CLOISTERED nuns are to be allowed limited access to modern means of communication, including the Internet and mobile phones, writes Bruce Johnston.
Until now, nuns in orders undertaking to live without contact with the outside world were allowed only to listen to Vatican Radio. But a directive at the weekend from the Congregation for Religious Life will allow a limited use of television in the case of important events, provided they are of a religious nature, such as papal visits. But such occasions will be tightly restricted in order to "safeguard the spiritual meditation" of the nuns, and to "preserve the silence of the cloister".
The directive also said that nuns would also be able to make "moderate use" of the Internet and of fax machines.