The Francis effect in New Zealand

Cardinal John Dew is putting the increasing number of people attending Easter services down to the
“Francis effect”.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead general audience in St. Peter's Square
In an interview on Radio New broadcast on Easter Sunday morning, Cardinal Dew said “… we have noticed in the last couple of years that the number coming to Easter ceremonies have increased,
and we think that is part of what is known as the Francis effect, which is around the world”.
When pressed further by interviewer Wallace Chapman about the impact of the Francis effect on the
Church and the world, Cardinal Dew agreed it had been profound.
“. . . I’ve heard people say myself, ‘I can belong to this Church again, you know the Pope has given me great hope’,” the cardinal said.
“I’m astounded at the number of people, not just Catholic people, but people all over the place, who comment on the actions of Pope Francis and the hope that he is giving to the world,” he added.
The interview touched on several of Pope Francis’s actions that have struck a chord with many.
These include paying his own hotel bill after he was elected, not travelling by chauffeur-driven limousines at the Vatican, wearing simple liturgical vestments, and even queuing up for a cup of coffee during meeting breaks.
Cardinal Dew said the Pope’s actions are “so symbolic of what he believes we should be doing in leadership in the Church”.
“He is a very simple, humble man. He obviously, he gets an enormous amount of attention as the Pope, but he doesn’t look for or expect any special attention,” Cardinal Dew explained.
During a meeting at the Vatican, Cardinal Dew noted how Pope Francis walked down a stairwell with
anybody else and lined up for coffee “with anyone who is there”.
“That had never been seen before,” the cardinal said.
“And that is not to detract from the previous popes, it is just his way and, of course, it endears him to everybody who is there.”
Cardinal Dew said he supports the Pope’s efforts to renew the Church and, “as he keeps saying, to take the Church to the peripheries, out to the edges, where people are vulnerable and struggling and looking for something to hope for”.
When asked about the biggest issues facing the Church at present, Cardinal Dew suggested “adapting
our way of providing our liturgies, our services, our Masses, to meet multicultural needs”.
He also said “it is a big challenge for many people that it is not just about going to Church for an hour on Sunday, it is living the Gospel”.

Posted in

Michael Otto

Reader Interactions


  1. Leo says

    The Cardinal’s pursuit of the multi-cultural agenda continues the mindset that has paved the way for the Church’s enemies to thrive.
    And it is, really, somewhat pathetic to suggest that “adapting our liturgies” is the biggest issue facing the Church.
    Certainly, one of the biggest issues, perhaps the biggest current issue, is the failure tp preach and apply Humanae Vitae. Fallout from that failure has been the devastation of our very civilisation, and the reduction of the Church to irrelevance in the eyes of the world.

  2. Chris Griffiths says

    Encouraging to see so many new faces at the Easter Masses. How are things looking now we’re in to the Third Week of Easter? Would be nice to see this effect having some sustained momentum but suspect the only thing that is going to do that is good solid formation and preaching from the pulpit that isn’t afraid to challenge all the non-Christian cultural norms which now dominate. The bishops must spell out the faith to the faithful in order that they become faithful, including the difficult stuff like Humanae Vitae. The need for confession and the reality of grave / mortal sin also tends to be neglected out of fearing people will feel rejected and hurt, thus depriving the faithful of a divine remedy and means to be made whole again. I agree that worrying about liturgical expression in a multi-cultural context is not a top priority, but more of a distraction that would sort itself out as long as the essential stuff is authentically Catholic. Transmission of the whole of the faith should be the priority, after all that’s what people are really looking for when they cross the threshold of a church in order to hear the Good News. And indeed, the whole of the Catholic faith is very good news. Catholics should not be embarrassed to proclaim it, and neither the successors of the Apostles.

  3. John Shone says

    With all due/dew respect (sorry, but the play on words here is just too tempting), I think much too much is being attributed to the so-called “Francis effect”. To suggest many Catholics are returning to the practice of their faith largely for this reason is fanciful in the extreme. Moreover, it doesn’t say much about their Faith (these nameless long-absent individuals the Cardinal speaks of) that it should ebb and flow according to whomever happens to be seated upon the throne of Peter. Then again, a large proportion of Catholics today are ignorant, or, worse still, dismissive of certain of the essential Truths of Catholicism – mostly the consequence of decades of poor catechetical instruction.

  4. Francis says

    “When asked about the biggest issues facing the Church at present, Cardinal Dew suggested “adapting
    our way of providing our liturgies, our services, our Masses, to meet multicultural needs”.” Really? Some would say that the messing around with the liturgy in the 60s was in fact the cause of the biggest issues in the Church in the last 50yrs (ie huge decline in Mass attendence, Priestly & Religious vocations, lack of knowledge and adherance to Church teachings etc). Those previous mentioned statistics were doing quite well before the 60s when the Church had the mostly universal, non-multicultural Traditional Latin Mass without novelties etc. Of course it also is as much own to Vatican II or the Spirit of Vatican II, lack of proper Catechesis etc. But these are all tied together. And it’s not a secret that the parishes, orders and congregations around the world that are having the most growth are in fact those that adhere to the Traditional Latin Mass. So I’m sorry Bishop Dew, but you gotta be joking!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *