AUSTRALIAN IT (best IT news website 2002)

Bishops move to internet
Correspondents in Manila
MAY 21, 2002

MANILA: Philippine Roman Catholic bishops have launched a pornography-free internet service provider designed to steer young people to the South-East Asian country's dominant religion.

CBCP World, named after the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, features filters that blot out websites deemed by the bishops to be pornographic, violent, or containing material contrary to church teachings.

The bishops' spokesman, Monsignor Hernando Coronel, says the portal will be devoted primarily to schools, dioceses, and religious congregations in the Philippines, home to more than 50 million Catholics.

The bishops say the launch of the internet portal is in line with Pope John Paul II's call to make the internet a forum to spread church teachings.

Monsignor Robinson Wijesinghe, charge d'affaires of the Vatican's apostolic nunciature in the Philippines, attended ceremonies to launch the service at the Manila cathedral.

A survey conducted by the Ateneo de Manila University, a Catholic institution, finds that church membership in the Philippines may decline over the next generation.

Just 76 per cent of Filipino youth are affiliated with the church, compared to the national average of 84 per cent, it finds.

Coronel says a percentage of revenues from CBCP World would be given to the Philippine dioceses as seed money for an information technology development fund.

Agence France-Presse