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Pope Francis continues to take 'the world by storm'


Students show off an image of Pope Francis at Everest Academy in Lemont, Ill., in April. By mid-December the pope's favorability among U.S. Catholics had reached above the 90 percent mark, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- During the second year of his pontificate, Pope Francis was still feeling the love, and not just from Catholics or those from his homeland of Argentina.

A Pew Research Center study released Dec. 11 showed that the pope has broad support across much of the world. Sixty percent of the 43 nations polled had a positive view of the pontiff.

And Americans, in particular, have shown their fondness for Pope Francis, often extolling his simplistic style. According to the Pew study, 78 percent of Americans view the pope favorably.

Put another way: Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who just completed his first year as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the pope has "taken the world by storm."

He recently told Catholic News Service that 2014 brought worldwide attention to almost everything Pope Francis said and did -- which "in so many ways," he said, made the U.S. bishops' work easier.

And the bishops were not the only ones to recognize the pope's appeal.

The pontiff, who was on the cover of many magazines in 2013, still had the coveted cover spot -- not usually reserved for religious leaders -- on Rolling Stone magazine this February.

He was also the topic of a number of books issued this year and innumerable Catholic discussions either during coffee and doughnut socials after Masses or larger-scale symposiums at Catholic universities.

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