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Protection of children must be top online priority, Pope tells Vatican conference

October 06, 2017

Pope Francis said that “the most crucial challenge for the future of the human family [is] the protection of young people’s dignity, their healthy development, their joy and their hope.”

The Pope made his remark in speaking on October 6 to participants in an international conference on protecting children from online exploitation. The four-day conference was sponsored by the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

The Pontiff observed that the “spread of printed pornography in the past was a relatively small phenomenon” when compared with the spectacular growth and aggressive nature of online pornography and other forms of exploitation. The Pope continued:

This has nothing to do with the exercise of freedom: it has to do with crimes that need to be fought with intelligence and determination, through a broader cooperation among governments and law enforcement agencies on the global level, even as the net itself is now global.

The Catholic Church has a special role to play in protecting children, the Holy Father continued. Especially because of the “painful experiences” of clerical abuse, because also through “the skills gained in the process of conversion and purification,” the Church is committed to a leading role in safeguarding youth.

The Pope praised the “Declaration of Rome,” the statement adopted by the conference as it concluded, calling to international action to protect children.

 
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