Catholic World News

Synod survey results show much suffering among laity, prelate reports

February 24, 2014

Responses to a Vatican survey about family life have revealed “much suffering” among the faithful, the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops reports.

In preparation for the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will discuss pastoral care for the family, the Vatican circulated a series of questions to the world’s bishops. With most of the bishops having given their responses, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri said that many answers show “much suffering, especially by those who feel excluded or abandoned by the Church because they find themselves in a state of life that does not correspond to the Church’s doctrine and discipline.”

In several countries, the survey issued to the bishops was distributed widely among the laity, and the Vatican has received more than 700 responses from a variety of different lay groups, Cardinal Baldisseri reported. He said that the questions “sparked a spontaneous reaction” and demonstrated “how necessary it is to go out of our offices” and hear from individual Catholics.

One of the questions that will be addressed during the October meeting of the Synod will be the status of Catholics who, because they are divorced and remarried, are barred from the sacraments. Cardinal Baldisseri said that the survey might help to begin a "pastoral dialogue with those who have distanced themselves from the Church for various reasons."


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  • Posted by: lak321 - Feb. 24, 2014 11:05 PM ET USA

    Dear Frodo, Some people do have a conversion after they have embarked in a life situation that is not ideal. Many have married unwisely, or been abandoned. And now there are children, etc to think of. I think the most beautiful thing these people can do is assist at Mass, refrain from Holy Communion in respect for the Blessed Sacrament and their first vows, and pray to the Lord to show them what is His Will, the strength to do it, and trust that no situation is too difficult for Him. Hope!

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Feb. 24, 2014 7:02 PM ET USA

    I second Frodo's thoughts here. No one just wakes up of a morning to find himself unexpectedly "excluded" from the Church. Some time in the past, that "excluded" Catholic made a deliberate decision to ignore the Church's teachings and to follow his own route. Now he's headed in the wrong direction. The trick is to get him back on the proper path, not to tell him that any old path will do. I think that is what Francis wants, a pastoral method of explaining the map to the wanderer.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Feb. 24, 2014 6:58 PM ET USA

    Suffering is part of the cost of discipleship. Now if we suffer because of something bad we have done, that's another thing altogether, as the NT teaches.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Feb. 24, 2014 1:39 PM ET USA

    I disagree with the Cardinal's conclusion. You don't just "find yourself in a state of life that does not correspond to the Church' doctrine and discipline". That is a victim mentality. Want to know how to avoid being excluded or abandoned? Let us begin Lent by repenting and believing the Good News.