23 April 2015, The Tablet

Muted voice from the pews

The bishops of England and Wales’ latest online questionnaire about marriage and family life has been much less successful than the last one, carried out in 2014. So what has gone wrong? The 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family saw open disagreement among the Synod Fathers on issues such as Communion for remarried divorcees, pastoral responses to cohabiting heterosexual couples and gay couples. In many cases the bishops related what Catholics had told them about their own experiences. These had been set out in responses to a questionnaire prepared by the synod office in Rome in a consultation mandated ahead of the bishops’ gathering.This year, the consultation exercise is being repeated ahead of the Ordinary Synod in October when firm decisions will be taken. Bishops’
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