News / Europe

Vatican Asks Catholics for Input on Family

FILE - Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican.
FILE - Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican.
VOA News
The Vatican has taken a highly unusual step in asking bishops around the world to find out what Roman Catholics think about church teachings in some areas that have become controversial, including birth control, divorce, and same-sex marriage.

Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary-general of the Vatican's Synod of Bishops, sent out the survey October 18, asking bishops to reach out "immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so the input from local sources can be received." Baldisseri asked for results by the end of January.

The Vatican document said there are "many new situations requiring the Church's attention," including same-sex union adoptions, polygamy, mixed or inter-religious marriage, an increase in the practice of surrogate motherhood, and "forms of feminism hostile to the Church."

It is not clear how U.S. Catholic bishops will respond to the directive. The general-secretary of the U.S. bishops conference, Monsignor Ronny Jenkins, in an October 30 letter to American bishops, asked only for "observations of the members of the conference" and not the opinions of ordinary Catholics.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops conference, Helen Osman, said in an email Thursday each U.S. bishop will "determine what would be the most useful way of gathering information to provide to Rome."

The Bishops Conference of England and Wales has posted a survey online that Catholics in their countries can use to respond to the questions.

Included among the questions are "how is God's mercy proclaimed" to separated, divorced and remarried couples and how churches can respond when gays seek a religious education or Holy communion for their children.

The online National Catholic Reporter was the first to report news of the survey Thursday, providing links to Baldisseri's letter, as well as a letter from the U.S. bishops conference.

The National Catholic Reporter said the poll is the first time the church's central hierarchy has asked for input from "grass-roots Catholics" since at least the establishment of the synod system following the Second Vatican Council.

The results of the world-wide survey will be discussed at a Vatican synod, or meeting, on the family in October 2014, presided over by Pope Francis. A second synod on the family will be held in 2015.

Pope Francis has denounced what he called the "Vatican-centric" nature of the church's administration. He said that many inside the Vatican had looked only after Vatican interests, neglecting, in his words, "the world around us."

Pope Francis said last month too many previous popes have been "narcissists, flattered and thrilled by the courtiers" inside the Vatican. The pontiff said the church must "restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love."

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ebola Lockdown May Be Extended

Lockdown, which started Friday, aims to allow health workers to locate hidden Ebola patients, educate others on how to avoid the deadly disease More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John Sweet from: USA
November 02, 2013 11:44 AM
Once again this Pope is sowing confusion among the people. He should be very clear about WHY he wants to know what people think about these issues. If I were pope I would want to know the truth about the damage that has been done to Catholics around the world by incompetent bishops and their total lack of leadership and education of the faithful. OF COURSE people are going to say, "We love contraception; we think 'gay marriage' is wonderful; we want women priests." etc etc. The Church is not a democracy. The pope is Vicar of Christ. To ask for people's opinions implies that you will listen to them and act on them. The only appropriate way to respond to people who are heretics, apostates, or wolves in sheep's clothing (most 'sisters') is to correct their error. I'm getting tired of 'explaining' this pope! He needs to wise up about how is words and actions are interpreted by a world that hates the Catholic Church.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 01, 2013 12:38 PM
I bet the Vatican, the college of cardinals must have shortchanged the church in choosing this man. It seems he forgets what the mission of the bishop of Rome should be. He seems to be ruling from the standpoint of a national and/or international assembly for law making that decides based on the popularity or opinions should do. He should know that the Church and the secular world are two different things operating from two different angles/dimensions.

The world changes, but God (represented by the Church) conserves. The Church should correct errors and not to be swayed or dragged along by errors. Saying bishops should find out what is popular opinion rather than teach people what is desirable seems to be wrong direction. It's not long since the Church of of Nigeria separated from the Church of England based on disagreement on similar matters. Maybe because other countries did not follow the Nigerian example and break away, Francis wants to try same in the Catholic Church. He will be surprised by the result if he dares it; because every eye is on the Catholic Church not any other one. But we can wait and see.


by: Bassam Hussein from: UK
November 01, 2013 9:15 AM
doubts are beginning to creep about this guy's mental competency...

In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 01, 2013 12:24 PM
Don't know whether to agree with you or not. But this man seems to thrive in enigmas and confusion about what his mission is. What is the source of his legislation - God or man?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid