Poll: Most American Catholics have positive views of pope's leadership
February 11th, 2013
11:18 AM ET
1 year ago

Poll: Most American Catholics have positive views of pope's leadership

Washington (CNN) - American Catholics woke up Monday to the news that the head of their church, Pope Benedict XVI, would resign at the end of the month "because of advanced age."

As they react to the news, it seems most Catholics in this country had a favorable impression of their spiritual leader, according to the most recent national polling on the issue.

According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in late June and early July of last year, 74% of U.S. Catholics said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the pope's leadership, with just over one in five saying they were very or somewhat dissatisfied. That 74% is about the same number who approved of how Benedict's predecessor, John Paul II, was leading the Church, in a Pew poll from 2002.

The 74% who said last summer that they were very or somewhat satisfied with the pope's leadership was slightly lower than the 83% who approved the performance of the nuns and sisters and the 82% who felt the same way about parish priests, and it was equal to the amount who were very or somewhat satisfied with the leadership of U.S. bishops.

Benedict's numbers seem to have improved from three years ago, when the Catholic Church was dealing with renewed headlines here in the U.S. that spotlighted sexual abuse by priests. According to a CNN/ORC International poll conducted in April 2010, 59% of American Catholics had a favorable view of the pope, and a majority of them thought Benedict was doing a bad job dealing with the problem of sexual abuse by priests.


Filed under: Faith • Polls • Pope Benedict XVI
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. KellyGofAL

    This means that at least 74% of Catholics have not watched HBO's Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence, which summarizes Mr. Ratzinger's complicity in the ongoing horror of worldwide sexual abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests. He directly collected such case files from around the world, and now the Vatican will not divulge those files.

    February 11, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. v_mag

    Boy, is being pope a hard job! A vast staff waiting on you hand-and-foot 24x7x365. Somebody else cleans up after you, cooks your food, makes your bed, drives you around. You have a personal physician (or maybe a team of them) and you command a huge army of men and women in black. Once in awhile, you walk onto the balcony and wave. Sounds like a job for Mitt Romney.

    I'd quit and go find myself a better gig, too.

    February 11, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Gregory M. Newbold

    Isn`t it time for an American pope? Would not that give the Catholic Church a positive jolt in a country that the world looks to for direction and leadership? Isn`t America a financial repository for the Catholic Church? Why wouldn`t the Church want to give itself a boost by picking an American ; especially an American that speaks Spanish or can trace his roots back to the ports of Senegal.

    February 11, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. John Lubeck

    Sadly, I understand that it is likely the pope's appointed cardinals will bring us another pope who will silence intelligence, factual information and progressiveness in the church and instead promulgate the continued policies of Benedict who like American "Christians" have nothing in common with Christ.

    February 11, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Citizen

    Good riddance! From all of the young men your 'priests' have abused during your time in management. It was so nice of you to move them to a different parish so they may share their abuse with many others. There is a place in hell with your name on it.

    February 11, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Rejoice M.

    He is honest, courageous and humble. We should be grateful for the service he rendered to the Church and the world. We pray for his health and for the next suitable Pope to lead the Church

    February 11, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    v_mag

    Boy, is being pope a hard job! A vast staff waiting on you hand-and-foot 24x7x365. Somebody else cleans up after you, cooks your food, makes your bed, drives you around. You have a personal physician (or maybe a team of them) and you command a huge army of men and women in black.
    -----–
    And how is this different from the POTUS entourage?

    February 11, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |