Reporter's Notebook

Pope Francis's Visit to the U.S.
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For the first time in his papacy—and his life—Pope Francis is visiting the U.S. at the end of September. He’s coming for the World Meeting of the Families in Philadelphia but will also make stops in Cuba, D.C., and New York. Scroll down to see our coverage.
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Get Ready for Pope Drama on Gays, Abortions, and More

Pope Francis doesn’t get to the United States until Tuesday, but the Pope Drama has already begun. Exhibit A: On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that “a senior Vatican official” said the Church is “disputing” a few of the guests who were invited to the pope’s White House visit. Specifically, the WSJ called out Sister Simone Campbell, an American nun who leads a Catholic social-justice organization that’s been vocal about health-care issues; Gene Robinson, the gay former Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire; and Mateo Williamson, who has represented transgender Catholics for the LGBT organization Dignity USA. This official cited worries about the pope being caught in a photo op with any of these folks, which “could be interpreted as an endorsement of their activities.”

In an email, the English language representative of the Vatican, Father Thomas Rosica, flatly denied this report:

Pew has a new survey on Catholics in America. While the Catholics are always fascinating, they’ll be in the spotlight for the month of September: In a few weeks, Pope Francis will visit the U.S. for the first time in his papacy—and his life. The pontiff is expected to talk about poverty and the environment, keeping in theme with his mic drop of an encyclical from earlier this summer, Laudato Si.

But he’ll especially focus on issues of family life, including marriage, divorce, sexuality, and contraception use; he’s coming for the Church’s World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, and just weeks after he leaves, he’ll gather with bishops in Rome for an important synod, or meeting, that may shift the Church’s posture toward some of these issues.

So what do American Catholics think about family life, per Pew?