The Diocese of Wilmington has posted on its website an unprecedented Vatican survey of Catholics that seeks opinions on the church’s pastoral care of families.
In a letter from Bishop Malooly that accompanies the survey, he writes, “Understanding the many challenges faced by families throughout the world, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, is asking Catholics what they think about the “social and spiritual crisis” impacting family life.
The bishop asks for responses to the questionnaire in preparation for next year’s synod of bishops in Rome that will focus on “Pastoral Challenges to the Family.”
Participants can find the survey on the diocese’s website, cdow.org. Click on the “Spotlight” headline, “Pope Francis and Bishop Malooly invite you to participate in an important survey” to reach the survey site.
The direct web address of the Vatican’s questionnaire is www.cdow.org/pope-francis-and-bishop-malooly-invite-you-to-participate-in-an-important-survey/.
Bishop Malooly said the diocese added links on the site to Vatican documents referenced in the questionnaire “that may be unfamiliar to Catholics.”
Those documents include “Gaudium et Spes,” (“Hope and Joy”) and “Familiaris Consortio” (“On the Family”).
“Gaudium et Spes” is known as the “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” and was promulgated in 1965 by Pope Paul VI. It was approved by the world’s bishops at the Second Vatican Council as a summary of their views on the teachings of the church in a changing world.
“Familiaris Consortio” is an apostolic exhortation written by Pope John Paul II in 1981 on the role of the Christian family in the modern world.
Bishop Malooly said responses from Catholics in the diocese will be reflected in a report that each diocese submits to the Vatican “that may help shape the discussion of next year’s Third Assembly of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops.”
The first page on the diocese’s website “asks for a little information about you so we can determine how wide the consultation has been,” Bishop Malooly said.
Catholic News Service reported Nov. 21 that “Pope Francis this past October called for the third extraordinary synod to be held since Pope Paul VI reinstituted synods in 1965 to periodically advise him on specific topics. Extraordinary synods are defined in canon law as intended to “deal with matters which require a speedy solution.
“Participants will primarily be presidents of national bishops’ conferences, the heads of Eastern Catholic Churches and the heads of major Vatican offices, totaling about 150 people.”
In preparation for the synod, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri sent bishops’ conferences a preparatory document that included a 39-item questionnaire asking about the promotion and acceptance of Catholic teachings on marriage and the family, and cultural and social challenges to those teachings, according to Catholic News Service.
It asks about divorce, remarriage, cohabitation, same-sex unions and contraception.
On a flight back to Rome from Rio de Janeiro in July, Catholic News Service reported the pope said the synod would explore a “somewhat deeper pastoral care of marriage,” including the question of the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.
This report contains reports from Catholic News Service.