Sunday, November 3, 2013

Polling American Catholics about Contraception, Same-Sex Marriage, and Divorce: Another Helpful Suggestion

About that survey that the Vatican asked bishops' conferences to do, to poll the faithful about the issues of contraception, same-sex marriage, and divorce: I wanted to share with readers yet another valuable suggestion about how American Catholics may make their views known, when the U.S. Catholic bishops appear unwilling to comply with the Vatican request that we be polled.

This comes from someone called AnonAJ at National Catholic Reporter, in the thread discussing the offer of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to assist the USCCB in surveying U.S. Catholics. I discussed that offer yesterday, and the first link in this posting points to that discussion.

AnonAJ encourages American Catholics to consider filling out the online survey provided by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, which states, If you are responding from outside England and Wales, please feel welcome here. We will endeavour to forward your response to the appropriate contact in your country." Here's her or his suggestion:

Although, it takes more effort....suggest that folks who wish to comment, simply download the Brits' questionnaire, make a copy, respond to the questionnaire, make a paper copy and mail it to:
His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace

00120 Vatican City

Rome, Italy
Understand that you need to put $1.10 postage on the mailer!

In a subsequent comment in the same thread, AnonAJ helpfully provides a downloaded copy of the entire survey from the website of the English and Catholic bishops, which readers interested in following his or her suggestion might simply cut and paste from that comment. 

Isn't it interesting how hungry and thirsty American Catholics seem to be to have their voices heard, as the Vatican invites our input but our bishops respond with a huge "Meh"? Friends have been emailing me copies of both the English-Welsh bishops' survey and the one put online by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. My Facebook friends have made postings about both surveys for several days now.

It strikes me as a sign of health, of vitality, when lay Catholics so desperately want to speak out. It strikes me as a sign of pastoral malfeasance in the extreme when the pastoral leaders of a group of lay Catholics are told by their Vatican superiors to conduct a survey permitting lay Catholics to be heard, and then shrug their shoulders at that request.

What is happening with this survey is a small parable of all that's both wonderful and healthy about U.S. Catholicism, and what's seriously wrong with our church. What's wrong is (with some rare exceptions) the dismal lack of pastoral leadership on the part of the current crop of bishops appointed by the previous two popes.

There's simply no way around that conclusion for any semi-educated observer of what has been going on in the U.S. Catholic church for the past several decades. As appalling as that conclusion may be . . . .

 I find the graphic at a number of websites online, with no clear indicator of its original source.

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