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For immediate use: 3 March 2015
Pope Francis has again asked for the widest possible consultation in preparation for the second Synod on the Family in Rome this October. Accordingly the Vatican has released outlines which include 46 questions. It’s a wide-ranging document (entitled Lineamenta in Latin), but many people have found it hard to get into.
The Catholic movement ACTA (A Call To Action) has therefore taken steps to enable the widest possible group of lay people and clergy to take part in the research. In particular it has made available a questionnaire which can be completed online or as a downloaded paper copy. The questionnaire can be accessed on the ACTA website acalltoaction.org.uk
The text of the Lineamenta can also be accessed through the ACTA website.
ACTA has also compiled three sets of programmes for workshops, corresponding to the three sections of the Vatican document.
In addition it has posted an introductory briefing paper on the Vatican document, picking out the salient points and illuminating the background. The briefing also assesses the separate questions posed by the bishops’ conference of England and Wales to clergy and laity.
The author of the questionnaire and the workshop material, Andrew Hornsby-Smith, explains:
‘Our Church is asking what family life is like for ordinary Catholics; both the joys and the challenges. How do we deal with the problems of divorce, cohabitation, lone-parent families, gay and lesbian relationships? How do we ensure our Church is in touch and welcoming for all? These are huge challenges and opportunities and we want to reach as wide a group of respondents as possible.’
Journalist John Wilkins, author of the briefing paper, adds: ‘The Vatican outlines presuppose that the teaching Church is also a learning Church, and therefore needs to hear from all the people’.
The ACTA chair, Eileen Fitzpatrick, sums up: ‘We’ve made these ACTA texts both accessible and easy to complete, so as to produce a full, meaningful and relevant consultation.’
The questionnaire can be completed online by registered ACTA members. It can also be downloaded by all visitors to the site as hard copy which can be mailed directly when completed to a postal address:
PO Box 237
105 London Road
The downloadable version can also be attached to social media messages for further circulation.
The deadline for completing the questionnaire and for workshop feedback is 16 April 2015. Feedback from both sources will then be collated to give two sets of data. These will form part of a report to go to each of the bishops of England and Wales and to the authorities in Rome.
This report will be prepared by 30 April. The results will be publicised, and a copy of the report will be posted on the ACTA website.
ACTA Mission statement
We are a group of Catholics, some of whom are ordained, brought together by our love of Christ’s church and our anxiety about its future. Still inspired by the Second Vatican Council we want to contribute fully to the life of our church so that we may be a more effective sign of the Kingdom of God. To do this, we believe that an atmosphere of openness and dialogue both with each other and our bishops needs developing. We desire to help create a climate of trust and respect for all where this dialogue may be fostered.