For months I've been cautioning people not to be doing cartwheels in the pews every time Pope Francis says something hopeful about changing the ultra orthodox, natural law obsessed, pre-Vatican II, restorationist direction of his last two predecessors. Wait until there's more than words. Wait until there's action ... either the issuing of papal encyclicals or actual changes in the way the hierarchy is conducting church business.
Well, today's news about the Vatican conducting a global parish level survey of faithful Catholics on issues ranging from contraception to same-sex marriage to divorce meets my criteria for a partial celebration.
No, we don't yet know if the Vatican will ever release the findings of this study. No, we don't yet know that the findings of this study might not be altered to suit the anti-gay agendas of his predecessors (thus continuing their work, while not taking the blame for it). But that the Vatican is even conducting this survey is a statement in and of itself. It says to the world, "We, the institutional church hierarchy, are no longer assuming we have all the answers to the questions of life and the mysteries of love – and we care about what you, the body church, think."
And that, my friends, is a most refreshing change in our church.
NOTE: To respond to Pope Francis' call for the articulation of the 'Sense of the Faithful,' and to let him know your thoughts on a range of issues relating to marriage, family, and sexuality, please complete the 2014 Synod of the Family online survey, which is being administered by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
This survey can be found here.
Your responses will be forwarded to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and to the appropriate officials in the Vatican, including Pope Francis himself. Thank you!
Related Off-site Links:
Vatican Asks Bishops to Consult Laity on Same-Sex Marriage, Contraception, Divorce – Francis DeBernardo (Bondings 2.0, November 1, 2013).
Vatican Surveys Church on Family Issues Including Gay Marriage – Steve Scherer (Reuters via Yahoo! News, November 1, 2013).
Pope Francis Consulting the Faithful on Marriage, Family – and Sexuality – Terence Weldon (Queering the Church, November 1, 2013).
Pope Francis Wants to Hear Your Opinion – Christopher Hale (Millennial, November 1, 2013).
Vatican Asks for Parish-level Input on Synod Document – Joshua J. McElwee (National Catholic Reporter, October 31, 2013).
The Vatican's Poll – James Martin, SJ (America, October 31, 2013).
Survey Says . . . – Questions from a Ewe (November 2, 2013).
Wow, the Vatican is Seeking Input for the Synod On the Family – Colleen Kochivar-Baker (Enlightened Catholicism, November 2, 2013).
What Would You Say About Marriage and Family at the Upcoming Synod? – Francis DeBernardo (Bondings 2.0, October 9, 2013).
Ending Marginalization in the Catholic Church – Roy Bourgeois (The Washington Post via The Progressive Catholic Voice, September 17, 2013).
Aggiornamento: Contemporary Belief, Contemporary Language – John A. Dick (Another Voice via The Progressive Catholic Voice, June 3, 2013).
Reforming the Catholic Church Today: Three Perspectives – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, May 14, 2013).
The Call of the Baptized: Be the Church, Live the Mission – Paul Lakeland (The Progressive Catholic Voice, September 19, 2010).
Creating a Liberating Church (Part 1) – Rosemary Radford Ruether (The Progressive Catholic Voice, July 15, 2010).
Creating a Liberating Church (Part 2) – Rosemary Radford Ruether (The Progressive Catholic Voice, July 19, 2010).
Creating a Liberating Church (Part 3) – Rosemary Radford Ruether (The Progressive Catholic Voice, July 28, 2010).
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Pope Francis' Understanding of Catholicism: An Orchestra in Which All Can Play!
Quote of the Day – August 7, 2013
Why I Take Hope in Pope Francis' Statement on Gay Priests
What It Means to Be Catholic
The Catholic Challenge
The Call to Be Dialogical Catholics
"If the People Don't Believe It, It's Not True"
Authentic Catholicism: The Antidote to Clericalism
Roger Haight on the Church We Need
Rosemary Haughton and the "True Catholic Enterprise"
A Time to Re-think the Basis and Repair the Damage
Time for a Church for Grown-Ups
A Church That Can and Cannot Change
Comprehending the “Fullness of Truth”
James Carroll on Catholic Understandings of Truth (Part 1)
James Carroll on Catholic Understandings of Truth (Part 2)
James Carroll on Catholic Understandings of Truth (Part 3)
James Carroll on Catholic Understandings of Truth (Part 4)
To Whom the Future of the Catholic Church Belongs