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Open wall churches. Catholic construction of online communities

TitleOpen wall churches. Catholic construction of online communities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBosch, MD, Sanz, JLM, Abello, JMC, Sanchez, JSI, Gauxachs, AS
JournalPrisma Social revista de investigación social
KeywordsCatholic, churches, online communities

The discussion regarding how global Catholic organizations have employed the new tools of digital media has become increasingly poignant and no longer focuses on liturgical limitations but on participation, social justice and new frameworks for reaching new targets. From the Vatican itself, specifically through the Pope’s profiles on social media, Catholicism has proven to have an increasingly responsive presence on the web, although Catholics are usually creative without breaking the rules in the ways they extend their religiosity into new platforms. Newly born digital portals have embraced new participatory tools that shape other ways of understanding communion, which is a key concept among Christian communities. Rather than dwelling on whether Catholic portals are incorporating secular strategies to foster engagement, we explore the 19 most powerful Catholic websites according to Alexa ranking, and divide them into different categories that allow us to analyse how they build communities and thus foster the concept of belonging, which is one of the aims that they pursue. Data have been collected in three different moments (2014, 2015 and 2016) where these websites, belonging to 5 languages (Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Italian) from 9 countries have been taken into account, according to Catholic population indexes.