Rome

Pope Francis popular with four out of five Italians

Priest sex abuse dwindles as concern, says survey

Pope Francis popular with four out of five Italians

Rome, April 12 - The pope's popularity extends to Catholics and non-Catholics alike in Italy, according a new poll Friday that shows four out of five Italians view Francis favorably. Fully 92% of Catholics told pollsters IPR Marketing that they found Francis to be close to the faithful, humble, determined, appealing to the young, authoritative, and sincere. About 77% of non-Catholics expressed similar positive opinions. Although 60% of Italians polled say they want the newly elected pontiff to give top priority to dealing with sexual abuse by priests, that number has fallen from one month ago, according to a survey released Friday. Last month, as many as 67% wanted the new pope to deal with the long-standing problem of priest pedophilia, said the opinion poll, which surveyed the opinions of 1,000 Italians. Francis is also proving to be something of a draw to the pews, with 13% of Catholics saying they were attending mass more often because of his appeal. Another 81% of Catholics said his presence made no difference on their Mass attendance.

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