U.S. Catholics really like Pope Francis

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 17 2013 5:00 p.m. MDT

Pope Francis attends a vigil for peace in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.

Riccardo De Luca, Associated Press

Pope Francis is drawing generally favorable reviews from U.S. Catholics, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.

The study, released on Thursday, Sept. 12, says that about 80 percent of U.S. Catholics have a favorable view of the first Latin American pope. A lowly 4 percent have an unfavorable view, while 17 percent didn't rate the pope due to either lack of knowledge or not wanting to express an opinion.

These numbers show a slight decrease in support since he took over the papacy. In March, Francis was approved by 84 percent of Americans, according to the study.

The general public's view remains mostly unchanged since Pew’s March study, with a 1 percent increase in those having a favorable opinion. There was a 2 percent decrease (14 to 12 percent) in unfavorable views among the general public.

PE Bloggers’ David Olson offered deeper analysis of the news and detailed some of the highlights of Francis’ papacy, which began in March. Olson said that the strongest support comes from Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week.

Similarly, Jeff Kunerth of the Orlando Sentinel analyzed the recent study, saying that Francis has already hit the “high-water mark” of Pope Benedict XVI, who had an 80 percent approval rating among U.S. Catholics in 2008. Kunerth noted Pope Francis is still behind Pope John Paul II’s 90 percent approval rating found in three separate Pew research studies in the 1980s and 1990s.

Cathleen Falsani of the Religion News Service admitted to having a “crush” on Pope Francis. Not only does she admit her adoration for the pope, but she outlines the positives he’s brought to the church since taking over.

“Papa Frank is a maverick; an iconoclast. He’s even a little bit rock ’n’ roll. Simply put, he’s lovable,” she wrote.

Falsani’s six reasons for the pope being favored by many included that he’s got a great sense of humor, he’s a hugger and he has “humble swagger,” she said.

Pope Francis made a statement Monday and gave his own thoughts on what being a good Catholic means in regards to politics, according to a Washington Post article.

“A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern,” Pope Francis said. “But what is the best that we can offer to those who govern? Prayer! That’s what Paul says: ‘Pray for all people, and for the king and for all in authority.’ ”

Email: hscribner@desnews.com.

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