Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015

Pope very popular in United States, but no 'Francis effect': Poll

Published on Mar 6, 2014 1:19 PM
Pope Francis holds his weekly general audience at St Peter's Square in Vatican city on March 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One year after his election, Pope Francis is "immensely popular among American Catholics", a survey said on Thursday, but there is no sign of a "Francis effect" inspiring more to attend Mass or do volunteer work.

The Washington-based Pew Research Centre said 85 per cent of Catholics in the United States viewed the Argentine-born pontiff favourably, with 51 per cent reporting a "very favourable" view of him, while only 4 per cent expressed a negative opinion.

Among Catholics, 68 per cent thought he represented "a major change for the better", a view shared by 51 per cent of the non-Catholics responding to the poll in telephone interviews of 1,340 Americans from Feb. 14 to 23.

But the poll also found the rock-star status of the Pope, whose simple style has attracted record crowds to the Vatican and won Time magazine's Man of the Year title for 2013, has not clearly translated into greater lay participation in the church since his surprise election on March 13, 2013.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!