The Sacred in Bits and Pixels: An Analysis of the Interactional Interface in Brazilian Catholic Online Rituals

in Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture
Open Access

Through digital technologies, a new form of communicational interaction between the user and the sacred occurs in an online religious experience. This phenomenon is illustrated in practice by numerous religious services present in the online Catholic environment, which manifest new modes of discourse and religious practices, beyond the scope of the traditional church – what I term here “online rituals” – marked by a process of mediatization of religion. In this paper, from a corpus of four Brazilian websites, I analyze key concepts for the understanding of this phenomenon, including digital mediatization and interface. I examine, in these Brazilian Catholic websites, the communicational configurations of the religious experience from five areas of the interactional interface: the screen; peripherals; the organizational structure of content on websites; the graphic composition of the webpages; and possible interface failures. Finally, I examine a shift in the communicational dynamics of religion today, marked by new materialities present in online religious rituals.

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