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Benedict XVI leaves as popular pope, but no John Paul II


Merlin_12104344(Washington Post) Pope Benedict XVI steps down with an uptick in personal popularity and wide support for his decision to retire, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. But Benedict leaves his position less well-liked than his predecessor or the Roman Catholic Church overall, a sign that his own brand failed to take flight as did Pope John Paul II’s.

About three-quarters of Catholics (76 percent) and a smaller majority of all Americans (54 percent) view Benedict favorably, both numbers up slightly from a 2008 survey. Only 14 percent of Catholics and 27 percent of the overall public rates the pontiff unfavorably.

While positive, Benedict’s ratings stand 13 points below those of John Paul II during his final month as pope, when 67 percent of Americans and 87 percent of Catholics saw him favorably. Among non-Catholics, Benedict’s ratings are 14 points lower than his predecessor.

Benedict also receives fewer positive marks than the Catholic Church itself, which is seen favorably by 62 percent of Americans. John Paul II, by contrast, was more popular than the church he led.

Benedict’s tenure has been dogged by long-running criticism of the way the Catholic Church dealt with allegations of sexual abuse by priests. In 2008, more than seven in 10 Americans in a Post-ABC poll — including Catholics — disapproved of the church’s handling of the issue.

In the new poll, more than six in 10 (64 percent) see Benedict’s decision to step down in a favorable light, while just 23 percent view it unfavorably. But the sentiment appears more well-wishing than not: Two-thirds of those endorsing his retirement also report positive ratings of the pope himself. [More]


The Washington Post



  1. Lou says:

    You would,wouldn’t you Tony. I guess you’re in the 27%. Times are changing and the younger generation is looking for a more traditional direction, not the free for all that’s plagued the church for the past 50 years. The progressives in the church are running scared because they’re losing their hold on the church and they don’t know what to do about it. Too bad! I have waited for many years for the church to come back to it’s senses and get rid of the trash that’s been thrown at us since Vatican II. I love the Council and the Documents, but the liberal leadership which came in afterwards and ripped down High Altars, threw out statues and beautiful works of art, got rid of the beautiful Gregorian Chants and other classic Catholic Hymns, got rid of devotions and especially Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, threw out beautifully made Mass Vestments for Denim Stoles and Chasubles with butterflies and squires on them, I could go on and on naming the trash that I and many others had to contend with from those doing these things in the name of Vatican II. I recently went to a
    celebration of the the Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Though I like the Vatican Reform, I couldn’t help but to think, “What happened to our Liturgy?” Vatican II didn’t call for the stupidity which many priests offered in the name of Vatican II. Also, if you want Women and Gay priests, go to the Episcopalians. They’ll ordain anything. Sorry for the rant Lord. I’ll do penance later.

    • Concerned says:

      Lou – you are living in the 70′s – that’s when those things happened, and they did not happen everywhere. But the truth is that Beneic and the hierarchy have taken to reinterpreting the documents of Vatican II for thir own agenda – the truth lies in the middle not the extremes of any side – bbut the hierarchy has done a very bad job of making teh Church relevant – there is no more room for do this “simply because I say so.” The world is past that point. If they don’t make the church real – it will continue to go downhill. Reality is not in the past – it is in the present – someplace that the current hierarchy refuses to visit.

      • Ann says:

        Well said Concerned. Lou longs for some ecclesial, other-worldly past; the world today needs a church that responds to lives in the present. The problem is Lou’s longing for the past, not the church’s attempt to proclaim the Good News in the present. Lou can find the traditional church in many forms of spirituality but he should not attempt to foist his view of church on all of society. We all long for a church in conformity with our own vision of holiness and justice (women have been waiting for centuries) but we compromise, pray, and move with the “sensus fidelium.” Lou has to do it too.

  2. Tony says:

    I enthusiasticly approve of Benetict’s decision to abdicate.


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