VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A new study about the use of digital technology by priests worldwide shows that the Internet has become a frequently utilized tool in homily preparation, evangelization and pastoral support.
The PICTURE (Priests’ Information and Communication Technologies Use in Their Religious Experience) study was presented Monday in a press conference at Vatican Radio.
Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy underlined the “new cultural world” of digital technologies.
This study, he explained, aimed to take a snapshot of the actual use that priests make of technology, in order to be more effective in reaching the heart of the greatest changes in the cultural world.
The study was carried out by the NewMinE (New Media in Education Lab) of the Universita della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Switzerland, in collaboration with the School of Institutional Social Communications of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, and with the support of the Congregation for Clergy.
The study referred to Benedict XVI’s message for the 2010 World Communications Day, which focused on the theme, “The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word.”
Some 4,990 priests from 117 countries responded to the survey that began on November 15 and ended February 28. It was distributed through bishops’ conferences, religious congregations and Catholic news agencies in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and German.
The average age of the respondents was 48 years old, and the average number of years ordained was 20.
The study showed that 94.7% of priests worldwide access the Internet on a daily basis for a variety of activities.
Of the respondents, 82.8% have access to a laptop and 81.2% to a desktop computer.
Other forms of access to technology include 90.6% of priests who have a cell phone, 73.1% who utilize digital cameras, 44.0% who possess an MP3 player and 25.7% who have other handheld devices.
Some 42% of priests expressed the belief that the use of digital technology has improved their performance in their mission.
Although 17.5% of those surveyed stated that the dangers of technology are greater than the opportunities it offers, 38.2% disagreed with this statement.
Some 47% of clergy search online for homily materials once a week, with 15% doing this on a daily basis.
Of those surveyed, 36% use Internet resources on at least a weekly basis for enhancing their prayer.
Online study programs were popular with the majority of respondents, with 26% reporting a daily usage and another 34% noting a weekly usage.
Some 53% of priests affirmed that the Internet is useful in presenting and spreading the Christian message.
Almost all of the clergy surveyed agreed to some extent that new technologies allow for the enculturation of the faith in today’s world.
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On the Net:
Full report: http://www.pictureproject.info/?page_id=2
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Benedict XVI’s message for 2010 World Communications Day: http://zenit.org/article-28139?l=english