An AoftheA Public Service Announcement Regarding Papal Approval Polls

An AoftheA Public Service Announcement Regarding Papal Approval Polls March 12, 2015

A kind and gracious reader left the following comment at my “How to Write a Click-Bait Headline!” post, that bears additional commentary:

“Yes the world does love him [ed:Pope Francis]. Latest stats if they are correct say 80% of American Catholics love him. Wonder if they are all Church going Catholics? And I wonder what percentage actually knows their faith? Just sayin.”

This was a reply to a comment left by another kind and gracious reader, who, in part, wrote:

“…That Pope Francis; what a whacky guy. The fact he’s so popular in today’s world should be your first tipoff something’s very very wrong.”

Polls are funny things. Results can be interpreted through any filter or lens you want to use to attempt to prove your point. Folks out there who dislike Pope Francis, for instance, point to such numbers and say, hey man – Luke 6:26!!

Well then.

Here’s an article from Feb 2013, a week before Pope Emeritus Benedict’s abdication. It’s from the Catholic News Agency:

As the Feb. 28 resignation of Pope Benedict XVI approaches, the vast majority of U.S. Catholics have a favorable view of the pontiff, and the majority support traditional Catholic teaching as well.

According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center, 74 percent of U.S. Catholics “express a favorable view of the pope.”

This rating is similar to that March 2008, when about three in four Catholics held a “very” or “mostly” favorable opinion of the Pope shortly before his visit to the U.S.

Pope Benedict has been regarded favorably throughout his entire papacy, with approval ratings among U.S. Catholics ranging from 67-83 percent.

Golly, that Pope Benedict was awfully popular amongst American Catholics, wasn’t he? Wow. Must be a tipoff that something was very very wrong.

Here’s the thing: Don’t listen to polls. Most polls are stupid. Polls about papal approval numbers are always stupid.

But most of all, don’t listen to people who listen to polls, either. Just sayin.


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  • I worry about the popularity of Pope Francis’s off the cuff remarks at 30,000 feet, that seem to be outside of church teaching. But other than that, he seems right in line with where St. John Paul II was in 1980.