Internet in the Monastery

Construction or Deconstruction of the Community?

  • Isabelle Jonveaux (Author)


Monasticism is characterized by community life in a specific place (stabilitas loci), but also by local and translocal networks that correspond to different functions of the monastery (religious, cultural, commercial, etc.). Although Max Weber describes monasteries as out-of-the-world institutions, most monastic communities (at least male ones) have Internet access and an online presence now. The use of digital media in monastic life raises a number of questions: What impact does it have on the community life of monks and nuns? Can it jeopardize the quality of community life? Regarding the external communication of the monastery, does its online presence allow the monks to extend the community beyond the cloister? This paper analyzes the role played by digital media in monastic life on the individual and community levels, and on the monastery’s outside communication with various audiences.