Papal power fascinates the media
by Carolyn Moynihan | March 14, 2018
What has provoked CNN television to make a four-part documentary called “Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History”? This is the question that sparked Father James Schall’s article today, and his answer, as usual, goes to the heart of things.
Coincidentally, the CNN series launched on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ election (March 13). The Argentinian pope has certainly given the lie to “power” in the sense the world usually means it (and as The Economist here portrays it) focusing as he does on the mercy of God and outreach to those on the peripheries of the Church and society.
But if popularity is power, then Francis has plenty of it. As Catholic journalist John Allen points out in an assessment of Francis:
A worldwide WIN/Gallup International survey of 64 nations found that Francis enjoyed an overall approval rating of 60 percent, making him the most-admired leader in the world, ahead of Russian President Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and then-U.S. President Barack Obama. Among Catholics around the world, Francis had an 85 percent favorability rating, remarkably close to the number the latest Pew survey found in the United States.
Viva il Papa! I say.