News Archive

Friday 15 November 2013

Extraordinary Synod on the Family 2014

The Holy See is gathering information for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family to be held next year. A questionnaire has been prepared to gauge the knowledge and the concerns of Catholics on the Church’s teaching in this area.

The questions are not altogether clear. The following summary from the website of St George’s Catholic Church in York may help.

1. How widely is the Catholic Church’s teaching on the value of the family contained in the Bible and in Church documents known by people today? Is it accepted fully or disputed? What formation have you received in this area of Christian life?

2. Does the idea that marriage is a God-given institution, governed by ‘Natural Law’, make sense to you? Does this understanding influence wider society or is marriage seen as just a matter of convention and convenience? What pastoral issues arise for Catholic celebration of marriage (with non-believers or when the couple are not practising Catholics, for instance) as a result of prevailing cultural attitudes?

3. Have you memories of marriage preparation or of pastoral support by the Church in times of family crisis? How can couples and families be helped to understand their role in living the Gospel as the "domestic Church"? How well are families able to fulfil their vocation of transmitting the faith to their children and witnessing to that faith in wider society?

4. Pastoral Care in Certain Difficult Marital Situations: In your experience how common is cohabitation before marriage among Catholics? And do you know divorced and remarried Catholics? What pastoral needs are raised by the situations of these two groups? What are your thoughts on how to include them in the life of the Church and about their sharing in the sacraments? Could some simplification of Annulment procedures be helpful as a way of responding to the situation of the divorced and remarried? How might this be achieved?

5. Given the existence of Civil Partnerships in our country, how should the Church minister to people who live in these types of union and to their family members (adopted or natural children, etc.)?

6. How can the Church minister to families not in marriages recognised officially by the Church and support them in educating their children in the ways of faith?

7. What knowledge do you have of the teachings of Humanae Vitae on responsible parenthood? Do you accept official Church teaching in this area? Does that official teaching place you in ‘bad conscience’? How do you evaluate morally the different methods of family planning? How can the Christian community safeguard and promote openness to the gift of children?

8. Does family life promote or hinder a personal encounter with Christ and an understanding of our vocation? Do contemporary crises of faith affect family life?

9. What other issues in family life should the Synod examine?

You can answer the questions on line by clicking here.