Auctores scinduntur… authors are divided on the pontificate of Pope Francis.
He is, undeniably, popular. However, we read in The Week, based on Pew, that despite Francis’ marvelous showing in the polls, as high as 83% favorable, the view many people have of him isn’t changing how they live… yet, at least.
While a quarter of Catholics are more excited about their faith and 40 percent have been praying more often, the same 40 percent said they are going to mass each week (and some 42 percent at least once a year [That often?]) as before Francis was elected.
Here is a story from the German news agency Kath.net, which presents comments from His Eminence Walter Card. Brandmüller on the aspect of papal popularity.
Hamburg (kath.net/KNA) Emeritus German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller (85) does not think much of the enthusiasm for Pope Francis: “It is superficial. Were this a religious movement, the churches would be full, “the former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences said in an interview with the Hamburg magazine« History ».
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the trend, if it can be called such.
Back to the Pew findings:
Pope Francis also seems to inspire hope that the Catholic Church will change on some major issues, Pew found, despite the pope’s suggestions otherwise. American Catholics, it turns out, are a fairly liberal bunch: 77 percent want the church to allow contraception, 73 percent support priests getting married, 68 percent support the ordination of women priests, and 50 percent want Rome to recognize same-sex marriages. Those numbers all drop slightly when Pew screened for weekly church attendance. Not that you’d want to take those numbers to the bank: Pew talked to a grand total of 351 Catholics for the survey — the size of a small parish.
I wonder what you readers are experiencing in your parishes.
Is Mass attendance up? Are there things you could within reason attribute to a Francis bump?
Of course Mass attendance and other activities in a parish are one thing. Deeper fidelity and conversion is another. Those are harder to measure and this pontificate hasn’t been going on very long.
One thought: Do you have a sense that Catholics (where you are, at least) are more aware of themselves as Catholics and are, perhaps, therefore more united or more divided? I ask this in light what seems to be a fact in the secular sphere, namely, that during the Obama Presidency in these USA racial relations seems to be even more tense than in decades. Obama is figure of deep and increasing division, as it turns out. Is Pope Francis?
Do remember Pope Francis in your daily prayers.