Thursday marks one year since Pope Francis was elected to the papacy — a year in which the former Argentine archbishop’s tone and approach raised expectations of change in the church’s direction.
There’s little question that, after a year, he’s extremely popular – at least in the United States, where the pope is seen favorably by the vast majority of Catholics and even 60% of non-Catholics. A strong majority of American Catholics (71%) say that Francis represents a major change for the church, and among those, nearly all (68% of U.S. Catholics overall) call him a change for the better.
Many Catholics would like to see changes on specific church teachings, and some family issues (including contraception) will be discussed at an upcoming synod this fall. But they are less certain that those changes will happen, even under Francis.
Roughly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics (77%) say the church should allow birth control, while solid majorities also say the Vatican should permit priests to get married (72%) and female priests (68%). Half (50%) say the church should recognize same-sex marriages.
Read more here http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/03/12/u-s-catholics-more-hopeful-than-expectant-of-changes-to-church-teachings/