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Looking for bigger role on Web, bishops meet Google, Facebook reps

Looking for bigger role on Web, bishops meet Google, Facebook reps

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In an effort to understand how the church can make better use of the Internet and its search engines and popular social networking tools, European bishops met with representatives from Facebook, Google, YouTube and Wikipedia. The bishops and their communications experts also met with a former hacker and an Interpol official to get an inside look at cybercrime and how to defend Web sites from attack. The meetings came during the plenary assembly of the European episcopal commission for media held at the Vatican Nov. 12-15. Some 100 delegates attended the meeting dedicated to 'The Internet Culture and Church Communications.' Bishops, media officers and spokespersons from European bishops' conferences met with multimedia representatives such as Google and Identi.ca -- a self-described 'microblogging service' -- in order to learn more about how people use these tools and what developments these companies have in store for the future. 'The Internet is as important as the invention of the printing press,' said the president of the bishops' commission for media, Bishop Jean-Michel di Falco Leandri of Gap, France. Just as the printing press helped make the Bible available to everyone who could read, the Internet can make the Gospel accessible to everyone who uses the Internet, he said through a translator during a press conference Nov. 13.

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