Since Pope Francis, more Catholics say the church is in touch

One year into Pope Francis’ papacy, Catholics appear to be feeling more of a connection to their church than in the recent past. For the first time in CBS News polling, more Catholics now say that the Catholic Church is in touch with the needs of Catholics (48 percent) than say it is out of touch (43 percent).

Last year, before Pope Francis became Pope, a majority of Catholics (53 percent) said the church was out of touch. Catholics were more divided (47 percent “in touch”, 47 percent “out of touch”) in their views back in 1995.

There are some differences within the Catholic community. Most who attend religious services weekly or nearly every week think the church is in touch with the needs of Catholics, but Catholics who go to church less often are more divided: 47 percent say the Catholic Church is out of touch, while 42 percent think it is in touch.

President Obama and Pope Francis met at the Vatican Thursday, and when Americans are asked which of the two leaders they would most like to meet, 49 percent pick President Obama, and 43 percent choose Pope Francis. By a nearly two to one margin, Catholics pick Pope Francis.

Politics plays some role here: most Republicans (70 percent) would prefer to meet the Pope, while Democrats (73 percent) would rather meet the president.

*This poll was conducted by telephone March 20-23, 2014 among a total of 1,097 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. *

The poll included a general population sample of 1,007, plus 90 additional interviews with Catholics, for a total of 271 interviews with Catholics. The additional interviews were obtained through callbacks to people indicating they are Catholic on a previous poll. The total sample included a weight for Catholics using a target from the general population portion of the poll. The margin of error for Catholics is 8 points. The error for subgroups may be higher. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

*Margin of error: 3 points for total sample, *8 points for sample of Catholics

Just wondering to myself…

Do they really feel like the Church is more in touch because of what he said or because of what the news reorted that he said, or the spin put on his comments by many who wish to see the Church back down on many of its positions on gay marriage, divorced and remarried Catholics, etc.

I too love what the Pope has preached. He seems to be a man of great faith and great compassion for the poor. I think people should feel he is in touch with their needs. I’m just not sure they are basing it on reality. We are too quick to pull out a snippet of his words and derive all sorts of meanings from it. For example,

“Who am I to judge a gay person?”

“And I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being.”

“The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. "

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time."

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. "

“Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”

From the Huffington Post: Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics

From The Blaze: Pope Francis Reportedly Hints That Catholic Church Could Tolerate Some Gay Civil Unions

“Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. The church cannot be herself without the woman and her role. The woman is essential for the church. Mary, a woman, is more important than the bishops.”

These and other headlines and statements are easily misunderstood and easily misinterpreted.

But not one of his statements is theologically wrong.

I would say that Pope Francis is trying to take the Church in a direction that is more in touch, and I loved Pope Benedict and I am not mis-reading Pope Francis’ words at all. I think most people are smart enough to understand that theology isn’t changing, but they do think that he is more ‘Christian’ than his predecessors. It isn’t a fair analysis, but there is a lot of good that can come out of it. As my ex-husband used to say, ‘Perception is reality.’

I would have said the same thing a few months ago, but since Pope Francis hasn’t “changed doctrine” in the past year, the liberal media and Catholics are starting to realize that he is orthodox. So, it could be that it is because of his pastoral style, not because “he is going to change doctrine.” :thumbsup:

Rather than the Church being in touch with them, I wonder how many Catholics are more in touch with the church since he became Pope?

In other news, people who claim to like the Church more now that we have Pope Francis still don’t come to Church.

It basically shows that people are all talk.

I find the notion that a person’s personality is going to change the hearts of men who have turned away from THE EUCHARIST quite laughable. If they can reject the most powerful force on earth, I have no doubt they can reject any of us, including Pope Francis.

“Margin of error: 3 points for total sample, 8 points for sample of Catholics”

:shrug: The margin of error is greater than the reported difference in before and after results. How does this make news?

More in touch.

Does that mean they think the Church is caving in to personal demands? :confused:


This “in touch” or “out of touch” talk is something I’d expect when asked about my State Representative or Congressman. I don’t expect the Pope to be “in touch” with my feelings in the sense that people think about it. The Church is not a democracy yet we keep polling people on these democratic-like questions. I expect the Pope to lead me. As a leader, it helps if he “has the pulse” of the people, so to speak. If he understands me /us and has a sense of where my/our spirituality needs to go, he can do a better job providing those needs. But I don’t expect him to be “in touch” with me like a politician - i.e. cater to me to get my vote.

Just my two cents,




Pope Benedict really did a lot to open my eyes to the beauty of Christianity. It makes me sad that his person gets maligned, but causes my estimation of him to rise all the more. I think people who like Pope Francis and aren’t too familiar with Benedict’s work might be pleasantly surprised upon delving more deeply into it!

So…if the church is now more in touch with the “needs” of Catholics, why doesn’t the article articulate these needs?

I believe Pope Francis is a very good Pope and I hope he will stay for a long period of time. He is humble and adds more to the religion. Might it not only be for him that these things change then it is at least partially. His words touched me and together what is written in the bible I feel a bigger motivation then before to go to church and follow my religion !

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