Action Alert!

What's going on?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 26, 2005

Can you explain what's happening? Because I can't.

A few weeks ago the Vatican announced that a record crowd had assembled for the Pope's weekly public audience: 50,000 people! Since that time, there have been about 50,000 for every Wednesday audience. The number of people flocking to see Pope Benedict in person has exceeded the numbers who saw the famously charismatic Pope John Paul II over any similar span of time!

Does this mean Pope Benedict is more popular than Pope John Paul? I doubt it. I think it means that there is a lot more interest in the affairs of the Catholic Church.

And there's more evidence. Traffic on the CWN site has been very busy recently; the number of visitors this past week has been nearly as high as in April, when we were covering the funeral of Pope John Paul and the conclave that elected Benedict XVI.

Why are all those people coming to our site? Are they interested in the Synod? Maybe. But really, how many people ordinarily pay attention to a Synod? Do you remember when the last previous Synod was held, or what was discussed?

CWN has made no special promotional offers this month. Yet somehow we have attracted more new subscribers than in any other month since we began business (aside from those unique months of April and May of this year). And October isn't over yet!

Mind you, I'm not complaining. I'm delighted to have the business. But I'm also puzzled. Can anyone enlighten me?

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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