Many saw him in person, watched papal events and his funeral, and remember his visits
As Catholics around the world prepare for the beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1, 2011. Americans overwhelmingly say they admire him, still remember much of his pontificate, and overwhelmingly agree that he is worthy of beatification, according to a new Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll. For Pope John Paul, who visited America seven times, the fondness among American Catholics is unmistakable. Some of the survey’s key findings include:
• 78% of Americans – along with 95 percent of Catholics and 98 percent of practicing Catholics – admire Pope John Paul II at least somewhat, with strong majorities of each demographic admiring him a great deal or a good amount (55 percent, 82 percent and 89 percent, respectively).
• Nearly three out of four Americans (74 percent) believe that Pope John Paul II is a good candidate for the honor of beatification. So do 9 in 10 Catholics (90 percent) and an even greater number of practicing Catholics (94 percent).
• About six in 10 Americans (59 percent) believe that Pope John Paul II was one of the best or the best Pope in Church history. Among Catholics this view grows to more than 8 in 10 (82 percent of Catholics and 87 percent of practicing Catholics).
• A large number of Americans (40 percent) – along with 65 percent of Catholics and 71 percent of practicing Catholics – remember watching one of John Paul II’s televised Masses or events.
• Nearly two-thirds of Americans remember his trips to the United States, and almost half (46 percent) watched his funeral in 2005 – a number that includes more than two-thirds of Catholics (68 percent) and almost three-quarters of practicing Catholics (73 percent).
• More than four in 10 Americans report that Pope John Paul II made at least some difference in their life spiritually. Among Catholics nearly three-quarters felt he had some spiritual impact on their lives (73 percent), as did nearly 9 in 10 practicing Catholics (87 percent).
Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who worked closely with Pope John Paul II during his life and founded and oversees the American session of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, said, “It is not surprising that the American people – to whom Pope John Paul II reached out so directly so many times – think it fitting that he is declared ‘blessed.’ Pope John Paul II was a truly historic pope. He visited more than a dozen American cities during the course of his pontificate, and clearly left a meaningful mark on the minds and spirituality of the American people and especially Catholic Americans.”
This national survey of 1,274 adults was conducted from April 10 through April 14, 2011 by telephone and included both landline and cell phone households. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points for Americans and +/- 5.5 percentage points for Catholics. The error margin may increase for results among subgroups.