Message to the Vatican: Traditional Families Need Your Help

Message to the Vatican: Traditional Families Need Your Help November 9, 2013


After all the hullaballoo, it turns out that the Vatican is not seeking input from the laity about it teachings, procedures, or anything else.

The survey the Vatican announced a week ago is designed to collect raw data at the diocesan level. It is not, as the popular press implied, a poll of the laity on Church doctrine and discipline. The data will be used as a resource in the 2014 Synod.

I’ve seen the survey, and I hope that it is not fully reflective of the issues that will be considered in the Synod. I am concerned that it is too focused on the needs of “new” family structures and not enough on how the Church can better support the traditional family.

I realize that the problems and the noise from those in “new” family structures tends to focus Vatican attention. But while those in “new” family structures are making all the demands and creating all the fuss, traditional families are quietly foundering.

Men and women, husbands and wives, in traditional Catholic families need a lot — and I mean a lot — more teaching and support, both spiritual and practical, from their Church. I hope that the bishops do not have the idea that what the Church is doing now to support traditional families within their care is enough. It simply is not, and I point to the need for this survey on “new” family structures as an indication of how serious the problem is becoming.

The huge increase in these “new” family structures which predicates surveys and Synods on how to deal with them is, to a great extent, testimony to the fact that traditional families have been suffering and failing. Traditional family has been under unremitting, concerted attack for almost 5 decades now. The Church needs to change how it supports traditional families to reflect this reality.

We need new and more inclusive ways of nurturing healthy Catholic families for the simple reason that traditional Christian families are under such enormous destructive pressure in this post Christian society. This destructive pressure bears down on every area of family life, from the way jobs are constructed, to social pressures, to the propaganda our children are inundated with in the public schools.

As Yogi Beara said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

If the church truly is a community, building healthy Catholic families by providing practical support of many types has to be part of its ministry.

From the National Catholic Register:

Vatican Collecting Diocesan Data, Not Lay Opinions in Worldwide Survey (2030)

Multiple media reports have given rise to the misconception that Pope Francis is polling Catholics for their views on Church teaching and practices.

 11/08/2013 Comments (3)

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi and Archbishop Bruno Forte, special secretary of the 2014 Synod of Bishops, speak Nov. 5 at the Vatican.

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis wants to know about the state of marriage and the family in the Church, before the bishops meet in Rome for an extraordinary synod next year. However, the lay faithful should not expect to be receiving a survey on their views from the Vatican anytime soon.

For one thing, the Vatican’s survey is being handled at the diocesan level, and the aim is to collect raw data, not opinions on Church doctrine or discipline, in advance of the 2014 synod. The data will help inform the bishops as they develop pastoral solutions for the challenges faced by modern families.

“Each bishop determines what is the most useful and reasonable manner of consultation to assist him in preparing his report for the Vatican,” said Don Clemmer, assistant director of media relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Clemmer said once a diocese completes its report, the data will be sent back to the USCCB and then forwarded on to the Vatican.


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10 responses to “Message to the Vatican: Traditional Families Need Your Help”

  1. The problem is that traditional Catholic families are not in the majority anymore. My parish has more single parents and gay parents than it does traditional families.

  2. reason cries out in the wilderness to prepare the way for Truth

    Reason actually questions the notion that a man is the “Truth” just because he says he is. Proof that he is who he says he is consists of unverified accounts of miracle with the greatest being the Resurrection and Ascension. The probability of these accounts being true is just about zero.

    It’s called a “reasonable doubt”.

  3. I read the Vatican survey. It seems the Vatican found out what every bishop and pastor already knows: it’s messy out there. But just because something is messy, it doesn’t mean it is beyond being effected by God’s grace. What American and European Catholics tend to forget is that we are not the magnetic North for the Catholic Church. It was fascinating to read in the preface of the survey that there are so many difficult family and cultural situations that — now we are connected more globally and instantly–have come to the forefront of Catholic life.

    Every pastor/bishop has had to deal with being compassionate teachers of God’s commands and the Church’s precepts. As Pope Francis (and Pope Benedict before him) keeps pointing out, “If you are a Catholic, you should already know all about Church teachings (readily available on the internet through the Vatican or local bishop conference website), so there is no need to go over them again and again. Read it, do it. Those who choose to “cafeteria-it”, do so at their own soul’s peril. The Church is just trying to keep your soul out of hell.

    On the other hand, there are many Catholics who think Catholicism = democracy — and who vote with their feet and wallet in order to keep their local pastor or bishop under their influence. These are the ones who are overjoyed at this ‘survey’ or are proclaiming their local bishop conferences ‘meanness’ of not asking for the opinions of the laity. Actually, these bishops/pastors know very well the opinions of the laity.

    In the worldwide non-American Catholic world, there are family situations aplenty that need more guidance. These are mentioned in preliminary Synod document: “Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today
    as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of
    cohabitation which does not lead to marriage and sometimes even excludes the idea of it, to same-sex unions between persons who are (not infrequently) permitted to adopt children. The many new situations requiring the Church’s attention and pastoral care include: mixed or inter-religious marriages; the single-parent family; polygamy; marriages with the consequent problem of a dowry (sometimes understood as the purchase price of the woman in African, Middle East, and Asian cultures); the caste system; a culture of non-commitment and a presumption that the marriage bond can be temporary; forms of feminism hostile to the Church; migration and the reformulation of the very concept of the family; relativist pluralism in the conception of marriage; the influence of the media on popular culture in its understanding of marriage and family life; underlying trends of thought in legislative proposals which devalue the idea of permanence and
    faithfulness in the marriage covenant; an increase in the practice of surrogate
    motherhood (wombs for hire); and new interpretations of what is considered a human right. Within the Church, faith in the sacramentality of marriage and the healing power of the Sacrament of Penance show signs of weakness or total
    On this last sentence, note the importance in Marriage of being healed through the Sacrament of Penance! How many frequent penitents (both spouses) end up with broken marriages, I wonder? The power of that sacrament for the married Catholic cannot be underestimated. We married Catholics need all the sacramental graces we can get. Yet are engaged couples told the great importance to go to confession prior to receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony and throughout their married life? Are confirmandi told they MUST go to confession before receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation? We are quite cautious about a 7-year old child receiving the Sacrament of Penance prior to receiving Holy Communion. Why do we drop the ball when it comes to the other Sacraments?
    How many of separated or divorced Catholics go to confession throughout their time of separation or divorce proceedings? How many unmarried single parents?

  4. The church I go to has approx. 90% women/mothers and only 10% men attending Mass on a weekday basis.
    On Eucharistic Night Watch – we can hardly see any man/father.

    Children would like to see their fathers going to church too, along with their mothers.

    I was wondering if it is necessary for priests to talk about this in their homilies….

  5. Those who choose to “cafeteria-it”, do so at their own soul’s peril. The Church is just trying to keep your soul out of hell.

    That approach should be abandoned. Rational and logical Catholics have no choice but to “cafeteria-it”. The alternative is complete acceptance of some of the most ridiculous beliefs and political stands of any popular worldview in the world.

    I don’t think many people really believe that they will go to hell for not following a particular religion properly.

  6. I can’t find anything in Luke about Jesus appearing to 500 men. I only know that Paul said it.