.- Both American Catholics and their non-Catholic countrymen have an “overwhelmingly” favorable view of Pope Benedict XVI, a new poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus says.
About 78 percent of practicing Catholics had a favorable or very favorable view of Pope Benedict. Non-practicing Catholics were only slightly less likely to profess a favorable view. Among all Americans, about 59 percent had a favorable or very favorable view of the pontiff.
The poll was conducted in late March by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion and the Knights of Columbus. It surveyed 2,078 Americans including 521 American Catholics. It claims a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent concerning responses from all Americans and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent for Catholic respondents.
According to the survey results, about 65 percent of Americans in general and 85 percent of Catholic Americans said they had a favorable view of the Catholic Church. Of practicing Catholics, 92 percent had a favorable view of the Church while only 73 percent of non-practicing Catholics did.
The poll reported that about half of Americans said they would like to hear Pope Benedict XVI on issues like abortion and stem cell research, while 57 percent wanted to hear his views on marriage and the family.
Supreme Knight of Columbus Carl A. Anderson, commenting in an column for Zenit news agency, said the positive responses were “a great testament to the Pope’s ability to communicate the Gospel directly to people.”
“It is an unswerving commitment to the truth -- and the ability through his own prayerfulness to introduce people to Jesus Christ -- that has made Benedict XVI a beacon of moral courage whose message the American people and people worldwide respect and wish to hear. We might call it a triumph of truth over television,” he wrote.