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Family Synod Consultation

Pope Francis has called for an Extraordinary Synod to take place at the Vatican between 5-19 October 2014.

Around 150 Synod Fathers will take part in the meeting to discuss the "pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization" and how best to re-propose the centrality of matrimony and the transmission of faith in the home within the proclamation of the Gospel in our contemporary society.

In the link below you can read the preparatory documents for the Synod and take part in a questionnaire [consultation] to assist the Bishops in making a collective submission to Rome by the end of January 2014.

The purpose of this consultation is to help the Church develop concrete proposals for another Synod in 2015 which in turn will produce specific guidance on the pastoral care of the family for our times.

All responses in the Diocese of Westminster must be sent by the 6 December to the Director for Marriage & Family Life, Edmund Adamus, who has been appointed by Archbishop Nichols to oversee the process.Each diocese must formulate its response by the 20 December 2013, so time is short!

You can make a response in two ways:

1) An online form at:

2) Or downloading the proforma here and emailing to (tel: 020-7798-9363)  

It isn't necessary to respond to every question. Responses are best based on the strengths of the respondent in their study, experience or pastoral responsibility. To help make the process easier responses can either be sent via the online response system established by the Bishops’ Conference and can be accessed here. You can also find relevant information at the Catholic Bishops' website by clicking here.

And here is an inspiring video clip (2 minute) from Blessed Pope John Paul II speaking in 1988 which reminds us of the indispensable role and importance of the family in the mission of the Church. It is in Italian with English subtitles.

Your thoughts
  • A FitzGerald
    Posted 28th November 2013 at 4:57pm

    I welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation.

    The document and questionaire appears to have been prepared for a specialist/select group of respondents rather then the whole catholic population.
    In my experience such a major project needed a longer time scale for consideration.

    As a result I will make a general comment rather than attempt to reply to each question, some of which I could not answer without undertaking further research.

    My main point of reference is the well known interview give by Cardinal Carlo Martini who was Archbishop of milan for more than 20 years.

    His suggestion that "the sacrements are not an instrument to discipline people but to help them on their journey of life and in their weaker moments" This requires an approach that is both challenging but offers to reach out to struggeling sinners seeking to follow Christ

  • e a white
    Posted 27th November 2013 at 7:50am

    It is beneficial for the country and the church to have a stable membership and until the last few decades, couples married young and got on with it.

    Marriage is not easy even with the right person (so said my father who was a most conscientious Catholic, fair minded man and devoted husband). Some partners have within themselves an inner ability to forgive and move forward, again and again. Whilst others do not have this inherited mental ability and are influenced by the written word, TV and film situations. In fact, they don't make men like they used to.............. After hearing remarks from many widowed Catholic ladies over 65 about broken family relationships, it appears women have the major role in most marriages/relationships today.

    As the years go bye, the person you married can change mentally beyond all manner and reason; family disfunctional genetics becoming more apparent.

    Today it is essential to have a well balanced life style with regular employment being essential for both parties. (The role of the husband does not have the impetus it had in the 50's & 60's.)


  • Victor Gabriel
    Posted 17th November 2013 at 11:28pm

    I do believe that this is hardly a consultation document when it is not only too complex for the majority of the laity but the questions are unanswerable since the data is simply not available to most of the faithful.
    Moreover, it seems perverse to request the opinions of the faithful on topics for which the answer must be a flat NO since the concepts are contrary to Catholic teaching and doctrine. All this consultation does is to apparently offer hope to those who either are engaging in these activities or support them and expect some softening of the attitude by the Church which cannot occur by definition since they conflict with the fundamental tenets of our faith. This will merely result in a fragmented and broken institution as the C of E is at present. A truly pointless exercise!

  • James Roberts
    Posted 11th November 2013 at 11:47am

    Many congratulations on linking to the Pope John Paul II comments on the family in 1988. This is a truly inspiring way to begin thinking about the survey.

  • James Roberts
    Posted 11th November 2013 at 11:47am

    Many congratulations on linking to the Pope John Paul II comments on the family in 1988. This is a truly inspiring way to begin thinking about the survey.

  • Teresa Williams
    Posted 9th November 2013 at 3:54pm

    This is a wonderful opportunity however the format may be off putting to many and requires quite an academic approach.I understand that Arundel and Brighton have produced a simpler survey based on the original which their parishoners are being offered.Would there be a possibility of anything similar in Westminster being devised,my apologies if this is already in hand.
    With Best Wishes Teresa Williams

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