Compared with previous Pew studies on his predecessors, Francis' favorability ratings surpass any of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's and approach those of St. John Paul II in the 1980s and 1990s.
Despite the increase in negative views of the Holy Father, the vast majority of American Catholics still deemed the Pope "humble" (91 percent) and "compassionate" (94 percent).
On the role of women in the Catholic Church, McAleese said: "There are so few leadership roles now available to women".
At that time, there was no noticeable difference between the share of Catholic Republicans (90 percent) and Democrats (87 percent) who indicated a favorable view of Francis. Among the USA public as a whole (including both Catholics and non-Catholics), roughly six-in-ten say they have a favorable view of Pope Francis, which is on par with the share of Americans who gave Francis a favorable rating in the early summer of 2015 (just before his visit to the U.S.), and slightly below the peak of 70% who rated him favorably in February 2015 and again in early 2017.
But there are caveats and a sign that his agenda is splitting Catholics on the right. U.S. Catholic bishops have advocated for such measures for decades and will continue to do so, said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education. Nine percent of white evangelicals were unfavourable toward Pope Francis when he was chosen Pope in 2013.
Roman Catholic women led by former Irish president Mary McAleese sought a greater decision-making role for women in the Church on Thursday, urging Pope Francis to tear down its "walls of misogyny".
"Most Catholics seem to approve of Francis' actions in these areas", Pew stated.
In the teaching of Pope Francis, Rowlands said, responsibility for the failure to welcome migrants and refugees does not lie with political leaders alone, but with civil society and all its members who have lost the sense of responsibility for each other that makes a society truly civil.
Pope Francis has refused to attend the Voices of Faith meeting or to celebrate mass for those attending. And 55 percent say he is doing an "excellent" or "good" job addressing environmental issues.
Similarly, one-third of Catholic Republicans now say Francis is "naïve", up from 16 percent held this view in 2015.
Twenty-two percent of Americans identified as Catholic in 2012, before Francis' election, and 20% did the same in 2017, a statistically negligible slip. But a plurality said they didn't know or wouldn't answer the question (29%).