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Consultation of the Clergy and Faithful

For 2014 Synod of Bishops in Rome

The following introduction and summary are provided to give respondents context that will be useful in responding to the questions put forward by the Holy See.

Below please find a link that will take you to a dedicated webpage where you may provide and submit your answers. Responses to the questions should be returned by Monday, December 2, 2013 utilizing the form provided via the link below only.

All responses will be integrated into a general report by the Archbishop to help with the preparation for the 2014 Synod of Bishops. Thank you.

Pope Francis has called for an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2014 on the theme: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization. The General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops invites consultation on this topic to help with its preparations. A Preparatory Document has been issued by the Holy See to begin this process along with a series of questions. Archbishop Schnurr, wishing the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese to join in the consultation, has approved this instrument for local participation. A summary of the Preparatory Document follows.

You may also read the complete Preparatory Document issued by the Vatican by clicking the following link, The Synod of Bishops’ Preparatory Document with Questions: “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” After reading this summary or the complete document, carefully respond to any or all of the questions that follow.

In our day, the Church continues to preach the Gospel to all people, the same Gospel received by the Apostles. However, a social and spiritual crisis now exists, especially with regard to the family and marriage. Pope Francis has called for a Synod of Bishops in 2014 to determine the state of the question on challenges to family and marriage. Another synod will follow in 2015 to determine guidelines for the pastoral care of the family and married couples.

Challenges to the Gospel today include widespread cohabitation, same sex unions, the adoption of children by people in a same sex union, the marriage of people of varying religious affiliations, single parent families, polygamy, a disregard for the equality and dignity of spouses, a weakened sense of the permanence of marriage, a feminism hostile to the Church, a reformulation of the concept of the family, the negative impact of the media and legislation on the meaning of Christian marriage and family, and the increase in surrogate motherhood. Within the Church, faith in the sacramentality of marriage and the healing power of the Sacrament of Penance has declined.

The next Synod of Bishops seeks to announce the Good News about the Christian family and marriage in a more effective way to reach hearts and transform them according to God’s will made known in Jesus Christ.

The biblical foundation of Christian marriage derives from the creation of man and woman in the image of God. Man and woman are bound in a sacramental union with the purpose of mutual love, fatherhood and motherhood, and the dignity of sharing in the creative work of God himself. Despite the disfigurement of sin, which began with the Original Sin of the Old Testament, Jesus recovers the Biblical foundation of family and marriage and declares anew the unity of husband and wife. Christ raises marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament.

The Church sees the married love of a husband and wife as a sign of the love Jesus has for his Church. The Church also serves society’s well-being by defending and promoting marriage and the family.