Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $37,094 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Another very predictable 'surprise'

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jun 14, 2012

From Dublin comes the news that the crowds at the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) are greatly exceeding expectations. For some oversubscribed events, organizer have been forced to put up giant TV screens, to relay the speeches to the people unable to squeeze into the assigned sites.

For weeks leading up to this event, Irish commentators have been saying that it would probably be a dud. The Church has taken some serious hits in Ireland during the past few years, morale has been drooping, and the pundits assumed that there would be a painfully low turnout for the IEC. Not so.

It's raining in Dublin now. You'd think that would depress attendance figures, too. Wrong again.

Folks, there's an established pattern here. Whenever there's a major international Catholic event--World Youth Day, the IEC, a papal visit, whatever--the media forecast disappointing crowds. Then, having driven down expectations, reporters are stunned by the size of the crowds. Church officials set an early estimate of attendance, columnists say they're being hopelessly optimistic, and then those early estimates prove low. 

By now we should all know what's going to happen. The crowds are always "surprisingly" large. When will we all stop being surprised? As a rule of thumb, always assume that the preliminary attendance estimates are too low. If you're a betting man, take the over. 

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,623 to go):
$150,000.00 $24,377.05
84% 16%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Michael Burton - Jun. 14, 2012 2:09 PM ET USA

    I think you are missing a critical step: After the reporters are personally surprise, they attempt to undermine the reporting of the numbers by citing either the lowest estimate or using the word "hundreds" to describe several thousand people or "a few thousand people" to describe a quarter million.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Pope is not the problem 12 hours ago
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. 14 hours ago
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? October 22
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6