“And the Word Became Network”: An Analysis of the Circulation of the “Catholic” in Online Communicational Networks
Within the process of mediatization, the Catholic Church and society in general produce new modes of communication on the internet, in which there is a widespread network of relationships between symbols, beliefs, and practices linked to Catholicism, i.e., the “Catholic.” From this context, this paper analyzes the organization of the mediatic circulation of the “Catholic” in socio-digital platforms as Facebook. The theoretical reflection articulates studies on mediatization of religion, especially from the Latin-American perspective, and online communicational networks. The empirical analysis involves a multiple case study on Facebook, with focused semi-structured interviews with professionals of the Catholic communication in the Vatican and in Brazil, in three different levels: a Vatican institutionality (page Rádio Vaticano – Programa Brasileiro, the first presence of an office of the Holy See on Facebook); a socio-institutionality (page Jovens Conectados, a youth project promoted by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil); and a peripheral minority (page Diversidade Católica, a Brazilian Catholic gay network). In conclusion, it identifies a social process of reconstruction of Catholic meanings, that emerges from a socially shared symbolic-religious know-how and power-of-doing, going beyond the action of the institutional Church or media corporations.
mediatization of religion; socio-digital networks; Facebook; Catholicism