All posts tagged: First Things

The Francis Effect Isn’t About Numbers

Yesterday in The New York Times, Matthew Schmitz of First Things contributed an op-ed debunking the supposed Francis effect. He noted that although the papacy is viewed in a more positive light than it was under Pope Benedict XVI, Catholics are not returning to the pews. In fact, there has been a slight or marginal decrease in the last eight years: New survey findings from Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate suggest that there has been no Francis effect — at least, no positive one. In 2008, 23 percent of American Catholics attended Mass each week. Eight years later, weekly Mass attendance has held steady or marginally declined, at 22 percent. Commentators, both religious and secular, have noted this fact before. Pope Francis, no matter how attractive he is viewed, is not bringing people back to active Mass attendance at least within the United States. We should not be surprised that lapsed Catholics remain, well, lapsed–despite the the magnetic pull of a single Pontiff. The attraction to Pope Francis must be understood within a broader …