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Roman Catholic priests have been told to inject ‘scandal’ into their sermons by a senior official from the Vatican.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi said priests needed to liven up their often ‘dull’ sermons with the scandalous parts from the Bible.

Cardinal Ravasi, the Vatican’s most senior cultural officer, added that if priests did not change their ways sermons risked becoming ‘irrelevant’.

The cardinal was speaking at an event in Rome where he said that social networking sites such as Twitter were a good way to spread the word of God.

His Eminence said that priests should remember that congregations were ‘the children of the television and the internet’.

The 69-year-old, who some believe is a candidate to become the next Pope said: ‘The advent of televised and computerised information requires us to be compelling and trenchant, to cut to the heart of the matter, resort to narratives and colour.’

‘We need to remember that communicating faith doesn’t just take place through sermons. It can be achieved through the 140 characters of a Twitter message.’

The Cardinal added that the Bible was ‘crowded with stories, symbols and images.’

Ravasi was made a cardinal but Pope Bendict XVI in November 2010 and is currently the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

He also writes a blog for the Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

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