(RNS) Pope Francis’ enormous popularity may not have translated into more parishioners in the pews or penitents in the confessional, but a new survey indicates it may be persuading Catholics to dig deep and give more to the poor — another priority for the pontiff, who was elected a year ago Thursday (March 13).

Pope Francis greets people during a meeting with UNITALSI, an Italian Catholic association for the transportation of sick people to Lourdes and other Marian shrines, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on Saturday (Nov. 9). Photo by Alessia Giuliani, courtesy Catholic News Service

Pope Francis greets people during a meeting with UNITALSI, an Italian Catholic association for the transportation of sick people to Lourdes and other Marian shrines, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on Saturday (Nov. 9). Photo by Alessia Giuliani, courtesy Catholic News Service


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The survey shows that one in four U.S. Catholics say they have increased their charitable giving in the past year, and 77 percent of that group say it’s because of Francis.

“It is clear that Pope Francis and his message of mercy and joy, and a special concern for the poor, are inspiring U.S. Catholics in their giving,” said Alexia Kelley, head of Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities, or FADICA, an association that promotes Catholic philanthropy.

The survey of just over 1,000 Catholics, conducted March 7-10, was done for FADICA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of National Collections by Zogby Analytics. The survey has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

The results also showed that half of those who were inspired to boost their donations were motivated by the pope’s message of compassion for the poor, and 44 percent said Francis’ exhortations to care for others will inspire them to give more to Catholic efforts or organizations in the future.

“As FADICA looks to the future, this data suggests that the ‘Pope Francis effect’ on Catholic giving will continue to grow, thus bringing the church’s critical ministries and mercy to those who need it most,” said Kelley.

A Pew Research Center survey released earlier this month found that American Catholics and the public give Francis high marks as pope — 85 percent and 66 percent favorability ratings, respectively — but so far that has not translated into higher rates of Mass attendance, volunteering at church or going to confession.

YS/MG END GIBSON

3 Comments

  1. “so far that has not translated into higher rates of Mass attendance, volunteering at church or going to confession.”

    Best news I’ve heard all day.
    We are one more bad Pope away from watching the whole thing disintegrate.

    As long as Cardinal Law – The Godfather of The Boston Archdiocese Priest Pedophilia Ring – is not in jail and is protected by the Vatican, the Catholic Church will be another term for Organized Crime.

    These Atheist charities (as in non-religious and/or anti-religious) do much better things to help poor people:

    Doctors Without Borders,
    The Foundation Beyond Belief
    Goodwill Industries,
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
    Warren Buffet Foundation,
    Oxfam International,
    Rotary International,
    American Red Cross,
    SEED foundation, United Children’s Fund,
    Sierra Fund, National Campaign to prevent Teen Pregnancy,
    Treatment Action Campaign, Women’s Defense League
    US Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers,
    Plan USA, Tanzanian Children’s Fund
    National Academy of Science,
    The ACLU….etc.

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