No ‘Francis Effect’ for American Catholics

Pope Francis is popular but he isn’t bringing more people to Mass

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Newly elected Pope Francis I appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica on March 13, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.

Pope Francis is popular in the United States among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, but that isn’t translating into greater church attendance, according to a new poll.

The new Pope’s outreach to the poor and disabled and his pivot away from what he has termed the Catholic church’s obsession with social issues seems to have inspired Catholics around the world in what observers have called the “Francis Effect,” leading to a surge in attendance at Mass and in identification with the Catholic Church. In the U.S., with the world’s fourth-largest Catholic population, the Pope is well-liked by 79 percent of Catholics and 58 percent of the general public, according to the survey out Monday from the Pew Research Center.

But attendance at Mass and Catholic identification in the U.S. has been steady since 2007, when 23 percent of U.S. adults self-identified as Catholic, to 2013, when 22 percent did so. In 2007, 41 percent of U.S. Catholics reported attending Mass weekly or more often and 39 percent did so in 2013. Americans consistently report attending church more often than they actually do, Pew says.

5 comments
CatholicCrap
CatholicCrap

The RCC is in even worse shape in Europe, with the Dutch Church recently reporting to Rome that the collapse their is even greater than had been thought. The Catholic Church is desperately trying to change its image. But the damage has been done. People aren't as dumb as the Church thinks.

DavidConroy
DavidConroy

This is not surprising - a fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, and it's among these that Francis has found much of his popularity.

He has rejected ostentation and the pursuit of wealth (while Murdoch and Trump attend Billy Graham's birthday bash), and reached out to those who reject religious dogma.

He has railed against discrimination and intolerance. He has gone as far as to state that atheists can reach heaven by doing good, which flies in the face of those whose greatest fear is the disassociation of religion from morality.

He will not appeal to the hypocrite at the front of the temple, or to the Pharisee, but to people.

bostonappleton
bostonappleton

Well, Dolan said $ were up which figures with a guy like Dolan. However, it will  take time for those who dumped the Church to come back. I despise the Curia and only go to Mass because I believe in the Catholic interpretation of the four Gospels and I believe in the Eucharist. Francis is a breath of fresh air. I hope his care  for the poor and marginalized becomes permanent.  In Boston Francis is very popular, though Cardinal O'Maley who is personality challenged doesn't bring the Pope's theology to us.

God Bless Francis and that prayer to God includes all religions praying to any superior Deity.

MattPiney
MattPiney

It is no wonder, this pope represents everything America is NOT. Americans want hate with their Christianity, they want $$$$. They haven't a clue of the real Jesus anymore.

cryofax
cryofax

We're finally phasing out bronze age superstition. With the growth of information technology more and more people are turning away from religion. Might be another couple generations, but the writing is on the wall. Belief in magical men watching over us to keep us in line for the benefit of a massive power structure is in the beginning of its death throes.


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