By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Marist College poll conducted in the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States found Americans not only embraced the Holy Father as a transformative figure, but agree with him on some controversial issues.

The Knights of Columbus commissioned the poll through the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, New York, within days of the pope’s departure from his final stop here in Philadelphia last month.

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Spokesman Andrew Walther says the poll found a big bump in the pope’s favorability rating among Americans and American Catholics.

“I think that shows that his message really resonated and as you get into the various issues and sort of what his trip motivated people to do and how people say they agree with him on issue after issue, you see that not only people view him more favorably but they really embraced his message.”

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Walther says the pope struck a chord with many on the issues of respect for all life, religious freedom, immigration, and the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

He says the pope’s visit also made more people take a second look at what the Catholic Church teaches and see why its values are timeless.

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