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His Vatican reforms, teachings on helping the poor and emphasis on humility have made Pope Francis a popular figure, but a new poll has found that little has changed when it comes to actual behavior of the Catholic Church at large.

The Pew Research Center poll found that while 85 percent of American Catholics have a favorable view of Pope Francis, there has been no discernible rise in the number of Catholics who attend mass or confession. Even the overall number of people who identify as Catholic has remained pretty flat. Read More

 

This week's podcast features two of our favorite people - Don Miller & Bob Goff - talking to each other! Also, we Skype in our Internet correspondent, Jon Acuff, bring you the week's news and entertainment, recap your desert island feedback and much more ... Read More

 

A new Pew Research Center poll has found that a majority of American Catholics believe Pope Francis is ushering in positive changes for the Church, but he hasn’t actually caused them to change their behavior. About 85% of Catholic polled have a favorable opinion of the leader, with 71% saying his shift in Vatican direction is improving things for the Church. However, when it comes to actually expressing their faith—through attending mass, going to confession or volunteering—little has changed. Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior analyst at The National Catholic Reporter told The New York Times that though the numbers aren’t exactly positive, the fact the church isn’t losing members could be an indication of Pope Francis’ positive influence: “This could be interpreted as showing that Francis has had no impact. On the other hand, since church attendance has been declining since the 1950s, the fact that it did not go down could be considered a victory” ... Discuss

 
How Pope Francis is bridging one of the world's most ancient divides Read More
 

In his first New Years Day message since becoming the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis challenged Christians and non-Christians alike to work together to end international conflicts. Speaking to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, he said,

We are all children of one heavenly father. We belong to the same human family and we share a common destiny. This brings a responsibility for each to work so that the world becomes a community of brothers who respect each other, accept each other in one's diversity, and take care of one another.

For the Catholic Church, New Year's Day is traditionally dedicated to the promotion of world peace, but Pope Francis’ message echoed recent calls to work together to help those that are displaced by violence and wars. The message followed a massive peace march, in which thousands of people demonstrated the common message of ending global conflicts as they walked together to the Vatican. According to USA Today, several Syrians, who waved the flag of their war-torn country, were among those in the crowd ... Discuss