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Pope's Approval Rating Soars: CNN Poll

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Pope Francis smiles as he addresses the Vatican Curia, in the Clementine hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2103.
Pope Francis smiles as he addresses the Vatican Curia, in the Clementine hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2103.

The Holy See is about to get an early Christmas present this year.

A new CNN poll released Tuesday found that 88% of American Catholics view Pope Francis favorably. Additionally, nearly 75 percent of Americans in general think he's doing a good job.

It's been quite a year for the new pope. Named Time's Person Of The Year, he's been cited for his relatively progressive views on homosexuality, his criticisms of capitalism and his advocacy for the poor.

The iconic LGBT magazine The Advocate named Pope Francis their person of the year after comments he made this summer about gay priests. "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?" he told a reporter in July. While his comments are hardly an endorsement of same-sex marriage, they mark a major shift from the church's legacy on homosexuality.

According to the CNN poll, the pope has received high marks among American Catholics for his views. His handling of the priest sex abuse scandal also scored well, with over 60 percent of respondents saying he's managed the fallout well. His predecessor, meanwhile, was criticized for allegedly sweeping many of the most shocking allegations under the rug at first.

Pope Francis took over as leader of the church, which lists 1.2 billion in membership, in March after Pope Benedict XVI resigned.

According to a Global Language Monitor study, the pope was the most talked-about person on the Internet in 2013.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post said that Pope Francis was the first pope to join Twitter. Pope Benedict XVI was also on Twitter. It also understated Catholic church membership.

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