How Bishop Robert Morlino is handling a questionnaire from Rome
Next October, a subset of the world’s Catholic bishops will come together in Rome for two weeks of special meetings with Pope Francis.
The gathering is termed an “extraordinary synod,” meaning it is being called for a matter of urgency. The theme will be family life, including the state of marriage and how the church should minister to people who are in non-traditional living situations that violate Catholic doctrine, such as same-sex unions.
In preparation for the synod, the Vatican has sent to every bishop a questionnaire seeking diocesan-level feedback on these issues. It has been left to each bishop to determine how to gather information for the questionnaire and how widely within his diocese to distribute the questionnaire. That’s led to some confusion and a variety of interpretations as to the Pope’s intentions.
Madison Bishop Robert Morlino has posted the questionnaire online but is allowing answers only by mail, not electronically. More on that in a moment.
First, a little about the questions. No one will confuse the document with one designed for easy consumption. The questions sometimes fall short of complete clarity or rely on doctrinal references.
Here’s the first question: “Describe how the Catholic church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by people today.”
One section is titled “On Unions of Persons of the Same Sex.” A sample question: “What is the attitude of the local and particular churches towards both the state as the promoter of civil unions between persons of the same sex and the people involved in this type of union?”
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