A new survey conducted by the Knights of Columbus shows that both Catholic and non-Catholic U.S. residents overwhelmingly admire Pope John Paul II and believe that his upcoming May 1 beatification is a fitting recognition of his life and work.
“It is not surprising that the American people – to whom Pope John Paul II reached out so directly so many times – think it fitting that he is declared ‘blessed,’” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, head of the Catholic fraternal and charitable organization.
The Knights' survey, a collaboration with the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, questioned 1,274 adults and differentiated between non-Catholics and practicing Catholics.
The poll showed that 78 percent of Americans, and 98 percent of Catholics, have at least some admiration for Pope John Paul. Majorities of each demographic – 55 percent of all Americans, and 82 percent of all Catholics – said they had a “great deal” or “good amount” of admiration for his achievements as Pope.
Nearly 6 in 10 Americans, and more than 80 percent of Catholics, said they considered Pope John Paul to have been among the best Popes in the history of the Church.
Three-quarters of Americans agreed that he deserved the Church's honor of beatification, the last step before sainthood, a view shared by 90 percent of all Catholics and 94 percent of those who currently practice their faith.
More than 40 percent of all Americans, and 87 percent of Catholics, said that the soon-to-be-beatified Pope had some impact on their spiritual lives. Nearly two-thirds of all Americans remember his various trips to the United States, and 46 percent of them watched the broadcast of his funeral in 2005.
“Pope John Paul II was a truly historic pope,” said Anderson, who worked closely with the late Pope during his lifetime and helped establish the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C. “He visited more than a dozen American cities during the course of his pontificate, and clearly left a meaningful mark on the minds and spirituality of the American people.”
The late Pope, currently known as “Venerable John Paul II,” will be beatified on May 1. A delegation from the Knights of Columbus, including Supreme Knight Anderson, will travel to Rome for the ceremony, carrying a collection of letters written by young admirers to Pope John Paul’s tomb.