Does the Economic Cycle Change Our Prayers? A Discussion Based on Catholic Bulletins

Authors

  • Paulo Reis Mourao Ph.D

    1. Department of Economics Economics & Management School, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
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    • The author acknowledges the suggestions made by Kyklos' reviewers and editors about a previous version of this research. The author is indebted to Maria de Fátima Castanheira Baptista (at ‘Causa de Canonização de Monsenhor Alves Brás’) and to Irmã Lucília de Carvalho (at ‘Causa de Canonização da Madre Maria Clara do Menino Jesus’) for providing the issues of the bulletins here studied. The author also acknowledges the efficient work of Diana Silva and Joaquim dos Santos Teixeira in collecting the data used here. The remaining errors are exclusively the author's.

Summary

Does the economy influence the focus of believers' prayers and their publicly acknowledged graces? This paper offers some preliminary answers to this question. Using cointegration analyses on Catholic bulletins, we found that the composition of published graces varies according to the economic cycle – a higher unemployment rate, a lower real GDP growth rate and electoral periods lead to a higher number of graces focused on economic issues (as opposed to graces motivated by other concerns, such as health). These results contribute to the literature by providing evidence that the economic cycle also influences believers' prayers and publicly acknowledged graces.

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