(Vatican Radio) Among the additions and modifications recommended for the Synod’s final summary document was the impact of the Internet on the family. The topic was raised in the Synod’s second week, during discussions held in the various language groups, by Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“The discussion group thought it was important enough to propose a modification to the document so that we (the Church) would speak about this,” he explained in an interview with Vatican Radio.
The Archbishop of Gatineau, Quebec, who authors his own blog, noted that the past 20 years has seen the Internet enter almost every home and become a part of almost every person’s life.
“There are blessings that come with the Internet,” he conceded, referring to married couples who met on Catholic dating sites and families who use the Internet for various resources that nurture their faith and prayer lives.
“But there are also great, great dangers,” he warned. He offered as an example a couple he knows whose marriage ended after one of the spouses found another partner through an online chatroom.
He also underlined the harmful effects of online pornography.
“It is having a huge impact on the way we view sexuality,” he said. “We have to realize that pornography is a huge business that involves the demeaning of women, that involves human trafficking.
“It is not about free expression,” he continued. “It is degrading; it is abasing. And our children are being exposed to it continually.”
Problems presented by the Internet “are very serious issues that we need to look at when we talk about family life today,” he stated.
Report and interview by Laura Ieraci