The Vatican has issued a request to national bishops' conferences worldwide ahead of a synod next year: Tell us what your region thinks about contraception, divorce, same-sex marriage, and other social issues. The National Catholic Reporter calls the questionnaire a "wide-ranging poll of Catholics," though the Vatican has disputed that label, saying it's simply a series of questions for bishops' offices, CatholicCulture.org notes. Still, leaders called for questions to be distributed "as widely as possible." While an accompanying letter sent to US bishops asks only for their own assessments, in England and Wales, the church has posted an online survey.
"Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of cohabitation ... to same-sex unions," the bishops' documents note, per the BBC. Among the questions:
- "What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live (in same-sex) union(s)?" And "what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith" among families with same-sex parents?
- As to writings against the use of artificial contraception, "Is this moral teaching accepted?"
- "Does a ministry exist to attend to" cases of cohabitation before marriage, divorce, and remarriage?
The documents also address "a culture of non-commitment" in marriage, single parents, polygamy, and "forms of feminism hostile to the Church," the National Catholic Reporter
notes. (Read more Pope Francis