Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Footnote to Report of German Bishops to Vatican in Preparation for Synod on Family: Swiss Catholics Weigh In

A footnote to my posting yesterday about the report of the German bishops to the Vatican about the results of the Vatican survey in preparation for the Synod on the Family: as I noted yesterday, Tom Heneghan summarizes the German bishops' report for Reuters by noting that among German Catholics, "The Church's statements on premarital sexual relations, homosexuality, on those divorced and remarried, and on birth control . . . are virtually never accepted, or are expressly rejected in the vast majority of cases."

And now here's a report from the Swiss Catholic community, where the Swiss Bishops Conference commissioned the Swiss Pastoral Sociological Institute to conduct a survey of Swiss Catholics, in response to the Vatican mandate to poll the faithful about various issues as the Synod on the Family is planned:

• About 75% said they were in favor of couples living together before getting married to determine their compatibility as spouses. 
• About 70% preferred artificial methods of contraception to natural ones. 
• Nearly 90% said they wished the church would recognize and bless marriages between divorced people. 
• About 60% said that the church should recognize and bless same-sex marriages.

If, as John Henry Newman taught, the reception of doctrine by the faithful is an essential part of what verifies the truth claims of doctrine, Catholic magisterial teaching about sexual morality is in very serious trouble. From one country to another, the faithful reject this teaching, and resoundingly so. They do so on the basis of sound theological reasoning--the kind of reasoning that a majority of members of Pope Paul VI's advisory commission on birth control urged him to hear, as they called for him to lift the ban on artificial contraception--and on the basis of their informed consciences.

The question that continues to be in the Vatican's court: will the pope and the other top leaders of the Catholic church listen to the voice of the faithful, as they convene the Synod on the Family? Or will they continue to pretend that no one but themselves is speaking?

(Thanks to Alan McCornick for emailing me the SwissInfo article linked above.)

The graphic is from the Flickr photostream of Steven Shorrock.

No comments: