Pope John Paul II chose his weekly address in St Peter's Square in the Vatican yesterday to give the internet his blessing, amid rumours that he is seeking a patron saint for web users.
The ailing 81-year old pontiff has formerly called for regulations to be enforced to prevent depravity on the internet, and suggested yesterday that it could be used for more positive purposes.
"I've decided, therefore, to propose a big new theme for this year: the internet as a new forum for proclaiming the gospel," he said. "Recent progress in communications and information have presented the church with unheard-of possibilities for evangelism."
Although the Vatican has its own website at www.vatican.va, the Pope is not believed to have his own email address.
But he stressed that he is keen to use the internet to reach "the hearts of men and women of the new millennium".
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