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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Religion in Prisons – A 50-State Survey of Prison Chaplains
According to a survey of professional prison chaplains, America’s state penitentiaries are a bustle of religious activity. Chaplains say that efforts by inmates to convert other inmates are common and that at least some religious switching occurs. And chaplains overwhelmingly consider religion-based programming an important aspect of rehabilitating prisoners.