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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, Communication, religion

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.