Mexico’s e-priests

Relatively recent surveys show that Mexico’s Catholic clergy are increasingly relying on internet sources as a basis for their sermons, the so-called Mexico’s e-priests.

Surveys conducted between November 15 of 2009 and February 28 of 2010, by Università della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano, Switzerland), in collaboration with the School of Church Communications of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome), and supported by the Congregation for the Clergy (Rome) revealed a high propensity among Mexican clergy to use the internet services when preparing pastoral work. Although surveys do not respond how many priests do use internet, there are several important insights.

The surveys included 4,992 worldwide Catholic priests and 362 Mexican priests, age mean of 47 years old; 18 percent of Mexico’s surveyed clergy belongs to religious orders and the remaining 82 percent is diocesan clergy, with a general priesthood year mean of 17. The survey, only conducted among those priests who use the internet, reveals that Mexican e-priest are very in favor of new technologies and they are taking advantage of the internet: 92 percent of Mexican clergy have daily access to the internet and 7 percent reports weekly access to the web.

The Mexican e-priests also hold additional devices “to get connected”, such as a laptop (89 percent), a desktop (75 percent), a cell phone (91 percent), and mp3 players (53 percent). One third of Mexico’s e-priests employ the internet to prepare daily homilies, a higher percentage when compared to the 14 worldwide percent, and 44 percent use internet to prepare Sunday sermons, in line with the 46 worldwide percent.

Additionally, 86 percent of e-priests in Mexico consider the internet to be a useful news source, and 76 percent considers the internet a useful tool to support parishes’ activities, a higher value than the 61 worldwide percent.

Finally, 78 percent of Mexico’s e-clergy believes that new technologies help to train seminarians, whereas the worldwide percentage drops to 64. More interestingly, 45 percent of Mexico’s e-priests pray using their handheld devices once a week (loading the Liturgy of the Hours through a portable device), a higher proportion when compared to the 35 worldwide percent. The numbers regarding access and contacts with other priests through social networks, however, resemble the worldwide trend.

In sum, available church resources on the web are widely used among Mexico’s e-priests. Although this survey did not answer how many priests use the internet, at least among those who use the web, there are notable differences between Mexico’s e-priests when compared to the world percentages. Thus, this evidence seems to suggest that homilies, sermons, and bishops’ information available at the web would be widely used by Mexico’s e-priests.

About Alejandro Diaz Dominguez

Professor, School of Government at Tecnológico de Monterrey. PhD in Political Science at Vanderbilt University. [religion and politics, R, surveys, electoral management bodies] Twitter: @alejdiazd View all posts by Alejandro Diaz Dominguez

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