Earlier this month, dioceses all across the world received a questionnaire from the Vatican aimed at identifying pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization. The information will be compiled and used as a reference during a synod of bishops set to take place next October. This synod of bishops is an advisory group of bishops chosen from different regions of the world that then assist the pope in identifying effective methods of church outreach and pastoral care.
According to a Catholic News Agency report, the questionnaire is meant to be an advisory help to the bishops in their attempts to present effective pastoral responses to the problems of divorce, gay “marriage,” and other challenges to the health of families.
The process of requesting input from around the world for a synod of bishops is not without precedent. In 2012, the previous synod of bishops — dealing with the New Evangelization — asked bishops’ conferences to encourage discussion of topics related to evangelization and to summarize their findings.(www.catholicanchor.org)