WATERTOWN — The editor in chief of the Jesuit magazine America knew the 12,000-word interview with Pope Francis his journal published last month would be a huge event. But he was still awed by the response: In three days, the journal added 900 subscribers, and the number of unique visitors to its website shot up from 5,000 per day to 200,000 in each of the two days following its publication.
“It is enough,” the Rev. Matt Malone said with a laugh, “to make you believe in trickle-down economics.”
The 41-year-old Malone, who was in town last week for a Jesuit event for young adults, grew up in Mashpee and worked in politics in Massachusetts before entering religious life.
For the magazine, the Francis interview published on Sept. 19 was historic: It was the first time, as Malone wrote in a note accompanying the text, the magazine was primarily responsible for conveying the words of the pope to an American audience.
The interview, conducted by the editor of the Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica on behalf of a group of Jesuit publications, including America, electrified the Catholic world last month; in it Francis said the church had grown obsessed with abortion, homosexuality, and contraception, and that instead it should emphasize mercy and compassion.
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