New Survey Says Majority of US Catholics Pleased with Selection of Pope Francis; Faith-based Website, Followme.org, Says Selection Has Implications for All of Christendom

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Selection of the first Jesuit and Latin American pope represents a shift in ministry focus toward the world's poor and marginalized populations, says faith-based followme.org. Christians worldwide can follow the Catholic Church's "bold step of humility and service."

The more global, inter-cultural, and diverse the Church forces itself to become, the greater the chances for world-changing service opportunities.

"If the Church worldwide is in decline, it is so because the Church fails to reach outside of its walls. Hopefully, Francis' selection signals Christendom's embrace of global ministry," says followme.org.

That statement came today as a new survey from the Pew Research Forum shows the majority of US Catholics support the selection of Pope Francis to Catholicism's highest appointment, according to the Pew Research Forum.

According to the survey released Monday, 73 percent of US Catholics say they are happy with Francis' selection, and 31 percent say they are very happy. Only 2 percent say they are unhappy about the current pope, leaving 25 percent who do not yet have an opinion, the Pew report states.

The Pew national survey examined the opinions of 1,501 adults (325 of which were Catholic) in the week after Francis' selection as pontiff.

But what do these American Catholics say that the new pope needs to focus the Catholic Church's attention on? Seventy percent believe that addressing the Church's sex abuse scandal should be a "top priority," the Pew study states. Interestingly, this view is held by Catholics of varying degrees of devoutness, ranging from those attending Mass only occasionally to those attending Mass at least once a week.

So how pleased will US Catholics be with Francis' handling of that scandal? One faith-based website, followme.org, says that the selection of Francis represents the Catholic Church's commitment to a slightly different agenda: that of ministering to the world's poor and marginalized populations. Followme.org provides online resources and counseling to visitors in a variety of difficult life stages, ranging from depression to grief to contemplating suicide. Its leader says that the Christian Church worldwide can learn from the Catholics' shift toward global outreach.

"Pope Francis is the first Jesuit, from an order of priests that are committed to serving the poor. Pope Francis is the first Latin American pope, from a region intimately familiar with extreme poverty. Pope Francis chose to be named after St. Francis, a Church father known for his humility and service. Pope Francis seems to understand better than most the pressing need to heed Jesus' call to serve the 'least of these,'" says Pastor Jamie, the founder and director of followme.org.

So what can the Christian Church worldwide learn from Francis? Pastor Jamie says, "The more global, inter-cultural, and diverse the Church forces itself to become, the greater the chances for world-changing service opportunities. It is far too easy to stay within the religious communities that look and talk like us; however, Jesus calls us to reach far outside those walls and serve a world desperately in need."

The full Pew Research forum report is available here.

For more information, visit http://www.followme.org. Followme.org is a ministry of ShoutChurch.tv: http://www.shoutchurch.tv.

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Jeff White
FollowMe.org
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