When Vatican II drew up its document “On Fostering the Nobility of Marriage and the Family” (Gaudium et Spes, Part II, chapter 1, para. 47-52) the bishops invited and listened to the voices of married persons and were attentive to their personal experiences. The result was a renewed, more realistic teaching. However, when the 1980 Synod of Bishops “On the Role of the Family” was prepared and took place, only carefully hand-picked members of the laity were invited. They offered no critical voice and ignored abundant evidence that the teaching of the church on marriage and sexuality was not serving the needs of the faithful. It resulted in the Synod not producing anything pastorally helpful.
We therefore urge the Catholic faithful and any other interested parties to share their experience and knowledge with the leaders of the church and to make their thoughts and their concerns known.
Some of the following issues appear to merit special attention.