More bishops around the globe have released the results of information gathering for this coming fall’s Synod on Marriage and Family Life, and the results have been remarkably honest. This post provides updates from several European nations, following up on positive statements from the German bishops which you can read about here.
Findings from Swiss bishops echoed those of the German bishops, as their initial report based on 25,000 respondents reported the disconnect between what the bishops teach and how Catholics live. National Catholic Reporter offers further insight:
“Both the German and the Swiss reports said Catholics in their countries accept the church’s vision of marriage as a life-long union of a man and a woman open to having children, and hope to realize that vision in their own family…
“The Swiss bishops said that ‘approximately 60 percent of participants in the consultation support the recognition of and a church blessing for homosexual couples,’ though the responses showed ‘no consensus, but rather a polarization,’ with strong negative reactions.”
A report from Vatican Insider, cited at Queering the Church, reveals that these French-speaking Catholics responded the the survey in the same way that German Catholics did. These answers highlighted the rift between what the bishops’ teach on sexuality and the practical realities of Catholics’ lives. Most positive, however, were the Belgian bishops’ forward-leaning remarks on gay and lesbian people. A rough translation of their remarks from InfoCath.be states:
“It is learned that Belgian Catholics are very committed to how the church can accommodate every person no matter their differences or errors. This is particularly highlighted for homosexuals or divorced. Like the Pope Francis, the Belgian Catholics hold that the Church is seen as a loving mother, without rejecting those who come to it. To Church, it is also recognized that families need input from the community to get to grow in faith, hence the need of living communities…”
The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales has said through a spokesperson that there will be no public report of their findings from 16,500 responses, according to the Catholic Herald. The spokesperson did report high participation rates, which may be the result of the Conference’s early release of an online survey.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry