53 per cent of American Catholics view Pope Francis favourably

Fifty-three per cent of American Catholics view Pope Francis favourably, 36 per cent have a very favourable opinion of him and four per cent view him negatively according to a new poll.

The poll – taken in September and released on Friday – also shows that nearly 70 per cent of US Catholics agree with comments made by Pope Francis in his recent extensive interview with a Jesuit Italian journal where he stressed that Catholics cannot “insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.”

According to the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, support for the Pope’s remarks was about the same across age groups, sexes and weekly Massgoers and those who attend church less frequently. 23 per cent disagreed with his comments.

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The results were similar to a poll released on Sept 12 by the Washington-based Pew Research’s Religion & Public Life Project Centre, which that found 79 per cent of Catholics have a favourable view of the Pope and 4 percent thought poorly of him.

The poll — a national sampling of 1,506 adults with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent points — showed older Catholics were slightly more enthused about the Pope, giving him a 44 percent rating, compared to 31 percent of those under the age of 50 who gave him a favorable rating.

The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in Connecticut not only surveyed American Catholic’s views of Pope Francis but also sought their views on same-sex marriage, abortion and women’s ordination. It surveyed 1,776 American adults — with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points — and surveyed 392 Catholics with a margin of error of plus or minus. 5 percentage points.

The survey found that US Catholics support same-sex marriage 60 to 31 percent, compared to the 56 to 36 percent support among all U.S. adults.

More devout Catholics, who go to Mass about once a week, support same-sex marriage at a slightly lower level, 53 to 40 per cent, while less observant Catholics support it 65 to 26 per cent.

The Quinnipiac poll found Catholic views on abortion slightly different from the American public. Sixteen per cent of polled Catholics said abortion should be legal in all cases, compared to 19 per cent of all Americans and 21 per cent of polled Catholics said abortion should be illegal in all cases, compared to 16 percent of all Americans.

The survey also found that Catholic women support same-sex marriage 72 to 22 per cent, while Catholic men were more divided at 49 to 40 per cent. It also found that 60 per cent of polled US Catholics support the ordination of women priests while 30 per cent oppose it.

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