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The Use of Internet Communication by Catholic Congregations: A Quantitative Study

TitleThe Use of Internet Communication by Catholic Congregations: A Quantitative Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsCantoni, L, Zyga, S
JournalJournal of Media and Religion
KeywordsCatholic, Catholic religious congregations, Computer, congregations, Contemporary Religious Community, cyberspace, email, internet, internet communication through an e-mail account, Mass media, network, New Media and Society, new media engagement, New Technology and Society, online communication, Online community, religion, religion and internet, Religion and the Internet, religiosity, religious engagement, religious identity, Religious Internet Communication, Religious Internet Communities, sociability unbound, Sociology of religion, users’ participation, virtual community, virtual public sphere, “media research”, “religion online”, “religious media research”

This article presents a first attempt to measure the use of the internet by all 5,812 Catholic religious congregations and autonomous institutes worldwide (with 858,988 members). The research was conducted through a questionnaire sent by e-mail, hence first selecting those institutions which at least have an access to internet communication through an e-mail account (2,285: 39.3% of the total), receiving 437 responses (19.1% of the e-mail owners). The study shows great differences between centralized institutes and autonomous ones: the former ones make a higher use of the Internet than the latter ones; moreover, differences are also found among centralized institutes, namely between male and female ones. Two explanatory elements have been found, both depending on the own mission (charisma) of institutes: (1) first, the different approach to the external world: the institutes more devoted to contemplation and less active in the outside world make limited and basic use of the Internet, if any; (2) second, institutes whose aim is to assist poor and sick persons tend to use the internet less than the others, due to their different prioritization of resources.