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TO NATIONAL, AND RELIGION EDITORS:
New Poll Explores U.S. Catholics' Views of the Pope After His First
WASHINGTON, March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One year into his
pontificate, Pope Francis remains immensely popular among American
Catholics and is widely seen as a force for positive change within the
Roman Catholic Church, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
More than eight-in-ten U.S. Catholics say they have a favorable view
of the pontiff, including half who view him very favorably. The
percentage of Catholics who view Francis "very favorably" now rivals
the number who felt equally positive about Pope John Paul II in the
1980s and 1990s, though Francis' overall favorability rating remains a
few points shy of that of the long-serving Polish pope.
Seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics also now say Francis represents a major
change in direction for the church, a sentiment shared by 56% of
non-Catholics. And nearly everyone who says Francis represents a major
change sees this as a change for the better.
It is less clear whether there has been a so-called "Francis effect,"
a discernible change in the way American Catholics approach their
faith. There has been no measurable rise in the percentage of
Americans who identify as Catholic. Nor has there been a statistically
significant change in how often Catholics say they go to Mass.
On the other hand, about a quarter of Catholics (26 say they have
become "more excited" about their Catholic faith over the past year
(outnumbering the one-in-ten who have become less excited). And fully
40% of Catholics say they have been praying more often in the past 12
months (compared with 8% who say they have been praying less often).
It is important to note that none of these questions about religious
practices were explicitly tied in the survey to Francis' papacy; the
questions dealing with attitudes toward Francis came elsewhere in the
These are among the key findings of a new Pew Research Center survey,
conducted Feb. 14-23, on landlines and cellphones among a national
sample of 1,821 adults (including 351 Catholics).
The full survey report, "Catholics View Pope Francis as a Change for
the Better," is available on the website of the Pew Research Center's
Religion & Public Life Project.
SOURCE Pew Research Center
/CONTACT: Katherine Ritchey, 202-419-4562, firstname.lastname@example.org
CO: Pew Research Center
ST: District of Columbia
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