Another weekend update: this is about that mandate from the Vatican to bishops' conferences around the world that they poll Catholic laity about magisterial teaching re: contraception, same-sex marriage, and divorce. I've told you about this poll and the "exemption" from polling that the U.S. bishops have received in three previous postings--here, here, and here. Here's the latest:
Since the U.S. bishops, in contrast to the bishops of England and Wales, haven't yet expressed any wild interest in polling lay Catholics to comply with the Vatican mandate, the group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has stepped up to the plate and offered to do so. They've now put a survey online. It's here.
Joshua McElwee reports about this at National Catholic Reporter yesterday. And, of course, as you'll notice if you scan the comments responding to McElwee's report and to the initiative of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, the Catholic right and their centrist cheerleaders are Not Happy that this group is offering to do the polling. They're grousing about unscientific surveys and leading questions and ideological agendas--as if they themselves have no agendas at all, and are just goshdarnit living that mythic apolitical non-ideological Catholicism that Jesus came to teach us all to live.
When those folks grouse, I tend to look carefully at what they're grousing about to see what has them up in arms, and when I do so, I almost always find that the object of their attention is something very worthwhile. Why on earth would anyone not want as many Catholic groups as possible to poll Catholics in response to the Vatican directive, when the bishops themselves typically refuse to show pastoral concern enough to conduct a poll? And where in the Vatican directive is any particular way to conduct the polling set in stone in the first place?
Thanks to Mary for mentioning this initiative by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good yesterday in a comment here. And note Jerry Slevin's valuable suggestion in response to Mary's comment that Pope Francis invite a large group of lay Catholics from all backgrounds to join the childless and celibate all-male bishops when they discuss family at the forthcoming Synod on the Family for this this polling of the faithful is being conducted.