Catholic Church Attracting Russians

Poll Detects Growing Popularity

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MOSCOW, APRIL 18, 2005 ( Fully 30% of Russians are favorably inclined to the Catholic Church, almost double the figure of five years ago, says a new poll.

The number of those who have negative opinions about the Catholic Church decreased during the same period from 9% to 5%.

A poll directed by the foundation «Obshczestvennoe mnenie» (Public Opinion) and reported by the Interfax agency, indicates that more than three-quarters of Russians (77%) watched the news coverage from the Vatican concerning the John Paul II’s funeral and burial rites.

This poll was conducted April 9-10 in 100 cities and towns throughout 44 of the major administrative divisions of Russia, with the participation of 1,500 respondents.

«The death of John Paul II, who was mourned by millions of people in all corners of the globe, did not leave Russians unmoved either,» said Interfax.

The majority of those polled (51%) were of the opinion that television reported on the events connected with the death and burial of the Pope «just as much as necessary.» Only 14% of respondents considered the reporting excessive.

Nearly half of those surveyed (46%) consider the death of John Paul II to be a loss for the entire world, whereas only a third (35%) consider the loss significant for Catholics only.

Listing the merits of John Paul II, at the request of the investigators, respondents most frequently mentioned his peacemaking activities and his numerous statements against violence and terrorism. Many of those polled spoke with approval of his efforts to reconcile peoples and confessions.

Half of those surveyed said they think the authority of the Catholic Church increased during the 26-year pontificate of John Paul II. Only 12% think that John Paul II’s activity had no impact on the level of authority of the Catholic Church. No one surveyed thought that the authority of the Church had decreased.

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