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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.

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Nov. 12, 2012

Catholics’ Views of U.S. Bishops

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will meet in Baltimore for their annual Fall General Assembly on Nov. 12-15. Seven-in-ten Catholics say they are very (24%) or somewhat satisfied (46%) with the leadership of the American bishops, according to a Pew Research Center Survey.

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Oct. 11, 2012

The Catholic “Swing” Vote

Catholics are often identified as a major “swing” voting group in American politics. A new analysis shows that the only group of Catholics that has been divided in recent elections is white Catholics who identify as political moderates.

Aug. 6, 2012

Catholics’ Views on U.S. Nuns

On Aug. 7, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization that represents U.S. nuns, will meet in St. Louis to discuss how to respond to recent criticism from the Vatican, the Associated Press reports. A Pew Research Center survey finds that eight-in-ten American Catholics (83%) are satisfied with the leadership provided by Catholic nuns and sisters.

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Aug. 1, 2012

Catholics Share Bishops’ Concerns about Religious Liberty

A new survey report finds that Catholics who are aware of U.S. bishops’ concerns about restrictions on religious liberty generally agree with the bishops’ concerns. Yet there are no significant differences in the presidential vote preferences between Catholic voters who have heard about the bishops’ protests and those who have not.

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Mar. 1, 2012

Catholics in Mexico and Cuba

Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Latin America March 23-28 for a much-anticipated visit to Mexico and Cuba. An infographic based on data from a 2011 demographic study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life explores information on Catholics in Latin America, with a particular focus on the Catholic population in Mexico and Cuba.