Hado Nataliya Romanivna


Media strategies of the Catholic Church on the Internet


The investigation research is devoted to the analysis of the main media strategies of the Catholic Church on the Internet, according to with the integral doctrine of communication. For the first time modern catholic media of Ukraine of two rites is represented in view of the latest problems of communication on the Internet. The works of Ukrainian, Italian, and Polish researchers are considered.

The basic principles of Catholic doctrine (encyclical, letters, teachings) of communication are presented сhronologically. They testify the Catholic Church’s good understanding of the nature of social communication, its tools and the existence of a clearly formulated and constantly confirmed strategy of further development of communication. The thematic classification of the teaching by the Catholic Church on communication is proposed. Two of the most recent documents of the Catholic Church on the Internet: «The Church and the Internet» and «Ethics on the Internet» (translation of the author), translated into Ukrainian, are included to the in the totality of the doctrine of social communication.

The author proposed the periodization of historiography of research on religious communication in Ukraine in 1990-2016. Based on the consistent positive attitude outlook of the Catholic Church towards all means of communication six major strategies for media on the Internet have been identified: active creation of Catholic sites and their improvement in accordance with the requirements of time; communication with secular media; media education on the Internet; pastoral work of Internet resource workers; communication among members of the Catholic Church through the Internet; communication with those who do not belong to the Church.

The practical application of mediastrategies defined in the social doctrine of the Catholic Church is substantiated. It is determined that media strategies are consistently implemented in accordance with the theoretical recommendations. There are clear signs of the internetisation of Catholic communication according to with the recognition of the «signs of time» by the Catholic Church, that is, the phenomena that characterize the modern era. Presently, they have identified the use of the possibilities of the Internet: convergence and technologies Web 2.0.

The Internet communication of the Catholic Church is outlined as a prognostic strategic decision regarding the future of the Internet, which is more fully open today, with the advent of Web 2.0, that is, technologies that enable the possibility of two-way communication on the Internet through the creation of their own content by every user in social networks, video hosting, and blogs.

Examples of the combination of technological capabilities and the preservation of Catholic authenticity in approaches to Internet communication are presented, based on statistical data on the quantity and quality of Internet resources in Italy and Poland, and in interviews with the Italian researcher. The difference and the boundaries of the transition from the Web1.0 to the Web 2.0 stage are formulated. It is argued that no technological possibilities will change the sacred dimension and canonical peculiarities of the functioning of the Catholic Church, therefore, Internet communication will always be only an additional and auxiliary «place» of Catholic spirituality.

The Catholic understanding of the term «communication», in which, apart from the one used in journalism, which is the exchange of information and communication, contains the meaning of «community and communion between people and God,» and also, the phrase «to receive Holy Communion and the ability to communicate», literally preserved in many languages to this day.  Accordingly, communication is not defined as one of the activities of the Catholic Church, but the very essence of its life. Consequently, the central thing of communication of the Catholic Church ‒ is communion within the Holy Trinity ‒ at the same time combines the foundations of theology and social communication, defined as one that fully reflects the understanding of the social communication that the Catholic Church invests as the creator of this term.It is explored that the teachings of the Catholic Church determine the main task of Catholic communication –preaching the Good News, and the model of the Perfect Communicator, who is Jesus Christ. All means of communication subordinated to this task, and among them also Catholic, constitute a communicative system.

Catholic Media System has a hierarchical structure, where the first of them are the official media of the Apostolic Capital and the Churches of two rites. It is proved that the main media strategies are not identical in the matrix of media systems of Italy, Poland and Ukraine, but the Vatican’s media, regardless of the level of development of Catholic media in individual countries, follow the same basis for all Catholic communication. It is determined that the Ukrainian Catholic media system shows the similarity to the media systems of the Vatican, Poland and Italy, especially the common content and the tendency of convergency of media in the sense of convergence and mutual influence. However, it is in a state of formation and implementation of the concepts of Internet resources using technologies Web 2.0. Convergent signs and the level of usage of technology Web 2.0 are emerging as a realization of the strategy for improving media.

The principles of the activity of Catholic communicators on the Internet are formulated. The functions of communicating the Catholic Church on the Internet as a value-sequential system are covered. Features of coverage of Catholic themes in secular media, challenges for the Catholic Church in modern conditions are considered. The work catalogs and systematizes about 400 Catholic sites. The potential of the Ukrainian Catholic media segment on the Internet and high quality Catholic Internet resources of the two rites are revealed.

Conclusions are confirmed by surveys highlighted by the high level of interest of users of social networks with Catholic themes and their expectations from Catholic resources on the Internet.

Key words: media strategy, Catholic communication, social communication, Catholic Church, means of communication, Catholic internet resources, convergence, media system, Web 2.0 technologies.

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