The Vatican has asked national bishops’ conferences around the world to conduct a wide-ranging poll of Catholics asking for their opinions on church teachings on contraception, same-sex marriage and divorce.
Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops, asked the conferences to distribute the poll “immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received.”
The poll, which comes in a questionnaire sent to national bishops’ conferences globally in preparation for a Vatican synod on the family next October, is the first time the church’s central hierarchy has asked for such input from grass-roots Catholics since at least the establishment of the synod system following the Second Vatican Council.
The upcoming synod, which Pope Francis announced earlier this month, is to be held Oct. 5-19, 2014, on the theme “Pastoral Challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.”
The questionnaire was sent Oct. 18 from Baldisseri to the presidents of the world’s individual bishops’ conferences.
It asks the conferences to quiz their populations on topics that sometimes have sharply divided the U.S. church, like the Catholic teaching prohibiting the use of artificial contraception, the possibility of a divorced Catholic to remarry or receive Communion, and the number of young people choosing to live together before marrying.