Crowds Exploded Under Pope Francis
Pope drew 6.6M to Vatican in 2013
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 3, 2014 12:15 AM CST
Pope Francis waves to faithful as he is driven through the crowd in his popemobile in St. Peter's Square prior to the start of his weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 10, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

(Newser) – Pope Francis drew more than 6.6 million people to his audiences, Masses, and other Vatican events in 2013, more than twice as many as his predecessor Benedict XVI did in his first year as pope in 2005—2.85 million. The statistics released yesterday cover only events held at the Vatican starting from Francis' March 13 election, meaning the estimated 3.7 million who attended his final World Youth Day Mass in Rio, among other events, don't count toward that total. Further, the Vatican saw 2.35 million visitors in 2012, per Quartz, which points out nearly three times as many visitors showed up in just the last 9.5 months.

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Jan 4, 2014 2:15 AM CST
He seems to be winning over a lot of people who had given up on the Church. That's good I guess. But I hope he roots out the pedophile networks once and for all. And no more payoffs to victims. Prosecute!
Jan 3, 2014 7:07 PM CST
Problem is, unlike every other pope, he has not done one thing to change any of the issues in the Catholic church..He is just a superstar of humble ... he has the flashiest and most fanatically promoted humble of any humble of ever seen before.
Jan 3, 2014 10:12 AM CST
Francis is the most Christ-like Pope the xians ever produced, and the first one many atheist can recognize as genuine, and yet, Rush, Fox and all the other nose-ring-pullers from the right just can't stop bashing him. Republicans - even when they get it right, they're wrong!