Bishop Frank Dewane speaks on “The Pope Effect”

VENICE, Fla – The leader of the Catholic Church in Southwest Florida has tremendous respect for Pope Francis and the feelings he inspires in the faithful. Bishop Frank Dewane has met the holy father on a couple of occasions, and says you can’t help but have the experience move you. “You know, if we look to him as an individual, and to the gifts God has given everyone, certainly that man has been blessed.”

But despite the popularity of its leader, the Catholic Church is facing challenges in the United States. According to data from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, 25% of U.S. Catholics say they don’t attend mass regularly or practice their faith. Bishop Dewane says we’ve seen this before, “I think it’s the Gospel of John, Chapter 6. It’s about Jesus and his teaching and it says…they walked away. We know it’s happened before, so we have to look at how do we take that message to today. And I think that’s what Pope Francis is doing.”

Bishop Dewane says Pope Francis is not changing church doctrine, but rather modernizing the message. And Bishop Dewane has a message for the 250,000 Catholics here in Southwest Florida. “Listen to our Holy Father during his visit. His speeches are not coated in any way, he speaks direct. He’s a man on a mission and he’s on message with that mission. And the message isn’t about himself. It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ, that is his message.”

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