Liberals, Moderates and Conservative Catholics All See Pope Francis as Aligned with their Politics,
Majority See Catholic Church as Out of Touch and Far to the Right

Pope Francis is an adept political maverick. In just two years, the Vatican’s unorthodox leader has mobilized the most devout and adherent in his American flock and also moved those not regularly in the pews. His championing of the poor, prisoners, immigrants, women and the environment as well as his compassion for the LGBTQ community have been positively received by American Catholics.  He wears the ceremonious trappings of the Vatican but is viewed as an independent maverick untouched by the negative perceptions of Rome.

A new Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into the Complex Catholic reveals that when Pontifex touches down on US soil this week, he will be welcomed by a complex congregation of American Catholics more closely aligned with his teachings than the Vatican he represents. Huge majorities of American Catholics believe that you can be a “good Catholic” and be divorced, use birth control, marry someone of the same sex, have had an abortion and support women priests and stricter immigration laws.

The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into the Complex Catholic, the groundbreaking new poll from Shriver Media conducted by Democratic polling firm, Hart Research Associates and Republican polling firm, Echelon Insights, took the temperature of 1,000 American Catholics and shows that nearly half believe that Pope Francis is both an influential religious and political leader. Check out the highlights in the infographic below, or download the key findings or press release.

“Pope Francis ditched the Prada slippers and lush Vatican living and urged acceptance of otherwise marginalized groups. He has captured our hearts, minds and headlines. Our Snapshot reveals a new brand of world leader who gracefully connects with a politically and dogmatically divided electorate. Our poll shows a highly complex American congregation hungry for an independent maverick whose teachings reflect their own modern values.”

Maria Shriver

founder of Shriver Media and creator of the Shriver Report Project


of American support Pope Francis’s emphasis on helping the poor and the environment over social issues such as gay marriage and abortion.


of American Catholics say the Church is out of touch with their social and cultural values.


of Catholics in this country believes that a Catholic president would be first beholden to the Vatican then the will of Americans.

From Maria Shriver and Joan Chittister