Virtuality as a Religious Category? Continuity and Discontinuity Between Online and Offline Catholic Monasteries
AbstractThis paper seeks to investigate the category of virtuality in order to show the affinities it presents with religious practice or tensions it can create with it. This study takes the case of Catholic monasteries and especially different propositions of ‘invisible’ and ‘virtual’ monasteries. The first ones are spiritual and immaterial links which aim to create a communion of prayer. The second one, such as the German monastery of Funcity, are propositions for religious practice online carried by monks and nuns who want to make monastic life present on the Internet and permit a religious practice online for people who cannot / do not want to go to a monastery: services online, chats with a monk. How are these propositions received in the monastic world? Which consequences can they have on the real monastic life? And what are the questions that a religious online practice asks? This paper is based on the study of virtual monasteries and interviews with monks and nuns.
Internet; monasticism; virtuality; religious practice