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The Francis effect?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 26, 2017

How popular is Pope Francis? With the public? With bishops and priests? With young seminarians? Ask different people, and you’ll get different answers. It’s hard to gain an accurate reading.

But here’s a remarkably revealing clue, nearly hidden in a feel-good story about an American seminarian, Nick Sentovich, who is a 3rd-year student at the North American College in Rome, “and like all third-year seminarians, he was given the opportunity to assist during the papal Mass on Christmas Eve.”

Usually, a lottery decides who will serve during the Christmas Eve Mass, but there weren’t enough students who expressed interest this year, Sentovich said, so everyone who applied was accepted.

Emphasis added, obviously. But that’s not the only thing that should be obvious.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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