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Coronavirus-Driven Digitalization of In-Person Communities. Analysis of the Catholic Church Online Response in Spain during the Pandemic

1
Blanquerna Observatory on Media, Religion and Culture, Ramon Llull University, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
2
Facultad de Comunicación, Universidad San Jorge, 50830 Zaragoza, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Enzo Pace
Religions 2021, 12(5), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050311
Received: 31 March 2021 / Revised: 18 April 2021 / Accepted: 21 April 2021 / Published: 28 April 2021
COVID-19 has driven several global offline communities to go online. Restrictions to the free movement of people in response to the coronavirus pandemic triggered a profound rethinking of jobs, products and services, and among them, the activities of religious communities, which are well consolidated in the offline sphere. In Spain, since the lockdown established by the government in March 2020, the Catholic Church has reinvented its activity, as all the churches and other places of worship have been closed. This constituted a considerable challenge, considering the history and dynamics of the institution. This paper aims to analyze how Catholicism, as one of the most consolidated offline communities, reworked its communication, going online in a matter of days. With this objective, researchers surveyed each and every one of the 70 Spanish dioceses, taking them as representatives of the global Catholic community in the country. Their responses are complemented with an in-depth interview with the Director of Communications at the Spanish Conference of Bishops. The results highlight the huge and unprecedented step towards the digitalization of the community through consistent, creative and efficient action. New methods, platforms and languages have been implemented, even broadening community membership. Despite an offline essence that is still detected in some decisions, this pandemic has brought a new communicative paradigm to the Spanish Catholic community. Digitalization has been consolidated whilst preserving the best aspects of direct contact and action. View Full-Text
Keywords: coronavirus; COVID-19; church; Catholicism; Spain; online religion; digital religion; pandemic coronavirus; COVID-19; church; Catholicism; Spain; online religion; digital religion; pandemic
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sabaté Gauxachs, A.; Albalad Aiguabella, J.M.; Diez Bosch, M. Coronavirus-Driven Digitalization of In-Person Communities. Analysis of the Catholic Church Online Response in Spain during the Pandemic. Religions 2021, 12, 311. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050311

AMA Style

Sabaté Gauxachs A, Albalad Aiguabella JM, Diez Bosch M. Coronavirus-Driven Digitalization of In-Person Communities. Analysis of the Catholic Church Online Response in Spain during the Pandemic. Religions. 2021; 12(5):311. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050311

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sabaté Gauxachs, Alba, José M. Albalad Aiguabella, and Miriam Diez Bosch. 2021. "Coronavirus-Driven Digitalization of In-Person Communities. Analysis of the Catholic Church Online Response in Spain during the Pandemic" Religions 12, no. 5: 311. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050311

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