Catholics need to be wary of the “lies” that flourish online, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has said.

“The internet, which has a great potential for uniting and informing, can now be a place where people are threatened, exploited, addicted and misled,” the bishop said in his Midnight Mass homily.

“Pope Francis has reflected on the darkness found in this digital world that has become a place where fake news and misinformation – contemporary expressions for telling lies – can run unchecked and unchallenged,” he said.

“The centuries of experience and self-regulation that have underpinned a free press are absent from this viral and volatile world on which people increasingly rely for news and to form judgments.”

The bishop referred to Pope Francis’s warnings against fake news, which seeks to divide people. “Each of us,” Bishop Egan said, “needs to act, conscious of how the digital media forms part of our daily environment and especially that of the young.”

We need to “take control” of internet use in our homes, he recommended, and “establish the disciplines which will enable digital technology to serve what is good.”

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