American Catholics are big fans of the new pope, with some 88% approving of the job Pope Francis is doing, a CNN/ORC International poll finds. (Eat your heart out, Congress.) As for the country as a whole, CNN reports that about three in four Americans has a positive view of the pontiff, making him Americans' highest-regarded religious figure today. Joel Osteen, senior pastor of the country's biggest church, Houston's Lakewood Church, is among those giving the pope high marks. "I like the new pope," Osteen told Fox News this weekend, per Politico. Francis, he said, has been building a "more inclusive" Catholic Church.
Ahead of his first Christmas at the Vatican, Francis yesterday dropped in on his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Both dressed in white, the two men embraced and went to a nearby chapel to pray together before meeting privately for half an hour, the Telegraph reports. It's only the second time they've met in public. "Merry Christmas, pray for me," Francis said as he left. Replied Benedict, "Always, always, always."