Pope Francis
Pope Francis AFP

Over three in four Latinos who are Catholic (76%) have a mostly or very favorable view of Pope Francis, a little over the average for all Americans who profess the religion, According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

The poll shows that the figure is slightly higher than that of non-Hispanic Whites (74%) and all U.S. Catholics (75%).

Overall, the image of the Argentine pontiff has dropped by eight percentage points since 2021 and 15 points since his peak in early 2015.

"He generally has been viewed more positively than his immediate predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, but less positively than Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II," wrote the authors of the Pew's research piece.

The partisan gap in terms of views of the Pope has widened significantly over the past years, following a series of changes and statements aimed at making the Catholic Church more inclusive, among them an authorization to bless same-sex couples.

35% of Republicans currently have an unfavorable view of the Pope, compared to 28% in 2018. 63% now have a favorable view of him. In Contrast, Democrats' views improved from 83% to 89% in the same time period, with only 7% having an unfavorable view.

"Regardless of their partisan leanings, most U.S. Catholics regard Francis as an agent of change. Overall, about seven-in-ten say the current pope represents a change in direction for the church, including 42% who say he represents a major change," the survey said.

Most Americans are in favor or more changes in the Catholic Church, including allowing the use of contraception (83%), taking Communion even if unmarried and living with a romantic partner (75%) and allowing priests to get married (69%).

64% also say women should be allowed to become priests and 54% that the marriages of gay and lesbian couples should be recognized.

Latinos are a significant and growing proportion of all U.S. Catholics, representing a third of the total at the moment. Their share has grown by four percentage points since 2007, while Whites' has dropped by eight points.

This is set to change the profile of Catholics in the country, as most (58%) currently are aged 50 and older, 10 percentage points above the figure for all U.S. adults in the survey.

However, Latino Catholics tend to be much younger than White Catholics. "Fewer than half of Hispanic Catholics (43%) are 50 and older, compared with about two-thirds (68%) of White Catholics," reads a passage of the poll. "And just 14% of Hispanic Catholics are ages 65 and older, versus 38% of White Catholics."

As for their education level, 16% of Latino Catholics have a college decree, compared to 39% of White Catholics. 25% have some college experience and 59% have a high school degree or less, a large contrast with White Catholics.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.