The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, has called on the Catholic Church to embrace the use of internet for evangelism.
Maku made the call yesterday at a teleconference with students of Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu.
He said the church should also use the medium to counter unwholesome messages being spread to young people through the same channel.
He called on the church to set up a special services unit with priests trained in information and communications technology to handle such issues and to attend to young people online.
The minister said that such messages easily got viral if not challenged, saying that the church was in the right stead to counter such messages.
"Today, evangelism is going on at a level we never imagined. The Catholic Church should make these facilities available in its institutions, not only at the level of the leadership.
"If we do this, the majority of mankind will get to know more about the gospel. We no longer need to be limited by communication because God, in His infinite mercies, has provided these facilities", he said.
The minister, however, said that the challenge was how to deploy the facilities to good use, noting that the church should take the initiative to deploy them to the service of humanity.
"Today, you can use your handset to access any version of the Bible. You can use it to teach and to preach. You can go from chapter to chapter and from verse to verse. That is the new era we are talking about", he stressed.
On his part, Rev. Fr. Walter Ihejirika, decried the way the universal church had treated communication in its pastoral work.
In his paper: New Media and Effective Pastoral Ministry - Practical Lines of Action for Catholic Priests in Nigeria, he said the church had been slow in appreciating the role of the mass media in evangelism.
Ihejirika, the Head of Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies at the University of Port Harcourt, said communication was central in the life of the church.