Setting up and running a parish website will be much easier from now on - thanks to an innovative new facility launched in Westminster Cathedral Hall in London yesterday by Bishop Crispian Hollis. Through CathCom 'Websites for Parishes' designed by Nick Layton and Dominic Moloney, parishes and organisations will be able to easily build and maintain their own websites, as well as link into other networks. Nick, 28, a sound engineer by profession, spent nearly seven years designing the user-friendly system. Dominic, 31, a physicist, joined him on the project two years ago. Nick said: "The internet is becoming more and more important as an information and communication tool. I felt there was a real need for a system like this - designed so anyone in a parish or church group can create and update a website without any prior website experience." Speaking at the launch, Bishop Crispian, who is chairman of the Communications Committee for the Catholic Bishops Conference welcomed the scheme saying he was a latecomer to computer technology but was going to "pluck up the courage" to use the new system himself. He said: "We are all part of a community and this will help us to share the Good News of Christ." CathCom has already received support from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Communications Committee for the Catholic Bishops, Conference of England and Wales, and many bishops and priests. To access the site visit: http://CathCom.org In 2002 Pope John Paul II issued two documents, encouraging Catholics to use the Internet: "Ethics in Internet" and "The Church and Internet" In a statement entitled: "The Internet: A New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel" written for World Communication Day 2002, the Pope said: "The Internet causes billions of images to appear on millions of computer monitors around the planet... From this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard? ....For it is only when his face is seen and his voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption....This is the purpose of evangelization. And this is what will make the Internet a genuinely human space, for if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man." He said: "I dare to summon the whole Church bravely to cross this new threshold, to put out into the deep of the Net, so that now as in the past the great engagement of the Gospel and culture may show to the world "the glory of God on the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). "In these troubled times, how can we ensure that this wondrous instrument first conceived in the context of military operations can now serve the cause of peace? Can it favour that culture of dialogue, participation, solidarity and reconciliation without which peace cannot flourish?" "The Church believes it can; and to ensure that this is what will happen, she is determined to enter this new forum, armed with the Gospel of Christ, the Prince of Peace." Archbishop John Foley, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said the Internet was "an opportunity and a challenge not a threat." The Archbishop said the Vatican's message about the Internet aimed to "emphasise that the Catholic church, along with other religious bodies, should have a visible, active presence on the Internet and be a partner in the public dialogue about its development."
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