Sex abuse scandal sends Pope’s approval among US Catholics to new lows

By Eliott C. McLaughlin

Pope Francis, once considered a rock star among American Catholics, appears to be losing some of his shine.

According to a poll from the Pew Research Center, the Pope’s popularity is taking a hit as Catholics — especially those who regularly attend Mass — frown on his handling of the sex abuse scandal plaguing the church.

Overall, 72% of Catholics in the United States view Francis in either a very or mostly favorable light — down from 84% in January — but when asked specifically about how he’s addressed sex abuse in the church, the numbers have been on a precipitous decline.

In February 2014, more than seven in 10 Catholics who attended Mass weekly said they were pleased with Francis’ handling of the scandal, but in the September Pew survey, only 34% approved.

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