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Pope Francis a Huge Hit With U.S. Catholics — For Now

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2013 Apr 05
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He has been Pope Francis for less than a month, but the former archbishop of Buenos Aires is a hit with American Catholics -- at least for now, the Religion News Service reports. The tables may turn on Francis once media attention moves from his no-fuss style to his substantive actions, a Vatican expert said Wednesday, but he currently has an 84 percent favorable rating among U.S. Catholics, including 43 percent who hold a very favorable view of him, according to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. It is significantly higher than U.S. Catholics' view of Pope Benedict XVI early in his papacy, though the ratings are not directly comparable. Francis' favorable score was measured just two weeks into his papacy, while views on Benedict were surveyed three months after he became pope in 2005. Just 67 percent of U.S. Catholics had a favorable view of Benedict in the Pew Forum's measure in July 2005, by which point he had already taken a widely publicized unpopular action by firing the editor of the Jesuit magazine America. Americans had their highest view of Benedict in 2008 when he visited New York and Washington, D.C., but he never reached the 91 to 93 percent favorable heights hit by Pope John Paul II between 1987 and 1996, in Pew Forum research.