Archbishop William E. Lori is inviting Catholics in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, active and inactive, to participate in a questionnaire the Vatican has prepared in advance of next year’s Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on “Pastoral Challenges to the Family.”
The Archdiocese has provided the questionnaire (in English and Spanish) to all pastors and is also making it available through its website, www.archbalt.org.
“The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world, is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelizing mission concerning the family, the vital building-block of society,” the document’s introduction states. “Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today … from the widespread practice of cohabitation…to same-sex unions.” The document cites additional concerns regarding the impact to families of the single-parent family, polygamy, and “the influence of the media on popular culture in its understanding of marriage and family life.”
The document asks several questions on a range of issues affecting families. Responses will be collated by dioceses with each bishop issuing a report by year’s end which will then be provided to the bishops participating in next fall’s Synod.
While Catholics should not regard the questionnaire as a poll to determine Church teaching, Archbishop Lori is hopeful Catholics will participate. “Pope Francis wants the chance to communicate directly with and look into the hearts of the world’s Catholics to better understand the challenges facing Catholic families, what role the Church plays in their lives, and how the Church can better support them and open them to the fullness and beauty of Church teaching.”