Synod on the Family
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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.
Ahead of the forthcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family in October 2015, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has asked us to reflect with 'true spiritual discernment' on the themes relating to marriage and family life that emerged from the Extraordinary meeting of Bishops held in Rome in October 2014.
The Bishops of England and Wales have published a document to help the faithful reflect and discern on this crucial aspect of Catholic life.
The Call, the Journey and the Mission 667.61 kB [for the laity]
Clergy - A reflection document for the clergy on marriage and family life issued by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in December 2014.
At the conclusion of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, celebrated in 2014 to treat the topic, The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization, Pope Francis decided to make public theRelatio Synodi, the document which concluded the synod’s work. At the same time, the Holy Father indicated that this document would be the Lineamenta for the XIV Ordinary General Assembly to take place from 4 to 25 October 2015 to treat the topic, The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World.
The Relatio Synodi, which is sent as the Lineamenta, concludes in the following words: “These proposed reflections, the fruit of the synodal work that took place in great freedom and with a spirit of reciprocal listening, are intended to raise questions and indicate points of view that will later be developed and clarified through reflection in the local Churches in the intervening year leading to the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops” (Relatio Synodi, n. 62)