The Vatican has asked national bishops’ conferences around the world to conduct a wide-ranging poll of Catholics asking for their opinions on church teachings on contraception, same-sex marriage and divorce.
Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops, asked the conferences to distribute the poll “immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received….”
“We [the conference] pass on to bishops what is sent to us,” wrote Osman. “They then take care of the local consultation and send the data back to us. We transmit it to the Holy See. That is why the letter says the bishops will send back observations (gathered locally).”
“It will be up to each bishop to determine what would be the most useful way of gathering information to provide to Rome,” she wrote.
Among topics bishops’ conferences are asked in the Vatican document to question their Catholic populations about:
How the church’s teaching on “the value of the family” is understood today. “In those cases where the Church’s teaching is known, is it accepted fully or are there difficulties in putting it into practice?” the document asks. “If so, what are they?”
Whether cohabitation, the problem of divorce and remarriage, and same-sex marriages are a “pastoral reality” in their church. “Does a ministry exist to attend to these cases?” the document asks. “How is God’s mercy proclaimed to separated couples and those divorced and remarried and how does the Church put into practice her support for them in their journey of faith?”
How persons in same-sex marriages are treated and how children they may adopt are cared for. “What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live these types of union?” it asks. “In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?”
Whether married couples have “openness” to becoming parents and whether they accept Humanae Vitae, an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI that prohibited artificial contraception use by Catholics. “Is this moral teaching accepted?” it asks. “What aspects pose the most difficulties in a large majority of couple’s accepting this teaching?”
The Roman Catholic Church in the UK and Ireland has made the questions available on-line. There is no word how the survey will be handled in the USA.