Vatican, May, 17th, 2018 (VaticanNews/Robin Gomes). Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin has sent a message to the 27th Session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), May 14-18 in Vienna, that is discussing the fight against cybercrime.  He particularly drew attention to the vulnerability of children online.

“Pope Francis is convinced that a worthy sustainable development can be attained only if children, who are the future of the human family, are made the centre of attention, and experience encouragement and protection in the years decisive for their growth,”   Cardinal. Parolin said in his message.

Dark side of technological progress

While acknowledging the “enormous benefits of technological progress, Cardinal Parolin also pointed to the “dark side of our new digital world” which “cannot be underestimated.”  

He underscored the need for international development to promote the dignity of every human person, particularly of children.

Vulnerability of children

Cardinal Parolin noted that “the proliferation of evermore extreme images of violence and pornography profoundly affects the psychology and even the neurological functioning of children.”  “Cyberbulling, sexting and sextortion corrupt interpersonal and social relations.”  “Forms of sexual grooming on the internet, the live viewing of acts of rape and violence, organized prostitution online, human trafficking and incitement to violence and terrorism,” he said “are clear examples of horrendous crimes that can in no way be tolerated.”

Commitment of Holy See, Church

In this regard, he said the Holy See and the Catholic Church are conscious of their role in forming consciences and raising public awareness.

He recalled that at the end of the "World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World" on October 6 last year in the Vatican,  Pope Francis called upon all sectors of society to work together in confronting the problem.

The Holy See and the Church, Cardinal Parolin said, are ready to cooperate with various components of society, to ensure children grow up in a serene and safe environment.