DeSales group awarded him the St Francis DeSales Distinguished Communicator Award.

Fr Rosica said St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists, was remembered today for insisting on “the call to holiness for all people in all walks of life”, and the necessity of serving God at every moment and in the ordinary circumstances of life.

Fr Rosica said Catholics should be known online, not as “the people who are against everyone and everything”, but as people who have something positive to offer – “the Good News that the Lord has asked us to spread”.

He praised Pope Francis for “rebranding” the Church and for encouraging a practice of dialogue. “Let us learn from him how to model this badly needed kindness, goodness, mercy and joy to a wounded world and broken humanity around us,” Fr Rosica said.