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Pope’s popularity dips amongst US Catholics, says study

by Heather Preston

A new study reveals three quarters of Catholics in the US regard Pope Francis highly, but his favourability is in decline.

According to the Pew Research Centre survey of 12,693 respondents, the Pope’s approval rating stands high at 72 per cent.

However, this figure has dropped eight percent since 2021 and 15 percentage points from his peak favourability rating of 90 percent in 2015.

The pontiff is generally viewed more positively than his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI  - who is regarded as a more conservative leader. Benedict’s favourability ratings varied between 67 per cent and 83 per cent during his pontificate.

Pope John Paul II appears to have the highest approval rating, according to the research with upwards of 90 per cent.

The survey suggests there is a growing dissatisfaction with the Pope Francis among Catholics who identify as Republicans.

Pope Francis has been known for his more inclusive stance towards the LGBTQ+ community through moves to welcome transgender women to his audiences and allow trans people to be baptised under certain circumstances.

Amongst Democrats, approximately nine in ten Catholics surveyed regard Pope Francis favourably compared to 63 per cent of Republicans, while 35 per cent of Catholic Republicans said they have an unfavourable view of the Pope.

A large proportion of respondents that regarded Pope Francis unfavourably also associate him with changes in Church direction with 54 per cent saying he represents a major change in direction for the church.

Earlier this month, the Vatican published a document on Human Dignity to reiterate the Church’s opposition to sex changes, gender theory, surrogate parenthood, abortion and euthanasia.

According to the Pew Research, 61 per cent of Catholics think the Church should take steps to allow priest to marry, allow female ordination, allow contraception and recognise same-sex marriage. Just 15 per cent of Catholics mostly say the Church should not.


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