Pope Benedict XVI’s Legacy: Most Europeans Say He Was ‘Not Influential’ in New Poll

As Pope Benedict XVI steps down today as head of the Roman Catholic Church, a new survey shows that most people across Europe feel that the outgoing pontiff has made little difference to their lives.

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Vincenzo Pinto / AFP / GETTY

Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience, February 6, 2013.

As Pope Benedict XVI steps down today as head of the Roman Catholic Church, a new survey shows that most people across Europe feel that the outgoing pontiff has made little difference to their lives.

According to market research firm YouGov’s latest Eurotrack survey—which monitors public opinion in Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland—a majority of people in every country polled feel that their politicians have paid little or no attention to the views of Pope Benedict or local Catholic bishops. In France, which is predominantly Roman Catholic, 61% of people believe Benedict has not been influential.

And a majority of people in almost every country say their leaders were right to not pay much attention to the Pope’s views. The exception is Germany—Benedict’s country of birth—where 43% believing the Pope should be listened to and 40% saying he should be ignored.

(MORE:  Benedict Promises Obedience to Successor)

Generally, people have a more positive than negative view of Benedict’s performance during his eight years as Pope, the poll shows.

But most say that he was right to resign, the survey shows — echoing the support his decision has received, in light of his failing health, from Cardinals and Vatican officials. Support for his resignation was highest in Germany, at 82%.

On issues such as women priests, homosexuality and birth control, most people feel that Pope Benedict has been “too conservative and changed things too little”. A majority of people across the six countries said they “would be delighted” if the Cardinals choosing the next Pope selected a pontiff who wanted to permit Catholic couples to use contraception.

The Eurotrack survey was conducted Feb. 21-27 via an online survey of some 6,600 European adults.

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7 comments
Ifeyinwa
Ifeyinwa

What does it matter what people think about him?  If he is seeking for human approval, he will not be a true servant of his master Jesus.  All he wants is to do what God wants and not what people wants.  Therefore the pull vote does not prevent him from going to heaven which is his optimal goal.   Well done papa Benedith XVI

JujuCosta
JujuCosta

but what do they want? a politic or a pope? for gods sake..

the bible says certain things..

and, if u dont agree, then, it means u r not faithfull to this religion

so, ppl only want good influence

they dont care abot the religion

but, then, peopel shouldnt come bringing that speech of "im religious"

i dont think that pope should change, i think people should get out of this religion if it dont fit for them

why change something that is meant to be followed?

wtf is with this world

volucre
volucre like.author.displayName 1 Like

This article focuses solely on the views of progressive Europe, to create the impression that the Vatican's orthodox views are an outmoded anomaly. 

In reality, most of the world favors most of the Vatican's social views.  It's just declining Europe that feels differently.

But of course, Time ignores that and pursues its usual agenda.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

I would add to your comment that TIME reported on a survey of "general European attitudes" towards the Pope.

To be more accurate, TIME should have surveyed "European Catholics" to capture the sentiment of the religious alone.