by MICHAEL OTTO
Cardinal John Dew is putting the increasing number of people attending Easter services down to the
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”.