You may remember that near the beginning of the month I quoted from a letter sent by Bishop John, a part of which read: “As part of the work of the Synod on the family, you may know that Pope Francis has asked us to take time to reflect on marriage and family life, and our own experience. It is all too evident that both marriage and family life have been challenged and, in our generation, they have seen unprecedented breakdown. Despite its many struggles, we know that without the gift of family our society would have lost something fundamentally important and good. Marriage is such a noble vocation and family life must be strengthened and assisted, especially in times of difficulty.”
Following this letter, further information and suggestions were received from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. These were discussed at the Parish Forum on 14th January and Forum’s suggestions were further refined, by a small coordinating group, into a questionnaire.
This questionnaire will be distributed at the end of this month with the request that all responses be returned by 14th March.
The questionnaire will be anonymous though you will be asked to tick boxes indicating your gender, age group and whether you are married, living with a partner, separated, widowed, or single.
To help you give serious thought to this exercise and, if you wish, to discuss it with your friends, the questions are listed below.
1 What are your joys and hopes for family life today?
2 What are your struggles and fears of marriage and family life today?
3 How can we better understand marriage as a vocation?
4 How does your marriage enrich you?
5 How does your family life help the world be a better place?
6 How does the way your family lives witness to our faith?
It is not necessary to answer every question, only those applicable to you and in less than 40 words. This restriction will encourage concise responses and help to coordinate replies. Finally, any replies received back before the questionnaire is distributed will be ignored. And if you don’t like the whole idea, then accept it as a penance for Lent which begins on 18th of this month.