Scottish Daily Mail

Thou shalt not troll... priests warned on so­cial me­dia abuse

- By Steve Doughty So­cial Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent Crime · Society · Discrimination · Social Media · Human Rights · England and Wales · England

RO­MAN Catholic priests have been warned by their lead­ers not to be­come trolls who make ‘dis­parag­ing re­marks’ about oth­ers on so­cial me­dia.

New church rules say they should com­mu­ni­cate ‘re­spect­fully, re­spon­si­bly and trans­par­ently’ online.

The guid­ance has been made pub­lic weeks af­ter Car­di­nal Vin­cent Ni­chols, leader of the church in Eng­land and Wales, was crit­i­cised by the In­de­pen­dent In­quiry into Child Sex­ual Abuse.

A re­port said he had failed as a leader by al­low­ing the pro­tec­tion of pae­dophiles in the church. Backed by Car­di­nal Ni­chols, the guid­ance says: ‘Priests must never in­vite chil­dren or adults at risk, or accept in­vi­ta­tions from them, to be “friends” or con­tacts on any per­sonal so­cial me­dia sites they use, or oth­er­wise in­ter­act with them on those sites.’

The rules add: ‘Never make dis­parag­ing re­marks about chil­dren or adults at risk, nei­ther in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion, pub­lic dis­course nor on so­cial me­dia.’

Priests are told that in online com­mu­ni­ca­tions they should never ‘make jests or pranks that could be rea­son­ably per­ceived as sug­ges­tive by oth­ers’.

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