(WTNH) _ Pope Benedict XVI might have big shoes to fill, but according to a recent poll, he is also making a positive impression.
It was the visit that moved thousands, making the city that never sleeps stand still in religious reflection. Pope Benedict XVI's American tour of New York City and Washington D.C. It was a historic trip and according to the Knights of Columbus, one that changed perceptions of the Catholic Church.
"I think that his message and the response that and the reception that he got in the United States was very telling," said Andrew Walther of the Knights of Columbus. "Everybody knew that America had really fallen in love with PopE Benedict XVI. All the poll numbers do is prove that."
The Knights of Columbus poll, conducted by Marist College shows 72% of Catholics surveyed have a more positive view of the church since the Pontiff's visit. According to the poll so do 56%T of non-practicing Catholics. In addition, 52% of all Americans polled have a more positive view of the Catholic church.
Walther was among the hoards of people that followed the Pope to all his appearances. He says the feeling at each address was electric. "I think America met Pope Benedict and in some ways met the Catholic Church," said Walther.
Thirty-nine percent of Catholics think the most meaningful part of the Pope's visit was his meeting with sex abuse victims. Fifteen percent were moved by his Ground Zero address and 13% felt his address at Yankee Stadium was most important.
Perhaps the most important data collected, according to Walther, was what people brought back to their hometowns after the visit. "Significant numbers of people are now more likely to be involved in their community more likely to be involved in their church to live a better moral life. To be more proud who they are as Catholics," he said.
Walther tells us he saw the pope in Rome, directly after his American visit. In that address Pope Benedict XVI called his trip a success.