Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Questionnaire for Synod on the Family (updated 25th November)

Triptych Holy Kinship, Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, c. 1410-1440
[There is gathering momentum as more and more Catholics realize the importance of this opportunity. I shall try to update this blog regularly with new links and information. Please scroll down to the bottom of this page for latest updates, and please let me know if you have any information or links which you think I should post here.]

There are a number of simplified questionnaires circulating, but as far as I know only Arundel and Brighton Diocese is collating responses in a simplified format. If you want your responses to be included in the evaluation, you should use either the proforma Word document on the CBCEW website or the Surveymonkey version (see links below), since I understand there is no guarantee alternative versions will be evaluated.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has created an excellent website for those wanting to responding to the Questionnaire on the Family which has been produced in preparation for the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2014. As well as the online questionnaire, there is a proforma version on the website which you can download in Word and submit as an e-mail attachment to elizabeth.davies@cbcew.org.uk. The deadline for submission is 30th November 2013.

The questionnaire is poorly worded and excessively complicated, with (I suspect) some additional loss of clarity as a result of a poor translation from the Italian. Nevertheless, our bishops set an example to others by their willingness to consult the laity and to promote the questionnaire as soon as they received it. I think it is vital that as many Catholics as possible take this opportunity to respond, even if they only answer some of the questions.

Newman University in Birmingham has produced a very good simplified version, which I have put online here. I have also spent some time completing the full questionnaire, and I thought it might be helpful to share my responses. My completed proforma is available at this link.

Those who have not read recent issues of The Tablet might find Linda Woodhead's recent article based on extensive research helpful: 'Endangered Species', The Tablet, 14 November 2013.

I'm happy for this blog to be used to discuss the questionnaire and suggest different responses and issues. As always, only comments which respect basic standards of courtesy and intelligent debate will be published. 

Update - 25 November:

As well as completing the online survey or sending to your diocesan representative, people can also send a copy direct by email/post  to the Synod Office at the Vatican (Via della Conciliazione, 34 - 00120 Citta del Vaticano - synodus@synod.va)

Tim Finigan, Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, has posted his completed questionnaire on his blog, The Hermeneutic of Continuity. This offers a different perspective from my own, but might also be useful for those struggling to formulate their responses.

Update - 22 November:

There is another simplified version of the questionnaire produced by Arundel and Brighton Diocese at this link. It might be worth checking what arrangements your diocese is making to evaluate and compile responses. In Clifton Diocese, the proforma version of the questionnaire should be completed and submitted as an attachment to alessia.dini@cliftondiocese.com, or printed off and posted to Mrs Alessia Dini, St Ambrose, North Road, Leigh Woods, Bristol BS8 3PW.

There is a Catholic Scholars' Statement on Marriage and the Family, related to the questionnaire, written by Professor Joseph Selling of Leuven University. This is available for signature on John Wijngaard's website.

The European Society of Catholic Theology has published a newsletter on the questionnaire, urging theologians to offer to support their bishops and to promote the questionnaire. They are also inviting short comments from theologians which they will compile and submit to the Secretariat of the Bishops' Synod.

1 comment:

  1. Tina,

    Many thanks for sharing your considered responses to this Questionnaire.. I was more that a little diffident about approaching this in a way that would faithfully reflect some of the ambiguities and concerns I have long entertained around some of the troubling promulgations of how the church often sees family life lived out in the modern world. Your clarity and insight have greatly helped.


    Mike Guilfoyle


Comments and contributions are welcome so long as they respect the rules of courtesy and respect, which is not to inhibit robust disagreement.