In preparation for the next Synod of Bishops, the Vatican has sent a list of questions on family ies to all national bishops' conferences. The special thing: Parishes are also to be involved.
This was confirmed by the German Bishops' Conference (DBK) on Friday in response to a question in Bonn. A spokeswoman stressed such questionnaires are sent in preparation for each synod of bishops. As Pope Francis prepares to hold the next special synod from 5. to 19. According to the DBK, since it convened the first session on "Family" in October 2014, the current questionnaire focuses on all family ies. Therefore, it is not only about controversial ies such as contraception, divorce and the treatment of homosexual couples. "The German Bishops' Conference has received the questionnaire and will discuss how to proceed at the next Permanent Council at the end of November," the spokeswoman said.
The U.S. magazine National Catholic Reporter, meanwhile, reported Thursday (local time) that the questionnaire to the bishops' conferences also included a letter from the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Lorenzo Baldisseri. The letter, from which the magazine quotes, is dated 18. October dates. In it, Baldisseri asks the presidents of the bishops' conferences to forward the list of questions to the dioceses, asking them to pass it on "immediately to deaneries and parishes as much as possible". The intention is to receive input on the ies from "local sources," the letter added. Because time is short, Baldisseri asks for a synthesis of responses by the end of January.
Laity welcome involvement
In the U.S., according to the NCR report, the bishops were asked in an additional letter by Ronny Jenkins, secretary general of the U.S. bishops' conference, to respond to the questions by the end of December – but without a request that parishes also be involved. On the website of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, on the other hand, an online questionnaire on family ies has been available since last week. With the words "You can actively participate in the preparation of the Synod," the British Bishops' Conference is soliciting participation in the online survey.
In Germany, ZdK President Alois Gluck welcomed Pope Francis' initiative to involve the faithful in the universal Church in the Synod of Bishops' deliberations on pastoral care for the family. "It is a great opportunity for the laity to express themselves in the context of this survey on topics such as marriage, family and sexuality and to contribute their thoughts and views to the preparations for the Synod of Bishops," explained Gluck. "As soon as this survey is launched in the German dioceses, as many lay people as possible should participate in it."The Vatican will hold a press conference on Tuesday to report on the synod.