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American Catholics weigh in on new Pope

10:47 AM, Feb 28, 2013   |    comments
St. Peter's Basilica and Square, Vatican City/AP
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By Rachel Zoll, The Associated Press

Catholics in the United States are conflicted over what they want from the next pope.

In a survey days after Pope Benedict XVI announced his abdication, Catholics split over whether they hope his successor will generally preserve tradition or make changes in Catholic teaching.

A majority of Catholics said the next pontiff should allow priests to marry, but people who attend Mass more frequently are less certain about the idea.

Most U.S. Catholics also said it would be good for the church if the new pope came from a developing country. Catholicism is growing dramatically in Africa, as well as in Asia and Latin America, while the faith is shrinking in the West.

The survey was conducted by the Pew Research Center in Washington.

   -- Rachel Zoll, AP Religion Writer

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