Synod on the Family Survey

I am currently at home in West Virginia for the holiday weekend, and my parents took the survey on family life that was made available to them online by the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. They, along with their fellow parishoners, were encouraged to take it by their pastor. The New York Times recently reported on this survey, which was made available to bishops worldwide for the purpose of gathering information from laity in preparation for the upcoming Synod on the Family. Bishops in the United States, however, seem to have been pretty quiet about it, and not all of them are even making it available through their diocesan websites. The USCCB director of media relations Sr. Mary Ann Walsh told the Times that those bishops who do not make the survey available on their websites will "get information in other ways" (whatever that means). Neither the survey nor the upcoming synod is mentioned on the website of my own diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

The survey can be found here, however, and I would encourage everyone to take it by December 15, when they are supposed to start compiling the data. There are a lot of interesting, open-ended questions, and it seems that those who wrote the survey are looking for substantive feedback. This is both good and bad, insofar as it forces people to take time thinking about and articulating their answers, but it also means that fewer people will actually take the time to make their way through all of the questions. Also, a number of the early questions ask specifically about "natural law" without spelling out exactly what is meant. So, I'm not sure how effective it is as a tool for getting the most informed feedback from the most Catholics.

I'd be interested in hearing what others think of it, though. Has it been made available or publicized in your parishes and diocese? Did you take it? Did you find it helpful? Do you think it will have any impact?

Eric Bugyis teaches Religious Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma.

Also by this author
The Ideology of Compromise

Please email comments to letters@commonwealmagazine.org and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads

Politics
Culture
Books