"The personal charm, homespun wisdom and liberal overtures of Pope Francis have boosted the popularity of the Catholic Church among Italians to a record high, a poll said Friday."
The media have been reporting on the "Francis Effect" since almost the very beginning of his pontificate. There's no question that Francis is more "popular" with the unchurched than Pope Benedict XVI, but the question, for me is whether this increased popularity has brought about an actual increase in Mass attendance. Stories from 2013 (Time ) suggest so.
I'm a little more skeptical, however. It's purely anecdotal, but from my personal observation, I've heard more than one unchurched individual speak highly of the Pope but that admiration has not led to a repentance or conversion.
The media have portrayed Francis as someone who will bring about a great deal of change within the Catholic Church, and unbelievers have taken to this enthusiastically, though not enough to convince them to change their behavior.
I'm sure that as the years roll by, and the doctrines of the Church do not change, the Progressives will fall out of love with this Pope.