Stats on attendance for Pope Francis’ Angelus and General Audiences

I found this story from Ed Pentin to be pretty interesting.  My friends in Rome and my own experience this out.

Large Fall in Numbers of Faithful Attending Angelus, Regina Coeli

According to figures released today by the papal household, the number of faithful taking part in various Vatican papal events almost halved in 2015 compared to last year, although some of the disparity is due to the large numbers of people who attended the canonizations of Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII in 2014.

Just over 3.2 million faithful attended general audiences, special audiences, Vatican liturgical celebrations, the Angelus and Regina Coeli prayers in 2015. That compares to 5.9 million faithful who took part in the same events last year.

Last year’s historic canonizations meant that 730,000 participated in liturgical celebrations in April 2014 compared to 110,000 in the same month this year.

But the biggest disparity has been at the Angelus and Regina Coeli prayers: 1.6 million attended them in 2015, compared to just over 3 million last year.

One possible reason could be that the Holy Father has spent over double the time away on papal visits this year (37 days compared to 18 in 2014), although it’s debatable how much that influenced the drop in numbers.

The Vatican points out that the statistics do not include the large numbers of faithful who attend other papal events outside the Vatican such as papal trips.

It also stresses that the data is “approximate” and “calculated on the basis of requests to participate in encounters with the Pope and invitations distributed by the Prefecture, which also specifies that estimates are given for attendance at events such as the Angelus or Regina Coeli and for celebrations in St. Peter’s Square.”

There’s more… from the Daily Mail:

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24 Responses to Stats on attendance for Pope Francis’ Angelus and General Audiences

  1. Tony Phillips says:

    It’s the shoes.

  2. vandalia says:

    The interesting question would be how has the number of people visiting Rome changed?

    I have a friend who organizes Catholic tours and she mentioned that she had a dramatic drop in business in 2015 that she attributed to the ISIS threat, terrorism, etc. She also heard the same thing from colleagues in other countries. Now, I don’t know if that was just one person’s experience or a general trend.

    So it would be interesting to track this with the number of pilgrims visiting Rome, or it is probably more easy to find the data for tourists visiting Italy.

  3. SimonR says:

    From watching coverage of the General Audiences and other Papal events, these figures make sense. I think there has been a noticeable decrease in numbers which is borne out by these statistics.

    I was in Rome during the summer. It was my 4th trip to Rome and the first in the summer. I found Rome more packed than ever. Even at 7am, I had to wait around 15 minutes in the line for St. Peter’s. From around 9am, the line went around the entire St. Peter’s Square and this continued for the rest of the day. At the end of the day, there were many people still in the Square around 11pm. So, I do not see that there has been a decrease in people visitng Rome. It was so full of people in the summer!

    There are a few noticeable differences with this Pontificate:

    1. At the General Audience, Pope Francis does not give a summary of the Catechesis in other languages and he does not give greetings in languages other than Italian.

    2. Similarly, at the Angelus, the Pope does not give greetings in languages other than Italian.

    3. If I recall correctly, Pope Francis does not sing the Our Father at the General Audience. He also does not sing the Papal Blessing at the Angelus or General Audience. I seem to remember that the Pope almost mumbles these now?

    Finally, Pope Benedict looked impressive in his vestments. He always chose beautiful vestments which added to the formality of the occasion. Pope Francis almost always has the most basic vestments and uses a lectern. Contrast for example the way Pope Benedict looked at the Urbi et Orbis with Pope Francis’ appearance. Pope Francis goes for a minimalist approach.

    There was a lot to see and listen with Pope Benedict. Whereas with Pope Francis, there is not much to see and his homilies and catechesis vary from very good to quite poor I think.

    I always have the impression that people loved Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict.

    Despite the media adulation that is common place, I do not believe orthodox Catholics do love Pope Francis the way Popes John Paul and Benedict were loved.

    These may be some of the reasons why attendances at Papal events have dropped.

  4. kurtmasur says:

    SimonR, assuming that yearly tourism/pilgrimage to Rome hasn’t decreased from previous years, then the things that you point out certainly make sense to explain the drop in papal event attendance.

