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Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: Poll Finds Catholics Love Pope; Mixed On Issues

By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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BOSTON (CBS) – It hasn’t even been a year since we were in Vatican City for the selection of the new pope and he’s already had a remarkable impact. Certainly on Catholics’ impressions of the church.

And that impact is underscored in a new survey conducted for Spanish-language TV network Univision. It polled thousands of Catholics all over the world, from Africa to Europe to the U.S.

It finds a remarkable 87-percent believe Pope Francis is doing a good or excellent job.

Just imagine a politician with that kind of approval rating.

But we have to separate the man from the message to find the whole story. Because while this Pope has done an amazing job connecting with people and making them feel good about themselves and their religion, he also finds himself at odds with many of his followers on some of the most controversial issues facing the church.

Gay marriage sits at the top of that list.

And feelings vary depending on where you look. In Africa, opposition is overwhelming, while same sex marriage is supported by about 60-percent of Catholics in the U.S.

Another big one is contraception. And how things have changed. 78-percent of Catholics now approve even though the church hasn’t budged on the issue.

Which begs the question – will the Pope maintain such high approval ratings as more progressive Catholics come to grips with the fact that a softer tone does not necessarily mean a change in doctrine?

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz

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