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Although Pope Francis‘ outreach efforts have won worldwide praise, the Rev. Thomas Worcester who teaches history at the College of the Holy Cross, said more time is needed to heal past wounds dividing the American church.

“I think that Americans like rapid results, and the papacy just doesn’t work like that, no matter who is pope,” he said. “But with more time, three or four years from now, it will be interesting to see if such a survey produces a different outcome.”

Mr. Schmalz echoed the sentiment, noting that the Vatican has a large reform workload ahead.

Pope Francis has presented a powerful example of a religious leader who is humble and accessible,” he said. “But until his example filters down to the parish level, we’re unlikely to see any impact. Pope Francis sees himself as a shepherd who is searching out for lost sheep — but it’s the parish priest who is going to have to start searching harder.”