Story on Vatican and access to Facebook provokes debate

We hit a nerve yesterday with our story on how the Vatican has set up a firewall to stop employees from accessing social-networking sites like Facebook while at work. We posted it on our own Facebook page (naturally!) and got reader comments ranging from the Vatican is just like any company that has a right to secure its computer network to the fact that some people have legitimate reasons to go on Facebook during work hours.

Vatican employees interviewed for our article maintained that Facebook has become an important news source for many and that problems last winter with a Holocaust-denying bishop could have been avoided with better access to information. But Vatican officials said that the policy was, in the words of one, “a fairly normal and prudential measure.”

What do you think? Is social networking a modern-day equivalent of having a telephone on your desk that too can be abused, or are such policies a valid way to block access to inappropriate material? Share your thoughts below.

Catholic Charities USA brings poverty message to the UN

Women of faith have a unique role to play in reducing poverty around the world, Candy Hill, senior vice president for public policy and government affairs at Catholic Charities USA, told a conference at the United Nations in New York.

Speaking June 15 at Religions for Peace, a consultative symposium of the North American Women of Faith Network, Hill said that poverty can be reduced significantly if people, particularly women, work to reduce the disparities that exist across cultures.

Hill cited how women, despite the strides they have made, today are more likely to make significantly less money then men and disproportionately make up the number of working poor in the U.S.

Similarly, women have been impacted more severely by the current economic recession than men because the jobs they hold are more likely to see layoffs, loss of health care benefits and wage cuts, she said.

“Each one of us owes the women of history and the women and girls in the misery of urban poverty our divine gift of love, care and courage,” she said.

Hill urged conference participants to be the “caretakers of the work of the creator, the perpetuators of creations in this world,” in order to achieve justice for all.