I’m surrounded by “lapsed” Catholics. Most Catholics I know don’t go to Mass, even for Christmas and Easter, don’t go to confession, and could not care less to know anything about the Faith beyond what they learned as children and what they pick up from the “news” or movies based on “theologians” such as Dan Brown. If you don’t know who he is, he’s one of those who write fiction based upon made up “facts” that he knows people are too stupid or lazy to research themselves but take from him as true. He’s made millions because of this and many Catholics believe that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were “married”. This they will read and believe.
Today I read an article that states authoritatively that lapsed Catholics are returning to Church and confession because of the so-called “Francis Effect”. The article trots out information as facts but contains no information as to where the facts came from.
“Francis Effect,” as his pastoral touch is called, is getting Catholics who have turned their back from their religion back to the Church. There was a reported significant rise in church attendance in parishes worldwide, the biggest increase of which was in long-lapsed Catholics, since his election on March 13, 2013. In Rome, pilgrims and the faithful flock to hear the weekly papal mass and receive his blessing.
The confession boom was a result of “Francis Effect.” Catholic priests reported a marked rise in the number of those going to the sacrament of confession. Testimonies from priests and bishops from Europe to Latin America prove that it is a worldwide phenomenon. Lots of people now go to confession and many say they are touched by the words of Pope Francis.
This would be great news if it all were true. Since this news article is devoid of where these truths have come from, I have no idea whether this is indeed the case, except by my own observation. My parish is actually one of the more solid ones in my area, with 4500 families, and 400 attending Mass regularly and contributing financially (that’s about 12,000 to 15,000 people and about 1,500 who come to Mass). I’ve been to confession several times since Francis became the Pope. The lines are barely that and no more than a handful of people are there, even when my parish had extended and much-publicized Lent and Advent confession times. Maybe long lines and the crowds had cleared out by the time I got there and I missed them, but I doubt it since I think I would have stumbled onto them at least once. When I was child, the lines were regularly there every Saturday, but that was before the full “spirit of Vatican II” kicked in and when most Catholics went to Mass on Sunday.
At Masses, the pews are no fuller and the parish doesn’t seem to be taking in more money from the collections as published in the Bulletin. Maybe they’re all showing up at the Masses I don’t attend, but I go at different times and don’t see the bigger crowds. I know also that my lapsed Catholic friends and acquaintances haven’t come back and they’re not talking about even thinking of coming back.
This is what I see and I wish that I saw this “Francis effect” that is cited without any references to the sources of these facts. Indeed, on Christmas, I was a bit disappointed because I saw the opposite. In my family, we try to get to Mass earlier because it used to get more crowded by those who come only for Christmas, and Easter too, before Pope Francis. This year when one of my sons wondered whether we would get a seat, I said that I would gladly stand in the back to give up a seat to someone who came back. Yet, when the Mass began, there were many, many empty seats, despite the fact that many people were there that normally don’t come, which is obvious because they do kind of stand out.
So now I am wondering if this article is no more than what the Dan Browns do with their statements of facts unsupported by any evidence taking advantage of the laziness of people to make any effort to learn the facts for themselves. Unfortunately, this is the state of journalism today everywhere. It’s all wishful thinking, but trotted out as truth; it could happen. I expect this from the secular media, and we have had our fill of this here in America with obama and his sycophants. It’s now coming from the Pope’s, and that is much more troubling. They could at least cite “computer models” like they do with the “climate change” dogmas to make it appear that the facts could be true.