Survey finds 83% Italians approve of Pope Francis

Two-thirds see Benedict XVI's resignation as courageous

Survey finds 83% Italians approve of Pope Francis

Rome, March 20 - The new pope's approval rating among Italians is 83% and confidence in the Catholic Church is on the rise, according to a poll released Wednesday conducted by Italian research group Demopolis. Among 802 people interviewed, 95% of Catholics showed confidence in Pope Francis just days after his election, while 60% of non-Catholics and non-religious Italians approved of him - a record surpassed only by Pope John Paul II during some periods of his pontificate. "What struck Christians and non-believers most...(was) the simplicity of the new pope, his spontaneity and (use of) language close to the people," said Demopolis Director Pietro Vento, who added that these qualities were "highlighted by two thirds of the Italians interviewed". "For 65%, also the attention shown for the weakest in his first words" were important, Vento continued. Two-thirds of Italians are also increasingly convinced that Benedict XVI's resignation was a courageous and revolutionary act for the history of the Church.

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