88% of American Catholics Approve of Pope Francis

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 24, 2013   |   1:52PM   |   Washington, DC

Pope Francis has become an inspiring leader of the Catholic Church and, for the pro-life movement, been a solid pro-life leader who has combined messages laying out the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church along with touching moments.

The pontiff received international acclaim for letting a teen with Down Syndrome take a spin in the Popemobile, and then Pope Francis drew accolades for showing love to a disabled man covered in boils.The Pope wasted no time in kissing and blessing the man.

Now, a CNN poll shows 88% of American Catholics approve of Pope Francis.

The popular pontiff has also made a positive impression among Americans in general: Nearly three in four view Francis favorably.  The new survey suggests that the Pope is arguably the most well-regarded religious figure among the American public today, said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Nine months into his papacy, the Argentine-born Francis has captured attention with crowd-pleasing acts of compassion, from embracing a severely disfigured man, to washing the feet of juvenile delinquents, to hosting homeless men at his birthday Mass this month.

The Pope has also shown a common touch rare for such a lofty religious leader. He has eschewed the trappings of the papacy in favor of humbler digs, simpler vestments and a cheaper car. He worked as a bar bouncer and a janitor before he was a priest, and is not shy about telling people.

According to one study, Pope Francis was the most talked about person on the Internet this year, and even atheists have professed appreciation for the 77-year-old pontiff.

American Catholics appear to like the new course the Pope has set for their church. Nearly two-thirds agree with him about the amount of attention that should be paid to moral issues, according to the CNN/ORC poll.



More than 85% of American Catholics say Francis is neither too liberal nor too conservative, and 86% say he’s in touch with the modern world. By comparison, more than half of American Catholics said Pope John Paul II was out of step with the times in 2003, near the end of his 26-year-long papacy.

Time Magazine named Pope Francis its 2013 Person of the Year, following a year in which the leader of the Catholic Church distinguished himself as not only a vocal pro-life advocate but a compassionate one.The decision makes sense, as Pope Francis has already been suggested as a possible Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

“With a focus on compassion, the leader of the Catholic Church has become a new voice of conscience,” the magazine said. “Once there was a boy so meek and modest, he was awarded a Most Humble badge. The next day, it was taken away because he wore it. Here endeth the lesson.”