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Vatican is not 'polling' Catholics on marriage, family

November 05, 2013

It is “not true” that the Vatican is taking a poll to assess Catholics’ opinions on marriage issues in preparation for the 2014 Synod on the family, the Vatican press office has clarified.

Responding to a story that appeared in National Catholic Reporter—and has been repeated frequently in the English-speaking media—Father Federico Lombardi told the Catholic News Agency that a series of questions issued by the Synod office was “sent to bishops’ conferences throughout the world,” rather than an opinion poll. The Vatican spokesman also pointed out that the questions asked by the Synod “are not regarding the doctrinal position of the Church,” but aimed to solicit information about pastoral practices and public attitudes in different societies.

In conveying the questions to bishops, the Synod office suggested that the questions should be shared “as widely as possible” in order to produce a broad-based response. At the same time, the accompanying letter from Archbishop Lorenzo Baldiserri, the secretary-general of the synod, noted that “the time available is short,” and consequently asked bishops to return their answers after “the most brief and practical institutional process.”

Some bishops, notably in England, chose to make the questions public and solicit answers from the laity. A few Catholic organizations, having obtained the list of questions, have asked lay Catholics to join in responding to the “survey.”


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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: nix898049 - Nov. 07, 2013 11:08 AM ET USA

    I had the same reaction until he mentioned it was reported by the National 'Catholic' Reporter. Say no more...

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Nov. 05, 2013 8:11 PM ET USA

    Thanks for clarifying this. I nearly fell off my stool when I heard Brett Baier on FOX News tonight say that the Vatican was taking a poll of Catholics on issues like co-habiation and gay marriage in preparation for the 2014 synod on the family.