    Speaking from personal experience, I myself have been to Rome at least a dozen times for pilgrimage purposes during the JPII and B16 pontificates, but ever since Francis became Pope, I just don’t feel the motivation to go anymore, so I haven’t been to Rome since Christmas 2012. I am, however, thinking of visiting Rome again, but for one of the yearly Summorum Pontificum pilgrimages, and that’s it… I wouldn’t be desperate to go to a Papal mass (but if I did, it’d be just because of Mons. Guido Marini), and ditto for the Angelus prayer…I’d go if I happened to be in the vicinity by chance.

    I would imagine that many other like-minded Catholics as myself feel equally unmotivated to make a pilgrimage to Rome, while Francis’ die-hard fans, which I imagine that many of them are catholic with a lower-case “c”, would probably not feel compelled enough to make a pilgrimage to Rome. Also, keep in mind that a lot of Francis fans are not even Catholic (nor catholic)…they belong to the “I’ve always hated the Catholic Church, but I love this Pope” crowd, of which Elton John is an example, and you can be sure to doubt to see this category of people present in a papal Mass. Perhaps Francis is trying to woo such lost souls into the Church, which in and of itself is something quite noble, but if it’s at the cost of alienating his flock and keeping them at bay, then he should seriously rethink his strategy and realize what he’s doing.

  5. SPWang says:

    @ Tony –

    Comment of the year! LOL

  6. Aegidius says:

    Happy New Year to everybody!
    All of the comments above make perfect sense to me. For myself, I have stoped feeling any interest in what comes from Rome, unfortunately. However, as I habe read elsewhere, it appears that attendance numbers, though falling, are approaching Pope Benedict’s attendance numbers. Can anybody verify what is true, as it will have major implication on our evaluation of this “Francis effect”?

  7. celpar says:

    Someone remarked a few months into the present papacy that the ‘Francis Effect’ wouldn’t last because there are only so many times you can take an interest in the Pope hugging someone else’s granny. The present Pope’s ‘teaching’ is trite when it’s not dubious, so he’s got nothing to offer if the gestures have become uninteresting.
    Incidentally Mass attendances in my parish continue to decline visibly…

  8. Eugene says:

    The Francis effect: Mass attendance is not up, Vocations are decreasing, Heresy is increasing.

  9. robtbrown says:

    Celar says

    The present Pope’s ‘teaching’ is trite when it’s not dubious, so he’s got nothing to offer if the gestures have become uninteresting.

    The responsibilities of any pope go far beyond what he does publicly.

  10. Benedict Joseph says:

    This reminds me of those times in childhood when Mother would insist Pop stop and ask directions at the gas station and he, in his personal infallibility, would decline. We always ended up missing the picnic.
    Drawing from one’s own bucket when one has the option to draw from the Deposit of the Faith, the consequences can be anticipated. One need only look at what occurred after the Council. The Holy Mass, the timeless spirituality of the priesthood, the nearly two millennial paradigm of religious life, pious devotion, jettisoned for Marx, Freud and Darwin. Their notions repackaged for Catholic consumption by thirty-something clerical wannabes under the leadership of continental “theologians” — we collapsed. Addicted to the sixties, one can only expect the same result. Empty monasteries, empty rectories, empty convents, empty pews, empty Apostolic Palace, empty squares.
    Empty hearts.

  11. arickett says:

    From previous thread

    Polycarpio says:
    27 August 2015 at 3:24 PM
    As far as I can tell, all this just means that attendance is leveling out to normal levels. The average attendance for St. John Paul II (according to CNS) was 10,570 people per audience, while Benedict held steady at 10,395 per audience. Benedict too spiked his first year when he attracted 4 million to his Wednesday audiences (Francis was 6 million, which is not surprising given the hoopla of a new Pontiff plus the so-called ‘Francis effect’). But everything that goes up must come down. At 14,818 per, he’s still performing above average, though.

  12. Matt R says:

    The Pater Noster is still sung at the audience, and he still does the pontifical blessing at the Angelus. The problem is, I think, that he doesn’t do the welcomimg to the various pilgrim groups himself as Pope Benedict did. He lets a curial priest who speaks that language do it, and the summaries of the catechesis are especially brief.

  13. Augustine says:

    Could what happened in Latin America be happening now in a global scale? All that the typical Latin American bishop, like Bergoglio, has accomplished in the last 40 years is having become a media darling for watering down the faith, failing to challenge singers to conversion under a pretense of mercy, estranging the devout, gutting the liturgy, losing a couple of generations to the darkness of secularism or Protestantism, making Catholics the minority where they made up almost all of the population.

