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The 'Pope Francis effect'-- longer lines for Confession?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Apr 09, 2013

Vatican Insider says that Italian priests are reporting more people coming to Confession since the election of Pope Francis—including many people who have been away from the sacrament for a long time. American priests have told me the same thing, and it seems to me the lines have been a bit longer. Has that been your experience, too?

The excitement that a new Pontiff brings to the Church can show itself in unexpected ways, and the very simple, direct, pastoral style of Francis seems to encourage people to practice their faith in simple, direct ways.

For another indicator of the ‘Pope Francis effect,’ just watch the Catholic World News headlines. Last week we agreed that, as a matter of editorial policy, we shouldn’t carry a news story on every homily the Holy Father delivers as he celebrates daily Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. It only qualifies as news if the Pope says something really striking, we agreed. Yesterday we carried a story about a papal weekday homily. Today we carry another. Our editorial policy is still in place, but he keeps saying things that are striking! We’ll stop if he does.

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 See full bio.

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  • Posted by: djsheffield9840 - Apr. 09, 2013 10:37 PM ET USA

    As they say, "It's all in the timing". As much as I've warmed up to Good Pope Francis (which was immediate), might the increase in confessions be due to the expected increase from Holy Week and then the lead-up to Divine Mercy weekend?