Friday, 1 November 2013

Difficult Words...

There is an online survey on same-sex "marriage," contraception and divorce being promoted by the Bishops of England & Wales.

Leaving aside the whole question of whether the Bishops should consult the Laity on a matter of faith and morals (the Church is not a democracy, and Truth is not subject to a majority vote!) I was intrigued to notice the language used in the survey.

In the past, when considering the motives of the members of our Bishops' Conference, I may have been less than charitable. I have decided to turn over a new leaf, and try and think of the most charitable explanation that I can come up with. So, this is my theory...

There were no sudden deaths or even major injuries sustained due to the implementation of the corrected ICEL translation of the Mass, despite the use of tricky words such as "chalice" or "gibbet." The Bishops of England and Wales were so encouraged by this indication of academic excellence from the average man person in the pew that they decided that we could all understand tricky words after all, and proceeded to use a few more of them...

"Describe how the Catholic Church's teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et Spes, Familiaris Consortio and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by people today?"

"What anthropological ideas underlie the discussion on the natural basis of the family?"

"In what way have the local Churches and movements on family spirituality been able to create ways of acting which are exemplary?"

"Is cohabitation ad experimentum a pastoral reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage?"

I will firmly resist all temptations to speculate that, by wording the consultation questionnaire in such a manner, their Lordships are hoping to skew the responses in any way. That would be most uncharitable of me, and, as I said earlier, I am attempting to turn over a new leaf.

And if you believe that, then there is a bridge I'd like to sell you...

On a more serious note, I think it is important that as many faithful Catholics as possible do respond to the survey. If you can't bear the online form option, then it is possible to download the Response Proforma as a Word document and send it as an attachment to Elizabeth Davies.

3 comments:

Gregory the Eremite said...

I don't think that we are being nourished by the words of our Bishops in this case; the wording of the questions comes straight from the Lineamenta of the Extraordinary Synod itself.

motuproprio said...

It is very important to respond to this questionnaire, which has not been drawn up by the English Bishops but comes direct from the Vatican with the highest authority behind it, as constructively as possible, making it clear that the constant teaching of the Catholic Church proclaimed by her bishops with fervour and persuasive force is the only hope for the recovery of family life and the renewal of our social institutions.

Gskineke said...

I think you may have misconstrued the thinking behind the survey. It is for bishops to assess how the faithful in their diocese understand the Church's teaching on family life. It is not a poll to see if things should change, but a poll to assess where the need is to rebuild (which is, essentially, everywhere).

I have seen the letter to the bishops in its entirety and am impressed with its hard-hitting questions, the foundational teachings (reiterated) and the acknowledgement that we're in an existential crisis. If the bishops assess rightly, and this information is culled accurately, it will provide the impetus to teach forthrightly before further implosion happens.

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