Pope Francis' Popularity High a Year After Leading Catholic Church

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-03_0de588c76d.jpgneneos/iStock Editorial/Getty Images (ROME) -- After a year with Pope Francis at the helm of the Catholic church, one thing is clear: Francis is an immensely popular man. Both American and Italian polls put the pope's popularity at almost 90 percent among Catholics. Eighty-seven percent of Italians approve of what Francis has done in the past year, with about 10 percent more women than men saying he's given the Catholic church a boost.

In the U.S., a recent poll shows even most non-Catholics approve of Francis, with 60 percent saying they like the pope. Since becoming pope last March 13, Francis has won the approval of both traditional, church-going Catholics and those long critical of the church through his focus on the poor and marginalized, and his stressing of compassion and mercy in his addresses at the Vatican.

Recently, the pope said he was just an ordinary man and doesn't appreciate being idealized.

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