The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App

Pope Francis is popular with U.S. Catholics but will they return to church?

One week from today, Pope Francis will mark the anniversary of his election.

A survey out Thursday of American Catholics finds that he is enormously popular. Sixty-eight percent say that he represents a change for the better.

Even so, the pope is not having the impact that you might expect.

Francis has more than 3.5 million Twitter followers, and in true celebrity fashion a fan magazine that monitors his every move.

Pope Francis draws crowds - in person and on Twitter
CBS News

But the new poll shows the pope's influence may be limited.

The number of Americans who identify themselves as Catholic is unchanged from a year ago, 22 percent. And of those Catholics, 40 percent say they attend Mass once a week, also the same as last year.

Pope Francis
CBS News

The Rev. Jim Martin is editor-at-large of the Catholic magazine, America.

"I think things may lag," he said. "I mean he's been pope for a year and I think people's faith lives - if you've been away from the church for 30 or 40 years, it might take more than a year to come back."

The survey did find that about a quarter of Catholics say their faith has deepened in the last year. Brian Stevens is one of them.

"I heard Pope Francis and his message and I couldn't stay away," Stevens said.

Stevens stopped attending church regularly more than six years ago. He said Francis' tone was welcoming.

A quarter of U.S. Catholics say their faith has deepened in the year Francis has been pope
CBS News
"He's made me feel like there's a place for me in the church," Stevens said. "He's made me feel like I'm wanted in the church and not only wanted but needed to help bring about a better world."

But just 54 percent of U.S. Catholics approve of how Francis has handled the clergy sex abuse crisis.

  • Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.