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Survey finds no 'Francis effect' in US Catholic attendance figures

November 25, 2013

There is no statistical evidence of a “Pope Francis effect” driving more people into the Catholic Church in the US, according to a survey by the Pew Forum.

A Pew study conducted from March through October found that 22% of Americans identified themselves as Catholics: a number that was unchanged from a similar survey last year. Pew reported that since 2007, the number of American respondents identifying themselves as Catholic in annual surveys has remained steady, between 22% and 23%.

The perception that Catholics have become more active under the influence of the new Pontiff is also not supported by the facts, the survey found. This year, 39% of Catholics told interviewers that they attended Mass at least weekly; that figure was essentially unchanged from last year’s 40%.


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  • Posted by: unum - Nov. 25, 2013 4:56 PM ET USA

    Pew is a typical organization of media types that goes after the "easy to measure" numbers to generate a press release. Pope Francis has been challenging Catholics to stop going through the motions we learned while we were very young and focus as adults on what is essential for being a Christian. Actions speak louder than words. My formation work in the parish indicates people are listening. Now if we can just get the clergy to listen and act, we may actually reform this Church!

  • Posted by: Defender - Nov. 25, 2013 4:38 PM ET USA

    It could also be that those who increasingly leave the Church are being replaced by the Francis Effect people at the same rate.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Nov. 25, 2013 3:54 PM ET USA

    Makes sense. I still go to Mass too.