Here is the latest account from the Italian News
Pope’s popularity transcends Catholicism in Italy. Polls reveal more people are drawn to pews since Cardinal Bergoglio became Pope Francis. It seems the popularity of the italo-argentine pontiff dwindled concern about priest sex-abuses scandals.
, April 12 – Ever since he was
named pontiff one month ago and opted to present himself without the
traditional papal red cape trimmed with ermine, Pope Francis has had no
shortage of admirers drawn to his modest, down-to-earth touch. That popularity
extends to Catholics and non-Catholics alike in Vatican City , according to a new poll
Friday that shows four out of five Italians view Francis favorably. Italy
Fully 92% of Catholics told pollsters IPR Marketing that they found Francis to be close to the faithful, humble, determined, appealing to the young, authoritative, and also sincere. About 77% of non-Catholics expressed similar positive opinions.
Although 60% of Italians polled say they want the newly elected pontiff to give top priority to dealing with sexual abuse by priests, that number has fallen from one month ago, according to the survey. Last month, as many as 67% wanted the new pope to deal with the long-standing problem of priest pedophilia, said the opinion poll, which surveyed the opinions of 1,000 Italians.
Opinions may have been swayed by the new face of the Catholic Church, who, unlike his predecessor, is seen as a
Vatican outsider with no direct
involvement in the priest sex-abuse cover-ups. Benedict XVI, who abdicated in
February over “declining physical and mental strength”, had directly overseen
the issue when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith, the Church’s doctrinal watchdog, before becoming pope.
Last week, Francis pledged to maintain the same line of “decisive” action adopted by Benedict in dealing with child sex abuse cases in the Catholic Church. In a meeting with
. Gerhard Ludwig
Muller, who is in charge of paedophilia issues in his role as prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Francis said he would “continue in
the line wanted by Benedict XVI”. Mons
A Vatican statement explained that this meant “acting decisively as regards cases of sexual abuse, promoting measures that protect minors, above all; help for those who have suffered such violence in the past; necessary procedures against those found guilty; (and) the commitment of bishops’ conferences in formulating and implementing the necessary directives in this is area that is so important for the church’s witness and credibility”.
The Catholic Church has been rocked in recent years by a long series of paedophilia scandals, most of which emerged under Benedict’s eight-year papacy, although in many cases the abuse dates back decades and was hidden by the clergy. In cases in countries including the
Ireland, Australia, Netherlands,
Norway, Austria, Germany,
Belgium and ,
the Church was found to have discouraged victims from reporting abuse to the
There were also a number of documented cases of Church authorities moving paedophile priests away from one post to another, where they repeated their crimes with fresh victims. Benedict’s initial response to the scandals was depicted by many as being defensive. The former pope also personally came under fire for allegedly failing to respond properly to several abuse cases when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church’s doctrinal watchdog.
But he became increasingly open about sex abuse, apologised for it and in 2010 he issued new Church instructions on dealing with paedophile priests, making it mandatory for cases to be reported to the police. Benedict also prayed with abuse victims on many of his trips overseas, including to
and . Britain
But the German theologian’s pastoral skills have so far been eclipsed by the warmth of
Latin America’s first pope, who is proving to be
something of a draw to the pews. According to the poll Friday, 13% of Catholics
said they were attending mass more often because of his appeal. All of this
despite virtually no doctrinal differences between him and the pope emeritus. Italy