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Maria Cristina M. Del Cano

Prof. Omar Dumdum

COM528M Media Research and Proposal Writing

16 January 2017

A Possible Study on the Impact of Catholic Online Presence to the Doctrinal Formation

of High School Students of St. Paul College of Makati

In considering what I want to work on for my thesis, I have thought of doing a study

which involves two of my passions: the Catholic faith and education. As other organizations of

influence, the Catholic Church has evolved in terms of communication, and more recently, it has

made efforts to become more present online. With the continuous emergence of new media and

the prominence of the Catholic church, a study of whether the Churchs influence extends to

those who spend much time online, like students. In this paper, I am to discuss what I intend to

discover and what it would be for.

In one Pastoral Instruction, Communio Et Progresio, the view of the Church towards

evolving media is clearly stated:

The constant improvement in the media puts them at the disposal of more and more

people who in their daily lives make increasing use of them. More than ever before, the

way men live and think is profoundly affected by the means of communicationThe

Church sees these media as "gifts of God" which, in accordance with His providential

design, unite men in brotherhood and so help them to cooperate with His plan for their

salvation. (Communio Et Progressio, 1 and 2)

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In Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI said that the Church would feel guilty before the

Lord if it fails to use media for evangelization. Henceforth, over the course of history, the

Churchs efforts of reaching its flock through varied media forms has been evident.

While more traditional forms of evangelization through the media are still present, one

with the widest reach is through the Internet. The Church and Internet by the Pontifical Council

for Social Communications acknowledges what Saint John Paul II, in his message the 35th World

Communications Day to consider the reach of the Internet as it carries out religious content

through all parts of the world. The saint, in the same message, also expresses how such wide

audience would be beyond the wildest imaginings of those who preached the Gospel before us

(The Church and Internet, 4), and even emphasizes that Catholics should be open to these

modern forms of communications, so that the Lords message may be heard from the housetops

of the world (The Church and Internet, 4).

Anywhere in the world, one only has to type the word Catholic in search engines or

search tabs of social media to gain access to a wide array of contents about the Catholic Church.

However, these links provide information both for or against the Church. In effect, some people,

because of what they see online, choose to deviate from the faith either by converting to another

religion or dismissing the concept of the Divine as fallacious.

The Philippines has one of the highest digital populations in the world. According to a

study done by the Rappler Team in partnership with Globe Telecom, there 47.13 million Internet

users in the country, with a mobile Internet penetration growing at a rate of 1.5x or 30 million

users every year. In the same study, the average Filipino spends 3.2 hours on mobile and 5.2
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hours on desktop and tablet. These statistics are high compared to the rest of the world,

considering that the Philippines being 21st out of 22 Asian countries in terms of Internet

download speed, according to a study done by Ookla.

For a country that is dominantly Catholic, the Church in the Philippines has long

ventured into using various media forms to spread the Good News. The Church and its

supporting groups increase their online presence by being active in the Internet, especially

through social media. Given the context above, my future research would concentrate mainly on

the impact of Catholic online presence to the doctrinal formation of high school students,

specifically of St. Paul College of Makati, where I am currently employed.

At least online, I have not found studies that have targeted Catholic online presence and

how it affects the lives of students. There are studies regarding perceptions of educators on

Catholic identity, but none so far on the impact of the Churchs media presence on people, let

alone teenagers. This may not be quite a new topic. There may be existing researches regarding

the effectiveness of Catholic influence in various media forms. Unfortunately, I do not have

access to them yet.

This research would be of significance especially to those connected with Catholic

institutions. Given that the results of this would-be study are accurate, content providers of

Catholic websites or social media pages can fine tune their contents and vary their approach for

them to achieve their goal of reaching as much people as possible.

Currently, St. Paul College of Makati has doctrinal formation programs for students and

employees alike. These include regular masses, and catechism sessions recollections, Basic
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Ecclesial Communities and activities in collaboration with Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, such as

the Parish Renewal Experience. At least in my locale, there are no programs which involve

utilizing Catholic Church content online. With this research, changes to this current system may

be done, beyond constantly posting in social media about parish activities to, who knows, even

creating an online community for those with common interest.

A weak spot of this research is the limitedness of the available online material that is of

the same concern. However, there are a lot of research opportunities. As mentioned, this research

would focus on the high school students of St. Paul College of Makati, which, at present, receive

regular subscriptions on Catholic reading materials, but are practically clueless in searching for

reliable Catholic material online. The output of this research would be helpful in addressing

concerns of spirituality that has to do with surfing the net. Simply put, this future research could

be a building block for future researches, as its intended steps are replicable and can be tailor-

fitted for certain settings.

Works Cited:

"A Profile of Internet Users in the Philippines." Rappler. Rappler, Globe Telecom, n.d.

"Catholicism in the Philippines." Religious Literacy Project. N.p., n.d.

GMA News and Public Affairs. "LIST: Philippines Ranks 21st of 22 Asian Countries in Internet

Download Speed." GMA News Online. N.p., 19 May 2015.

San Martin, Ines. The Philippines is increasingly secular, but still deeply Catholic. January 15, 2015. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

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"The Church and Internet." The Church and Internet., n.d.