State Legislation Restricting Use of Foreign or Religious Law
On Monday, the Oklahoma Senate passed a bill intended to prevent the use of foreign law in state courts. The bill contains language from model legislation designed to limit the use of sharia, or Islamic law. A new interactive map details similar bills introduced or enacted in 32 states between 2010 and 2012.
U.S. Catholics Express Favorable View of Pope Francis
In the early days of Pope Francis’ papacy, more than eight-in-ten U.S. Catholics (84%) say they have a favorable impression of the new pontiff, including 43% who express a very favorable view.
U.S. Christians’ Views on the Return of Christ
Easter is one of the most important religious holidays of the year for many Christians – a time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to a 2010 Pew Research Center survey, roughly half (48%) of Christians in the U.S. say they believe that Christ will definitely (27%) or probably (20%) return to earth in the next 40 years. Somewhat fewer (38%) say this definitely will not happen (10%) or probably will not happen (28%).
Israel and the U.S. are Home to More Than Four-Fifths of the World’s Jews
U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Middle East from March 20-23. He will spend much of the time in Israel, home to 41% of the world’s Jews. Another 41% of the world’s Jewish population lives in the United States, according to Pew Research Center estimates.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.