04/04/2008 - As Pope Benedict XVI prepares to introduce himself to the U.S., a new Pew Forum survey shows that many Americans know very little about him. Pew Forum Director Luis Lugo and Associate Director Mark O'Keefe discuss the survey results in the context of previous findings and compare the favorability ratings of Pope Benedict XVI with those of Pope John Paul II.
Luis Lugo, Director, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Mark O'Keefe, Associate Director, Web Editorial, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Question & Answer:
As Pope Benedict XVI prepares for his first papal visit to this country, do Americans have clearly defined views of him, or is his papacy still coming into focus?
The first thing that jumps out from the survey results is that the pope, to a very large extent, will be introducing himself to the country for the first time. The vast majority of Americans know very little about him. Some eight-in-ten, in fact, tell us that they have heard only a little or nothing at all about the pope. That's even true of his own flock, the Roman Catholic community, 63% of whom tell us that they have heard very little or nothing at all about Pope Benedict. So this trip is, indeed, his introduction to the United States public and to the Catholic community in the U.S.
Read the complete transcript Pope Benedict's Papacy Still Coming Into Focus for Americans on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.