Pope Francis says it is "indispensable" that the Catholic church make fruitful use of the Internet to spread the Gospel.

In a speech at the Vatican Saturday, Francis said those toiling for the faith can use the Internet to encounter "real women and men, who are often hurt or feeling lost" and offer them "true reasons for hope."

Francis, who has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed, said the church must be present on the Internet above all for young people, since the Net is "a sort of life environment" for them. He suggested the church use the Internet to "reawaken the insuppressible questions of the heart about the sense of existence" and point users to Christ.

- AP