ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – St. Louis native and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan tells CBS News he is definitely seeing what is being called the “Pope Francis effect.”
Since the election of Pope Francis this past March, hundreds of thousands of Italians have flocked back to the church. A similar movement is being seen here in the United States, according to Cardinal Dolan.
“I can’t walk down the streets of our beloved New York without people coming up to me and saying ‘thanks for Pope Francis, you guys did a good job, we love him,'” Dolan said Wednesday. “And I hear from our priests that are always on the front lines. They’re telling me the crowds at Sunday mass are up, the confession lines are all up, inquires about the Catholic faith are more abundant, and even the collections are going up.”
Last month, Pope Francis sent out a survey to the national bishops conferences which took the unusual step of seeking broad input on how parishes deal with sensitive issues such as birth control, divorce and gay marriage.
“What he’s asking about is ‘how can we present it better?'” Dolan explained. “How can we be more effective in our teaching and how can we reach out with love and compassion to those who find it difficult to live up to church teaching?”
Dolan says the Pope wants to hear from the people in the pew on these family and marriage issues before the bishops of the church meet with him in a special synod on the topic next October at the Vatican.