A new Pew Research Center survey showed shifting opinions among US Catholics regarding Pope Francis, with a significant divide along partisan lines.

The study, conducted from February 13-25, involved 2,019 Catholic respondents and indicates a decline in favorability, with 75% viewing the Pope favorably, down from 83% in 2021.

The survey shows a deepening partisan split, with 89% of Democrats expressing a favorable view of Pope Francis, compared to only 63% of Republicans. This marks one of the largest gaps since Francis’s pontificate began in March 2013. Initially, Republican approval was higher than that of Democrats, but recent years have seen a reversal.

Despite the overall high approval ratings, the Pope’s approach to various issues, including capitalism, climate change, and social inclusiveness, appears to resonate differently across the political spectrum. About 70% of all Catholic respondents see him as an agent of change within the Church.

The survey also explored attitudes toward several proposed reforms within the Church. A majority supports the Church allowing the use of contraception, permitting priests to marry, and ordaining women.

There is also notable support for the Church to recognize same-sex marriages, although this is significantly more polarized, with 72% of Democratic-leaning Catholics in favor compared to 36% of Republican-leaning Catholics.

Editorial credit: AM113 / Shutterstock.com
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