Poll: Pope Has Shifted Catholics’ Perception, but Not Actions

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” …

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