A University of Notre Dame researcher spoke to more than 25 U.S. bishops about the state of Catholic life in America and found that Pope Francis is not inspiring men to consider the priesthood and join seminary.
“When pressed, none of the bishops I queried could report a single diocesan seminarian inspired to pursue priestly life by the current pope,” Francis Maier wrote in an article for First Things that described his initial findings. Maier is a “senior research associate” at the Catholic university and conducted the research as part of the Constitutional Studies program.
Though “[m]any praised [Pope Francis’] efforts” to reform the Vatican to better support the work of bishops, none of the bishops could point to a young man who had been inspired to consider the priesthood by Pope Francis. There are about 200 U.S. bishops so Maier’s research includes about 12 percent of all U.S. bishops.
Since Pope Francis’ election in 2014, numerous commentators have raised the idea of a “Francis Effect” — the idea that the new pope would inspire people to return to the Catholic Church and renew the Catholic community.
Full story at The College Fix.