In my earlier post Pope Asks Global Catholic What We Think, I noted that the U.S. Catholic bishops were slow in promoting the Vatican survey to hear from Catholics around the world on issues such as church and family life, outreach to divorced and separated persons, outreach to same-sex couples and gay people, and how to be a church of mercy and welcome in preparation for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in 2014.
In the true American “can do” spirit, lay Catholic organizations have stepped into the gap of leadership and have posted the Vatican survey online themselves. Results will be sent to both the US Catholic bishops and the Vatican.
Since these are not multiple choice questions but open-ended, I expect that Catholics individually, in small groups, and as worshiping communities,will bring thoughtful and extensive responses to the Pope’s question. I pray that the Spirit keeps moving through our church and the sense of the faithful is strengthened.
Read more below in Michael J. O’Loughlin’s piece for RNS:
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a progressive-leaning organization that exists to promote “public policies and effective programs that enhance the inherent dignity of all, especially the poor and most vulnerable,” has created its own online survey and is encouraging its members to share their thoughts. Chris Hale, a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance, said that survey results will be sent to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as Vatican officials, including Pope Francis.
Since the survey was launched earlier today, Catholics in Alliance has collected over 300 responses, with many citing Pope Francis’ apparent openness to gay and lesbian Catholics more fully into the life of the church as an opportunity for reform. Hale says that the survey is meant to assist bishops, not challenge them. “We want to provide a model for how bishops could engage their flock on these important questions about the life of the Church. We want the lay faithful to be tremendously involved in the upcoming synod, and we think this is a great way to begin that process,” he told me.
James Martin, the Jesuit writer, wrote on the blog of America magazine that he expects at least some bishops to poll Catholics in their dioceses, and suggested that the “Holy Spirit is at work in her church and in her people. And she will let her voice be heard, this time through these polls, because she desires to speak.”
Read the whole article here.