A survey conducted between March 28th and 31st of 1,001 Americans reveals that Pope Francis has made a huge first impression in the United States.
Eighty-four percent of US Catholics gave Pope Francis a favorable rating with 43 percent giving him a very favorable rating in Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s survey. In 2005, “retired” Pope Benedict only received a favorable view from 67 percent of US Catholics.
Unfortunately for Pope Francis these numbers don't mean much yet just being a few weeks into his papacy. However, Pope Francis could not be off to a better start.
Former editor of the Jesuit magazine 'America' and Vatican expert Thomas Reese pointed out, "Young people are attracted to action for justice. They see that in Francis and they see he is authentic."
Reese went on to explain the approval ratings may decline when addressing question like, “What will Francis do about last year's controversial crackdown on the leadership of U.S. nuns? Will he continue Benedict's tight watch on theologians? What qualities will he look for in the bishops he names? Can he bring transparency, efficiency and integrity to the bureaucracy of the church, known as the Curia?”
Reese sees Pope Francis has the ability to inspire and that he could be a much needed gleam of light for the darkness presently surrounding the Catholic Church.
He explains, "Francis sees that ‘churchy-ness’ gets between people and Jesus. If he can make a change in the culture of the church, he can make a tremendous difference."
Pope Francis will hope he can keep his good image like Pope John Paul II who was able to keep an approval rating of 91 to 93 percent between 1987 and 1996.