Religion News Service
As the second anniversary of Pope Francis’ election approaches, a survey conducted by U.S. Catholic magazine finds that American Catholics still have sharply divided views of the pope. But no matter which position they take, Catholics seems to hold strong opinions on Francis.
The informal survey, conducted at uscatholic.org in January, found that 64% of the 1,535 respondents had a favorable or mostly favorable view of Pope Francis, while 36% labeled their opinion of him as unfavorable or mostly unfavorable.
When asked to comment on Francis’ actions in the past two years, 63% say they have been inspired by the pope’s simple and humble lifestyle and 55% believe lay Catholics are getting more of a voice in the church. But 43% believe that Francis’ comments on controversial topics–the now famous “Who am I to judge?” line, for instance–distort Catholic teaching. In addition, 40% say they specifically find Francis’ comments about homosexuality troubling and 36% argue that the pope doesn’t talk enough about abortion.
In an interesting twist, the U.S. Catholic editors noted a drastic difference between all survey respondents and those who indicated that they are subscribers to the magazine. Among subscribers, 96% had a favorable or mostly favorable view of Francis. In general, regular readers of the magazine expressed much more positive views of the pope than survey respondents overall.
Full results of the survey can be found online at: www.uscatholic.org/PopeFrancissurvey
Now in its 80th year, U.S. Catholic is a monthly magazine that puts faith in the context of everyday life. It is published in Chicago by the Claretians, a Catholic order of priests and brothers.
Scott Alessi, Managing Editor
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