Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Vol 28, No 3 (2015)

Innovations in Communications Technology and the Restructuring of the Roman Catholic Church

Jane Anderson
Issued Date: 18 Jan 2016


The Roman Catholic Church considers Communications Technology (CT) to be an important instrument for preserving ‘universal’ traditions and culture, and, for this reason, polarising forces in the Church have vied for dominance of this machinery in recent decades. This article uses Turner's theory of anti-structure and Urry’s ideas about mobility to examine how innovations in CT are contributing to the restructuring of the Church. On the one hand, Church-as-structure aligned with normative communitas, as exemplified in the role and person of Pope John Paul II and conservative religious movements, used innovations in CT to mobilise and creatively restore hierarchical arrangements. On the other hand, ideological communitas, as exemplified by marginalised Catholic liberal movements, employed innovations in CT to mobilise and promote an egalitarian vision in democratic-like connections. This article concludes with a discussion about how innovations in CT are likely to continue to shape the Church with particular reference to Australia.

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DOI: 10.1558/jasr.v28i3.28460



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