Poll finds strong approval for Pope Benedict, Catholic tradition

As the Feb. 28 resignation of Pope Benedict XVI approaches, the vast majority of U.S. Catholics have a favorable view of the pontiff, and the majority support traditional Catholic teaching as well.

According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center, 74 percent of U.S. Catholics “express a favorable view of the pope.”

This rating is similar to that March 2008, when about three in four Catholics held a “very” or “mostly” favorable opinion of the Pope shortly before his visit to the U.S.

Pope Benedict has been regarded favorably throughout his entire papacy, with approval ratings among U.S. Catholics ranging from 67-83 percent.