References for the Pre-Synod Consultation Process

25 November 2013
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25 November 2013, Comments: 0
The following notes about resources available to support pastoral care of family life in England and Wales might help to inform responses to the lineamenta questions.
The questions in Section 1 seek to clarify the extent to which people are aware of the teachings of the Church on marriage and family life, whether rooted in scripture, tradition or the documents of the Church. Read the introduction to the lineamenta for an overview of Church teaching on marriage and family life. If you feel your awareness of these Church teachings is low and want some simple materials to start with, please do visit the Home is a Holy Place Resource Pack for a copy of Family – Adventure in Love which describes the four tasks of the family. Read also the Introduction to Home is a Holy Place or view the filmclips here.

Section 3 asks about how families are supported in their role of passing on faith in God to the next generation. In our experience people interpret and use the term ‘faith’ and the sense of ‘practising the faith’ in different ways. Read more in the report on Listening 2004 – Catholic family life in 2004. If you would like to know more about the bishops’ work in supporting parents and grandparents in passing on faith in God please visit particularly the information about the Partners in a Shared Task pilot project. If you would like to know more about the bishops’ work on marriage preparation please visit If you would like to know more about the family as a domestic church please visit (Please be aware that all the MFL websites of the CBCEW are currently being revised and upgraded)

Section 4 asks about a range of more challenging marital situations including cohabitation, separation, and divorce and remarriage. If you are separated, divorced or divorced and remarried you may find the bishops’ 1996 pastoral guidelines of interest. The Association of Separated and Divorced Catholics and the Beginning Experience may also be of help to you.
For information about the annulment process please contact your Diocesan MFL Coordinator 

For information to support Catholics experiencing domestic abuse please visit

Section 7 asks about the way in which the Church’s teaching on responsible parenthood is taught, accepted and practised, including any difficulties couples might have in practicing natural family planning. It asks a question about how the birth rate might be increased, in the context of concerns about dwindling birth-rates in some countries. If you would like to know more about fertility awareness there are a range of organisations around England and Wales who work to support couples in responsibly achieving and avoiding pregnancy. If you would like to read Humanae vitae please click here.

One of the many reasons why the Church values the family so highly is because the family is the means by which each of us comes into being. Our family generally protects and nourishes us in all kinds of ways, so that we might survive, grow and flourish, capable of loving God, others and ourselves. It is in the family that we learn how to love, how to behave, how to treat others. We learn who we are and what God might be calling us to become. We begin our journey of faith in our family, who form our earliest impressions of God and teach us the practices that will help us grow as disciples. Section 8 explores some of the ways in which our family experiences can both positively and negatively impact our survival and growth as people and as Christians, in our early years and as life goes on.  

In Section 9 you have a chance to mention anything else at all in relation to the topic of how the Church can support families of all shapes, sizes and stages, in their evangelising mission. You might also use this section to prioritise any concerns you have about the pastoral care of marriage and family life with regard to their role in transmitting faith. Please also note that a list of diocesan coordinators of marriage and family life ministry can be located on the FAMILIAS website:

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