Pope Francis’ Pontificate: A Quantitative Analysis of the Catholic Church’s Evolution

Ten years after the election of Pope Francis has been quite a long and still short time. A quantitative analysis was conducted to see the changes in the Catholic Church and to know if Francis has positively impacted the promotion of Catholicism worldwide.

Change is the only permanent thing in this world; things go the same way or inevitably change. This was the main motto of the Pope as he started to do new things snubbing some of the historical traditions of the church. The Pope is said to be innovative, but in a good way, wanting things to catch up to modernity.

A Quantitative Analysis of the Changes After a Decade with Francis

During Francis’ papacy, the Church continued to grow, surpassing the overall growth rate of the world’s population. According to Catholic News Agency, the number of Catholics worldwide increased by nearly 10% between 2013 and 2021, from 1.253 billion to 1.378 billion. However, despite this growth, there has been a decline in the number of sacraments performed by the Church.

In 2020, there were 2 million fewer baptisms and a 30% decrease in marriages performed compared to 2013. Confirmations and first Communions declined by 12% and 13%, respectively, even though Mass attendance remained stable in the 13 most Catholic countries. The article suggests that the drop in participation in the sacraments is likely due to the worldwide effects of the pandemic during the three years of Francis’ pontificate. However, this is not the only reason.

In the article published last January 1964, Cara explores which country has the highest Catholic Mass attendance. The answer is not definitive since surveys have yet to be conducted in every country. The World Values Survey (WVS) has collected data from 36 countries with large Catholic populations.

Among these countries, Nigeria has the highest weekly or more frequent Mass attendance among adult self-identified Catholics, at 94%. Kenya and Lebanon follow, with 73% and 69%, respectively. The next segment of countries where half or more Catholics attend Mass every week includes the Philippines, Colombia, Poland, and Ecuador. The article lists other countries where fewer than half but a third or more of Catholics attend Mass every week, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mexico, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Slovakia, Italy, and Peru.”

Also Read: Pope Francis Reveals He Has Signed a Resignation Letter Due to Potential Health Issues

Mixed Record of the Pope

The article in The New Yorker examines the mixed record of Pope Francis. While he has promised to promote women in leadership roles within the Church, he has not done so much to bring about such progress. The Pope has called on the Church to reduce its carbon footprint, but there have been no measures to compel parishes to do so.

On the other hand, he has defrocked a cardinal facing accusations of sexual abuse and established norms to support victims of such abuse. However, some accused bishops and a papal advisor have dismissed accusations against them and shown little concern for the victims.

The Pope has spoken out against nuclear weapons but initially refused to criticize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Despite the Pope’s mixed record, the article notes that he has made efforts to bring about positive change within the Church and the world.

Related Article: A Decade as Pope: Francis’ Vision for Spreading the Gospel Worldwide

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