There is an old adage that says “If one thinks he’s leading, but has no followers, he’s just taking a walk”.
Pope Francis certainly appears to be leading, but the closing line in a recent tv news piece on the Holy Father, asks perhaps the most important question…
Is anyone following? The pastor of the parish which is the centerpiece of this article says he has noticed an increase in attendance, despite the seeming positive attitudes of American Catholics.
The pontiff is without question setting the example. What does it mean though if there is no discernible impact to the so called “Francis Effect”? I don’t mean to diminish the Pope’s actions. They speak loudly to the world and have changed the feeling of news coverage for the Church and the conversation about it. This is no small feat. I can’t imagine how he might do a better job. However,….
I have not noticed a change in behavior among the faithful. I have not noticed a change in attendance at mass.
It seems to me that Pope Francis is consistently saying and doing the right things and he’s getting noticed for it. What needs to happen next is that the laity must take up the cross and follow. Be bold! Bring the Pope up in conversation, particularly with those who have fallen away from the church or those who have not known it before (it doesn’t spread the Gospel to discuss with those you see in the pews). Follow his lead in humility. Speak up for the marginalized. Invite people into the community of Christ. Ask them to join you at mass or at other activities in your parish.
If we follow, Francis will be leading.