Monday, March 2, 2015

The Francis Effect in Argentina

Friends, as a follow-up to my Sunday post regarding the 'Morlino' effect in the Madison Wisconsin Diocese, I did a little research to see what kind of statistical effects Pope Francis had on his native Argentina during his tenure as its chief prelate there. He was selected by Pope St. John Paul II to be Archbishop of Buenos Aires beginning in 1998, and picked as Cardinal in 2001.  I use the term 'Argentina's chief prelate' because there are currently only three voting cardinals in Argentina and as the Archbishop and Cardinal of Buenos Aires, Francis was head of the Capital's diocese.

To be fair, I did first  find the Church's official statistics
http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/diocese/dbuea.html#stats
which say that from 1950 to the present the percentage of Catholics in the Buenos Aires diocese has increased from 89.5% to 91.6%.   Indeed it does claim 91.6% for 8 of the 9 years prior to 2013. Such exact, level numbers do look and smell like fudge!  The CIA factbook reports similar stats, but adds that only 20% of Argentinians are practicing Catholics.  Again, how and where did this come from?

A much more believable article, believable because it states how and where it got its information, is a 2014 Pew research survey....

http://buenosairesherald.com/article/174694/the-changing-face-of-catholic-argentina-

If Pew is reliable, then the Francis effect is hardly something even Francis would want for the entire Catholic Church.

1. from 1970 to 2014 the percentage of self-identified Argentinian Catholics fell from 91% to 71%

2. of those that still identify as Catholic, Argentinian Catholics are among the most likely Latin American Catholics to favor abortion and same-sex marriage.  e.g. the article found an overwhelming majority favor the latter by 52% to 40% opposed.

3. "Argentines ranked toward the bottom of the regional charts in terms of how important religion is in their lives, with only 43 percent saying it was very important."

4.   "In terms of “religious commitment,” only 13 percent in Argentina said they had a “high” commitment, compared to 72 percent that qualified it as “medium.”
Only Uruguay (35 percent) and Chile (15 percent) had a higher proportion of its population that had low religious commitment."
We must pray for the Holy Father that his past performance and his mindset and the mindset of his fellow Argentinian clerics that begat such a decline in his flock's Faith are not locked into the future of his pontificate.  





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