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Mar. 18, 2013

U.S. Catholics Happy with Selection of Pope Francis

In a new Pew Research Center poll, nearly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics say they are happy with the selection of Pope Francis. But they are divided over how big a change he represents for the church.

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Mar. 18, 2013

Latin America’s Catholics in the Spotlight as Pope Francis is Installed

Latin America’s share of the global Catholic population has increased over the past century, according to Pew Research Center estimates, but the portion of the region’s population that is Catholic has declined.

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Mar. 13, 2013

‘Strong’ Catholic Identity at a Four-Decade Low in U.S.

The percentage of U.S. Catholics with a strong identification with the Catholic Church was as low in 2012 as it has ever been in General Social Surveys. During the same period, the percentage of Protestants who consider themselves strong members of their faith has been rising.

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Mar. 13, 2013

Conclave Elects Pope Francis

Pope Francis was elected on Wednesday as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio hails from Argentina and becomes the first Latin American pontiff. According to Pew Research Center data on the distribution of the world’s Catholic population, the largest share of the Catholic population (39%) lives in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Mar. 13, 2013

Resources on Catholicism and the Pope

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has a variety of resources on Catholicism and Pope Benedict XVI, including public opinion polls, research studies, event transcripts and interviews.

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Mar. 8, 2013

Geography of the Conclave: Where Do the Cardinals Come From?

The conclave to elect the next pope will begin on Tuesday, March 12. Half of the cardinal electors gathering at the Vatican are European (52%), while 17% come from Latin America. Latin America has the largest share of the world’s Catholic population (39%), while 24% of Catholics live in Europe.

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Mar. 6, 2013

U.S. Catholics See Sex Abuse as the Church’s Most Important Problem, Charity as Its Most Important Contribution

U.S. Catholics see the scandal over sex abuse by clergy as the most important problem facing the church today and charitable efforts to aid the poor, feed the hungry and heal the sick as the church’s most important contribution.

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Mar. 5, 2013

During Benedict’s Papacy, Religious Observance Among Catholics in Europe Remained Low but Stable

When Benedict XVI was elected pope in 2005, religious observance among Europeans had been in decline for decades, and he set out to stem the tide of secularization. How successful was he? Pew Research polls indicate that during his papacy, religious observance among Catholics in France, Germany, Spain and Italy remained low but fairly stable.

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Feb. 21, 2013

U.S. Catholics Divided On Church’s Direction Under New Pope

As the pontificate of Benedict XVI winds down, three-quarters of American Catholics express a favorable view of the pontiff. Meanwhile, most U.S. Catholics say it would be good if the next pope allows priests to marry. And fully six-in-ten say it would be good if the next pope hails from a developing region like South America, Asia or Africa.

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Feb. 13, 2013

The Global Catholic Population

Over the past century, the number of Catholics worldwide has more than tripled. But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly from 1910 to 2010. As a result, Catholics have made up a remarkably stable share of all people on Earth, though their geographic distribution has changed substantially.