The widespread popularity of Pope Francis, who was elected pope a year ago, may have inspired Catholics in the United States to give more to the poor, a nationwide survey by Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities finds.
According to the FACIDA survey, 24 percent of U.S. Catholics said they gave more this year than last, while of those who gave more, 77 percent said the new pope had inspired their giving, including 42 percent who said he has had a significant impact on their giving. Funded in part by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of National Collections, the survey found that fully half the respondents said they are motivated to help others because of the pope's message of compassion for the poor, while 44 percent said his message will inspire them to give more to Catholic charities and campaigns in the future.
The survey also found that Hispanic Catholics are especially inspired by Pope Francis, who is from Argentina. Among Hispanic survey respondents, 30 percent said they had increased their giving, with 85 percent of those citing the pope's influence, while 48 percent said the pope had inspired them to give more to Catholic efforts or organizations.
"It is clear that Pope Francis and his message of mercy and joy, and a special concern for the poor, are inspiring U.S. Catholics in their giving," said Alexia Kelley, president of FADICA, a nonprofit member association. "These results also show that Hispanic Catholics, in particular, are moved by Pope Francis with respect to their giving."