Bishops' Conference of England and Wales canvasses youth opinion ahead of 2018 synod

04 April 2017 | by Carina Murphy

The responses will be used in a Vatican report in preparation for the 15th Synod of Bishops, led by Pope Francis in October 2018

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) has released its online survey on youth, ahead of the 2018 synod on the same subject.

The Youth Poll on Life, Faith and Vocational Discernment or ‘Mega Youth Poll’ asks 13-29 year olds of all religions and none 45 questions. These include everything from “what is life like for you?” to “how close do you feel to Jesus?” Participants are asked to rate youth events and to comment on “how much do you think the Catholic Church is interested in your life”, as well as the slightly more complex “which of the people [listed in questionnaire] helped you to consider what God is asking of you in the choices you make”.

It takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and is anonymous. The responses will be used in a report that will be sent to the Vatican in preparation for the 15th Synod of Bishops, led by Pope Francis in October next year.

Three years ago, the conference's online survey on family and marriage entitled. Pastoral Challenges in the Family, was criticised for being too wordy and difficult to understand. The conference incurred further wrath when it refused to disclose the survey’s findings. 16,500 people filled out the survey, which included questions about church teaching on artificial contraception, single parent families, same-sex marriage and communion for the divorced and remarried, ahead of the Synod on family life,

Responding to the question of what lessons been learned this time around, Teresa Carvalho, the conference's Home Mission Officer said: “The Bishops asked us to not be restricted by the wording of the questions when creating the youth poll, as it is more important that those answering it understand the questions than the precision of the language used. This has been a learning point from the previous synod.” 

She could not confirm whether the full survey findings would be made available this time around. “We have not been given a direct answer to the question of whether they will be published; however, we have extended the younger end of our age range in our survey so as to gather responses from young people who most often encounter Catholic Youth Ministry in England and Wales. It is our hope that we will be able to provide those who work with young people a report with some useful information from these results, which of course will be publically available.”

The survey closes on 5 June. To complete it, go to

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