PopeWatch: Audiences



Father Z brings us this interesting factoid:

Shortly after the election of Pope Francis, the Wednesday General Audience and the Sunday Angelus made the area around San Pietro a complete madhouse.  I would usually be at the Augustinianum at those times for study or for lunch with a friend and I experienced it myself.

Then, over the next couple years, I noticed that it was easier and easier to get around near San Pietro at those times.  Fewer people were coming.

For the 100th general audience of Pope Francis’ pontificate, the Prefecture of the Papal Household released the average attendance of audiences from 51,6K in 2013 to 14,8K in 2015.  HERE


From Sandro Magister:

In occasione della centesima udienza generale [On the occasion of the 100th general audience] del pontificato di papa Francesco, mercoledì 26 agosto, la prefettura della casa pontificia ha comunicato che a questi cento appuntamenti hanno preso parte in totale 3.147.600 persone, così distribuite anno dopo anno:

– 1.548.500 i presenti alle 30 udienze del 2013,
– 1.199.000 i presenti alle 43 udienze del 2014,
– 400.100 i presenti alle 27 udienze del 2015.

Questo significa che anno dopo anno la media dei presenti a ciascuna udienza è stata la seguente: [the average at each audience]

– 51.617 persone nel 2013,
– 27.883 persone nel 2014,
– 14.818 persone nel 2015.

Quindi ogni nuovo anno con la metà di presenze dell’anno precedente. [Each year, half the number of the year before.]

Nè le vacche magre sembrano scongiurate, visto che alla centesima udienza di mercoledì scorso è stato comunicato che sono accorsi solo “in più di diecimila”.  [at the 100th there were “more than 10K”]

La foto sopra è stata scattata durante l’udienza generale di mercoledì 11 febbraio 2015, che era anche la festa della Madonna di Lourdes e la giornata del malato, con l’afflusso di delegazioni dell’Unitalsi.  [Photo at the audience of 11 Feb 2015, Day of the Sick.]


Benedict’s audiences exceeded those of John Paul II at times.

The square is emptier and emptier.

And it’s not because of the general secularization.

Romans aren’t going either, so it isn’t the economic slump.


Go here to read the comments.  Now this is puzzling.  Judging by the media, and by some Catholic bloggers, Pope Francis is the most popular pope ever.  Is it possible that he is largely popular among people, both Catholic and non-Catholic, least likely to observe any Catholic devotions, including going out to participate in a general audience and receive a papal blessing?


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  1. The sign of diminishing crowds? Then what is one to make of it? One must recall the paltry few under the foot of the cross, but then again, we will all stand alone before God on Judgment day.

    Popularity and its cause ( a new message?) ought to bring the conversion of many–and the ever more empty square (like our ever-more–empty pews and churches) cannot be discounted.

  2. “Is it possible that he is largely popular among people, both Catholic and non-Catholic, least likely to observe any Catholic devotions, including going out to participate in a general audience and receive a papal blessing?”

    Sounds like an answer. Plus, why go to Rome when you can turn on the TV and listen to a liberal secularist?
    I think needed: increased Papal emphasis on the salvation of souls.

  3. A acquaintance of our family, a man who has hinted that he is a liberal democrat–most likely pro-choice and the entire nine yards (we do not talk politics much at all, so it is difficult to know for certain) said he quite liked Pope Francis and considered joining the Church because of it. But I think it is highly unlikely he ever will join the Church or any other Christian denomination. Ironically, his minor was in “Christian studies” from a college that is one of those US News and World Report Best Colleges in the US. Hmm. Maybe because he minored in Christian studies he is immunized against the practice of “organized religion”?
    Why waste a perfectly good Sunday morning sleep in by attending a female dominated parish when one’s entire work site is female dominated? And of course, it is so unnecessary to obey all those “small minded rules” like Church attendance when mercy abounds?

  4. I won’t cross Pennsylvania to see the Roman Pontiff. I won’t cross the street to see him. I have stated many times why.

    Given the dwindling attendance at the general audiences, I am not alone.

    The previous points are excellent. I can hear leftist claptrap about the enviornment anywhere. I have worked in female-dominated offices – why put up with it on Sunday mornings?

    I can hear a better homily from my parish priest on Sunday mornings than I can ever hope to hear from the Roman Pontiff..

  5. Maybe it is because he has alienated people, even though the media makes it look that he is greatly popular, they can only go so far. People kind of sense that it is false.

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