03 March 2015, The Tablet

Lay group push to garner views on teaching on the family

A reform-minded group of lay Catholics has published materials to encourage as many people as possible to make their views heard on issues such as homosexuality and civil remarriage ahead of October’s Synod on the Family.

A Call To Action (ACTA) said in a statement that many people had found the 46-question survey [viewable under “Questions Aimed at a Response to and an In-Depth Examination of the Relatio Synodi ] “hard to get into”.

They also criticised a simplified version the bishops’ conference of England and Wales issued before Christmas as too prescriptive.

In a briefing paper to accompany the Vatican’s Lineamenta or guidelines for the 2015 synod, ACTA said the bishops’ six questions ”do not seem fully to measure up to the task of discernment and evaluation which Pope Francis has set before the whole Church.”

ACTA this week published their own version of the Vatican questionnaire that can be completed on its website or downloaded and printed off.

The group also compiled three sets of programmes for workshops, corresponding to the three sections of the Vatican document.

It will collate responses received by 16 April into a report which they say they will send to each of the bishops of England and Wales and to the Vatican.

The bishops of England and Wales launches a consultation in December into how best the Church can accompany engaged couples, divorcees and gay Catholics. They issued a reflection document for clergy and a leaflet for laity entitled “The Call, the Journey and the Mission” inviting laity to join in a period of discernment ahead of next October’s Synod in Rome.

After last October’s synod, bishops’ conferences were asked to consult with “academic institutions, organisations, lay movements and other ecclesial associations” in preparing their responses, which are due at the Vatican by 15 April. The bishops’ responses will serve as the basis for the synod’s working document, which is to be published by summer.

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