WASHINGTON, D.C. – What has been Pope Francis’s most notable action so far in his papacy?
A group of some 300 U.S. Catholics was recently asked this question in a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, drawing a multitude of responses.
Participants were asked to explain in their own words the most noteworthy thing Francis has accomplished during his past five years as pope, despite their personal opinions of him.
Nine percent said that Francis has set a solid example of humility and overall Christian behavior. Another 9 percent believes he has made the Church more accepting and welcoming.
“He seems to get the idea across that all people are important and worthy of attention and rights,” said one participant, according to Pew Research.
Eight percent noted the pontiff’s particular focus on the poor, while 7 percent said he is noteworthy for his attention towards the LGBT community. Six percent applauded the extent of his global travel, through which he has made himself available to people all around the world. Another 5 percent believes he has united the Catholic community through dialogue.
Other categories receiving 1-4 percent each said that the Holy Father’s most significant action has been environmental care, peacemaking, addressing sex abuse, welcoming the divorced and remarried, spreading the faith, reforming the Vatican, or addressing immigration.
Similarly, 4 percent said the pope’s most notable action was a negative or neutral action, 3 percent said the answer is unclear, and 4 percent said that he has not yet done anything noteworthy.
One participant said that Francis “gets too involved in things that don’t concern the Church,” while another said he is “more liberal than the popes before him.”
The largest group of respondents, 29 percent, declined to answer or did not come up with a response.
Francis marked the fifth year of his pontificate this week, and he continues to receive an overall favorable opinion from U.S. Catholics, at around 84 percent.
The majority of U.S. Catholics, approximately 58 percent, also believe the pope is making major changes to benefit the Church, while around 94 percent view him as compassionate.