Benedict Bounce

The so-called ‘Benedict bounce’, the reinvigoration of Catholic life in Britain consequent upon the state and pastoral visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland and England in September 2010, is a reality according to a press release from the Diocese of Westminster on 29 November 2011, and available at:

The claim is mainly based upon a relatively small increase of 1.7% in Westminster’s Mass attendance at the annual count in October 2010 – shortly after the papal visit – compared with October 2009, from 155,880 to 158,574.

The latter figure is the highest recorded since 1995. It continues a pattern of modest growth from a low of around 150,000 in 2001-03, so the papal visit can hardly be said to have brought Westminster’s lapsed Catholics flocking back to the pews.

Attendance in October 2010 exceeded 2,000 in five of the Diocese’s 214 parishes: Polish Church, Our Lady Mother of the Church – 4,321; Westminster Cathedral – 3,980; Greenford – 2,272; Brompton Oratory – 2,221; and Stamford Hill – 2,061.

The national Mass attendance figures for 2010 have not yet been issued. As for the impact of the papal visit on the general public, a first anniversary poll commissioned by the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales can hardly be construed as evidencing any lasting ‘Benedict bounce’. See:

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