THE BLOG
02/21/2013 09:18 am ET Updated Apr 23, 2013

Papal Approval Rates And The New Pope's Election

More developments on the pope are coming in each day as we come closer to Pope Benedict XVI's last day in office on February 28. HuffPost is catching you up on the headlines.

-- From a new Washington Post-ABC News poll:

About three-quarters of Catholics (76 percent) and a smaller majority of all Americans (54 percent) view Benedict favorably, both numbers up slightly from a 2008 survey. Only 14 percent of Catholics and 27 percent of the overall public rates the pontiff unfavorably.

While positive, Benedict's ratings stand 13 points below those of John Paul II during his final month as pope, when 67 percent of Americans and 87 percent of Catholics saw him favorably. Among non-Catholics, Benedict's ratings are 14 points lower than his predecessor.

-- Tweeting from Rome, Catholic News Service reports from today's presser by Vatican Spokesman the Rev. Fredrico Lombardi, where he said that the pope's document to change conclave rules are "in his hands." CNS reports (its words, not Lombardi's) that "99.9 percent chance they are small changes." At the presser, Lombardi also announced that Pope Benedict XVI has lifted the February 22 deadline given to Society of St. Pius X, the breakaway traditionalist Catholic order, to respond to the church's reconciliation attempts. Because of "extraordinary" times with the new election, the reconciliation will be the job of the next pope.

-- The Telegraph profiles Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, a possible pick for the next pope. Interesting fact: When he was young, he worked as a nighttime cleaner in a New York bank (h/t @lukecoppen)

-- Reports Vatican Insider:

In a highly significant move and in the midst of a ferocious controversy in the USA, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose H. Gomez, has publicly expressed his support for Cardinal Roger Mahony's participation in the conclave that will elect the next Pope.

-- While Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York's name has been floated as a longshot contender for the papacy, the timing may not be the best. NY Times' Laurie Goodstein explains (and sends her inaugural tweet along with her piece) that he was "questioned in Manhattan for three hours on Wednesday behind closed doors in a legal deposition concerning the sexual abuse of children by priests."

But with all this new pope talk, it's good to Benedict is still in charge for another week, CNS notes.