    Happy and blessed New Year!

  14. Raymond says:

    My wife and I were in Rome last March 2015. It was my third time there and my wife’s first. On previous visits, I had always taken the time and effort to attend Papal Masses celebrated by Popes JPII and Benedict XVI. This time, we were at one of the gift shops underneath St. Peter’s dome. It was a Saturday and the kindly nun at the counter reminded us of Pope Francis’ presence at the Angelus the following day. Right there and then, my heart sank and I only managed to utter a weak “OK” in reply. Sadly, for the first time in my life, I absolutely felt no interest in seeing or listening to the current Pope. I gave my wife a tour of the basilica, prayed before the tomb of St. John Paul II, and did not come back the next day for Pope Francis’ Angelus.

  15. Mike says:

    I have been to one of Benedict’s general audiences and one of Francis’. Benedict’s ability to speak several languages was a plus for me.
    Aside from the fact that he was an unusually learned Pope.

  16. MaryL says:

    Pray for our Holy Father. He’s a human being, attacked by the devil. St Michael the Archcangel and Saint Joseph, help our Pope Francis. God bless him.

  17. jeff says:

    But then again, we ARE Fr Z readers. Not your typical Catholic

  18. frival says:

    “Fr Z readers. Not your typical Catholic”

    That’s gotta be a tag line somewhere, somehow.

  19. SimonR, thou hast writ:

    “At the General Audience, Pope Francis does not give a summary of the Catechesis in other languages and he does not give greetings in languages other than Italian.

    “Similarly, at the Angelus, the Pope does not give greetings in languages other than Italian.

    Most popes in recent history were fluent in any number of languages. Pope Francis is not known to be all that fluent in Italian, even though his parents were from Italy. It is likely they spoke a dialect among themselves from the northern regions, most likely Piedmontese. His Spanish is not much better. And his English is not very good at all.

    “If I recall correctly, Pope Francis does not sing the Our Father at the General Audience. He also does not sing the Papal Blessing at the Angelus or General Audience. I seem to remember that the Pope almost mumbles these now?”

    At the age of 21 he suffered from life-threatening pneumonia and three cysts, and had part of one lung removed in surgery. This is one reason why he rarely chants, if ever, given that he only has one fully functioning lung.

    “Finally, Pope Benedict looked impressive in his vestments. He always chose beautiful vestments which added to the formality of the occasion. Pope Francis almost always has the most basic vestments and uses a lectern. Contrast for example the way Pope Benedict looked at the Urbi et Orbis with Pope Francis’ appearance. Pope Francis goes for a minimalist approach.”

    Jesuits are historically indifferent to the trappings of pomp and ceremony, the legacy of several prominent liturgists from that order notwithstanding. Between that, and his identity with the very poor of his native Argentina, would render him reluctant towards such opulence in liturgical vesture. Personally, I consider this to be a misplaced priority, as it is more about the office than the person holding it.

    Not all popes are great orators, or great theologians. History may show that the particular strengths of this pope lay elsewhere.

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  21. Charles E Flynn says:

    Large decrease in visitors to papal events in 2015; Jubilee numbers low so far, by Alessandra Nucci, for The Catholic World Report.

  22. newportson says:

    There is a lot going on in the world and the threat of terrorism at The Vatican is almost constantly reported. Of course, as faithful followers of Christ Jesus, we should fear nothing and attend in even larger numbers to prove to the Radical Islamic Terrorists (RITs) that Christians will follow Jesus even unto death. Ultimately, however, this focus by the Press Office in the announcement of these numbers seems a little too worldly to me. Why is there any concern at all about this? The explanations provided almost seem as if they are trying to rationalize something. I pray that the Holy Father cares little about how he is received, and takes faith only in that he proclaims the Truth in Christ.

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  24. Mariana2 says:

    Well, exactly. I used to follow all Pope Benedict’s Angeluses (unless its Angela in the plural : ) ) and addresses, all of them both charming, instructive and edifying. Now I can’t be bothered.

    manwithblack hat says “Jesuits are historically indifferent to the trappings of pomp and ceremony”.

    I wish the Pope would humble himself and really be indifferent to the trappings and actually wear them.