What Francis said about immigration

“We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, ... trying to respond as best we can to their situation.”

The pope asked Congress to “reject a mind-set of hostility” when addressing immigration, saying “We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.” In a recent poll, 57 percent agreed that immigrants strenghten American society.

What Americans think about immigration

Q: Overall, do you think immigrants from other countries mainly strengthen or mainly weaken American society?

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ABC News/Washington Post poll, July 16-19

What Francis said about climate change

“I am convinced that we can make a difference, and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play.”

Francis’s encyclical called climate change a grave, global problem. But in a recent poll, less than half of Americans said climate change was a “very serious” problem.

[10 key excerpts from Francis's environment encyclical ]

What Americans think about climate change

Q: In your view, is global warming a very serious problem, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not a problem?

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Pew Research Center poll, May 5-June 7

What Francis said about abortion

“The Golden Rule ... reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

Earlier this month, Francis opened a temporary, quicker path to forgiveness for women who have had abortions, calling theirs an “agonizing and painful decision.” Only 20 percent of Americans think that abortion should always be illegal, a poll shows.

What Americans think about abortion

Q: Do you think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?

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NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2014

What Francis said about the death penalty

“[I advocate for] ... the global abolition of the death penalty. ... Society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes.”

In the speech, Francis closely linked abortion and the death penalty, saying, “If we want life, let us give life.” The Catholic Church has opposed capital punishment in the past, but a late-20th century revision of church doctrine left the possibility for it open, in the rarest of cases. Francis’s call goes beyond that teaching, calling for an outright abolition. In America, 6 in 10 people support the death penalty in cases involving murder.

[Pope Francis tells Congress ‘every life is sacred,’ says the death penalty should be abolished ]

What Americans think about the death penalty

Q: Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?

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CBS News/New York Times poll, Sept 8 – 15

What Francis said about U.S.-Cuba relations

“When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue ... new opportunities open up for all.”

The pope, who played a key role in the thawing of U.S. relations with the communist-led country, spent four days there before continuing on to the United States. A recent poll showed 73 percent of Americans approve of reopening diplomatic relations.

[Pope meets with Fidel Castro, urges Cubans to ‘serve people,’ not ideas ]

What Americans think about U.S.-Cuba relations

Q: All in all, do you approve or disapprove of the U.S. re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba?

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Pew Research Center poll, July 14-20

What Francis said about public assistance for the poor

“A political society endures ... by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk.”

What Americans think about public assistance for the poor

Q: Do you think the gap between rich and poor in this country is a problem that needs to be addressed now, a problem but one that does not need to be addressed now, or not a problem?

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CBS News/New York Times poll, May 28-31