Archives for Catholic churches



Pontiff-icating on the Free-Market System: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

This week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio takes a look at Pope Francis’s critique of the free-market system in “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”), his first apostolic exhortation. (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

The pontiff’s 224-page document covers a wide range of topics, but a small sub-section discussing “some challenges of today’s world” has captured the most attention. Using fiery language, Pope Francis condemns a global economy that “kills,” promotes inequality, and allows “the powerful [to] feed upon the powerless.” (Rush Limbaugh argued that this sounds like “pure Marxism.”): Read More »



Catholic Losses Are Baptist Gains

In the zero-sum game of competitive markets, one company’s misstep is often a rival’s gain. But what about in the marketplace of religion?

A new study (PDF here) titled “Substitution and Stigma: Evidence on Religious Competition from the Catholic Sex-Abuse Scandal,” by Notre Dame economist Daniel Hungerman, looks at whether other religious faiths gained from the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Using data from 1990-2007, Hungerman finds significant spillover effects on other religious groups.

The big winner? Baptist churches, both financially and in membership growth. Read More »



What to Do With Down-on-Their-Luck Churches?

There are a growing number of churches in the U.S. that can no longer afford their upkeep, as costs are outpacing collections. In Europe, some churches have turned into techno-dance clubs. Would that work here? Read More »