Australia's bishops have condensed into 30 questions the 46 proposed by the Vatican for a survey of Catholics leading up to next October's Synod on the Family.
The questions, published on several diocesan websites including Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and Goulburn, ask Australian Catholics to consider changing social practices in the context of Catholic teaching in areas such as de facto relationships, the indissolubility of marriage, same-sex attraction and abortion, as well as seeking responses on the effectiveness of marriage preparation and the challenges facing couples in mixed and interreligious marriages.
The questions include: "How can couples living together before marriage or in de facto relationships be encouraged to choose marriage?" "How can the family be helped to become 'the domestic Church' with a missionary vocation? How can we help develop a family spirituality?" "Do we need to shape a new language in the area of marriage and the family? If so, how?" "Apart from sacramental marriage, what can be done to foster appreciation of 'natural marriage'?" "How can we respond compassionately to people in irregular unions while remaining faithful to the teaching of Christ and the Church?" "How can we respond better to people of same-sex attraction and their families?" "What more can we do to prevent abortion and foster a genuine culture of life?"
Responses are due in early February.