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Pope Francis gains 87% approval rating in Italian poll

Confidence in Church hits 50%, highest level in six years

12 March, 15:16
Pope Francis gains 87% approval rating in Italian poll (ANSA) - Rome, March 12 - Fully 87% of Italians surveyed said they approve of the work of Pope Francis, according to an opinion poll released shortly before the pontiff celebrates the first anniversary of his election.

The survey by the private Eurispes institute found support for Francis has given a new impetus to the Catholic Church with 87.1% saying they approve of his work, compared with 4.5% who said they were skeptical and 8.4% undecided.

Women were slightly more confident, with 91% saying they felt Francis was giving the Church a boost, compared to 82.9% of men expressing that opinion.

Approval ratings were also high across marital status with 90% of married people expressing support for Francis, compared with 82.6% of divorced Italians and 82.3% of single people.

The agency also found that almost 50% of people surveyed said that confidence in the Church is rising, the highest level since Eurispes, which analyzes politics, the economy and society in Italy, began these surveys six years ago.

Findings on ethical issues suggested many Catholics differ from the official Church stance on certain social issues.

It found that 88.4% of Catholics supported the use of controversial stem cells for medical treatment, almost 82% approved of divorce, and a majority - 58.7% - said they approved of use of an abortion pill.

As well, 74.4% approved of artificial insemination for couples wanting children; 56.8% supported gay marriage and almost 72% said that gay couples should be allowed to adopt.