Niagara Gazette — In October, the Vatican will have a synod on the family and evangelization.
In preparation for this, Pope Francis has asked Catholics for their input.
This is an unprecedented request but is essential since the family is, in the pope's works, “the vital building block of society and the ecclesial community.”
“The world’s bishops are always consulted before a synod,” said Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone. "But that this wider consultation, while an innovation, is in tune with the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on the Church as the community of all of the People of God, the lay faithful (including religious sisters and brothers) as well as the ordained (bishops, priests and deacons),” he added.
“Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization,” the theme of the Synod of Bishops, begins with the extraordinary general assembly in 2014 and finishes with an ordinary general assembly in 2015.
To gauge what Catholics believe or question, an open-ended survey is being conducted throughout the world.
While the Holy See is looking for input, Catholics should be aware that responses to each of the nine multi-point questions does not mean the Church is likely to change its core beliefs.
“While the survey might give a more realistic picture of the acceptance or non-acceptance of certain doctrines or practices as they relate to the family,” Malone explained, “it is important to note that the Catholic Church does not change its doctrines based on popular opinion."
This survey should help the Church better to understand and engage the challenges we face in communicating our teachings in the most compelling way,” he explained.
Catholics in Western New York may participate in the survey which is printed in the December issue of the Western New York Catholic, available in all parishes in the diocese and on the newspaper’s website, www.wnycatholic.org.
All surveys must be returned by Dec. 16 to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Western New York Catholic, 795 Main St., Buffalo, N.Y. 14203.