Pope Francis attends a special audience for the Cassano allo Jonio diocese at the Vatican on Feb.21, 2015.
Osservatore Romano— Vatican Press Office/AFP/Getty Images
By NBC News
March 5, 2015

Pope Francis is more popular than ever in the U.S. — with 95 percent of Catholics who go to church every week giving him high marks and 7 in 10 Americans of all faiths rating him favorably in a new survey. The Pew Research Center says that two years after Francis was named the leader of the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics, his popularity has eclipsed any numbers his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, ever posted and puts him on par with Pope John Paul II in the 1980s and 1990s.

Pope Francis’ common touch and plain-spokenness have also won him fans among non-Catholics. The…

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