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Vatican releases preparatory document as it gets ready for Bishop's Synod on the Family

2013-11-05

At the request of Pope Francis, the Vatican is getting ready for an extraordinary synod of bishops, where the challenges faced by the family will be discussed. 

ARCH. LORENZO BALDISSERI
General Secretary of the Synod 
"The last document we cited on the family is the 'Familiaris Consortio' from 1981 so it's something from 32 years ago."

The purpose is to evaluate the pastoral approach of the Church on topics like sexuality, marriage and the family. To prepare for this meeting, the Vatican released a preparatory document for the Synod of Bishops. It includes a questionnaire with 38 questions on modern day issues like, divorced and civilly remarried couples, same sex couples, co-habitation before marriage and couple's openness to life and children. 

Based on the questionnaire, the Vatican is expecting a detailed summary from bishops, religious orders and Catholic groups by the end of January. In fact the Bishops Conference of Wales and England decided to upload the questionnaire online

ARCH. LORENZO BALDISSERI
General Secretary of the Synod 
"It's not about bishops weighing in on what they personally think. Rather, it's a collection of information. In terms of practicality it's not an individual poll of every Catholic. Instead a parish priest will pass on their local information based on the reality of that parish and its parishioners."

Even though Catholics won't necessarily be individually polled, if interested, they can also send in their feedback to the Vatican's Synod Secretariat
 
CARD. PETER ERDÖ
Relator General for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family 
"The Episcopal Conferences will also gather civil statistics. So, we'll have information on co-habitation, percentage of marriage in their respective countries and so on. This will make the information more professional and complete."

The Synod will be divided into two stages. The first will take place in 2014, from October 5th to the 19th.

ARCH. LORENZO BALDISSERI
General Secretary of the Synod 
"The theme of this Synod will be divided in two phases: the first is the Extraordinary General Assembly of 2014, which is intended to define the 'status quaestionis' and gather testimonies an proposals from the bishops...The second, is the Ordinary General Assembly scheduled for 2015, where the goal will be finding pastoral approaches to the family."

About 100 people, including the presidents of all episcopal conferences, bishops will attend the extraordinary synod next year. The second assembly in 2015, will include experts and above all else, families


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