The consultation process for the first Synod on the Family since 1980 has begun in earnest in England and Wales. An Extraordinary Synod on ‘The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelisation‘ has been called by Pope Francis for October 2014 and will be followed by an Ordinary Synod in 2015.
Archbishop Baldisseri, General Secretary to the Synod Council, has requested that the Synod’s preparatory document or lineamenta be distributed as widely as possible to dioceses, deaneries and parishes to facilitate input from local sources. The bishops of England and Wales have distributed the Synod Council’s preparatory document and questionnaire to clergy, diocesan marriage and family life coordinators, interested groups and organisations in every diocese. Each bishop will nominate a person locally to lead a team to collate their diocese’s responses. These reports will be submitted to the Bishops’ Conference Secretariat in December 2013 and will form the bishops’ collective response to the Synod Council. All Catholics in England and Wales are invited to contribute by reading the Synod Council’s preparatory document and completing the accompanying questionnaire either on line or via email. 9000 people have visited the online survey in the past week.