MANILA, Philippines – While many people intrigued by the “papal fever” turned to social media to learn about the announcement of a new pope, early indicators suggest searches for Pope Francis’ pre-papal surname, “Bergoglio,” are bound to surge upward.
Google Trends indicates a trend of rising search queries for papal candidates during an election period.
In April 2005, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, otherwise known as Joseph Ratzinger, had search results related to his surname. Searches for Ratzinger also increased slightly in the month of his retirement.
Pope Francis, who is also known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was a reported runner-up in the 2005 papal conclave. His search results trended upward in April of that year as well.
Search queries for “Bergoglio” and permutations of his name and station are expected to shoot up this month as well, and the rising trend is evident even now, before query tallies for the day of the Pope Francis announcement come in.
Rising search trends aren’t the only potential side effect of the fascination with the papal elections. Bergoglio’s movement into the papacy may introduce more people into learning about the Catholic Church, not by any proselytization attempt. Rather, pure curiosity, the ease of search engine use, and the power of the Internet might potentially bring some new believers into the fold of the Catholic Church. – Rappler.com
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